The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this week that the struggling honey bee population is doing better.
Nationwide, 23 percent of colonies were lost this winter compared to 30-percent last winter.
But local beekeepers tell News 3 the losses are still too high.
Jeanne Hansen is a longtime beekeeper and said she most recently lost all of her hives -- that's as many as half a million bees.
"We certainly wish it was a lot easier to keep bees," said Hansen, who has been beekeeping for six years from the backyard of her east side home.
Hansen said the declining bee population is a combination of many factors, including insecticides and varroa mites. The parasite attacks bee larvae.
Earlier this year, the USDA provided $3 million in technical and financial assistance to encourage farmers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and the Dakotas to develop a program to breed bees that can naturally resist the mites.