The honeybee population has been on the decline for a while. Just over the past year, beekeepers across the nation lost 44 percent of their honeybee colonies.
That's according to Bee Informed, an organization dedicated to helping the bees. The organization's study says the past two summers have had particularly high loss rates.
Bee Informed says it's completely normal for bees to die in the winter, but high summer losses are concerning.
Why is it a problem?
Gardner's Supply Company says bees – particularly honey and bumble bees – are typically pretty gentle and avoid stinging unless they feel threatened. It's usually the wasps and hornets that are more aggressive.
And bees are essential for fruits, nuts and berries. Without the help of bees pollination, those plants won't bear fruit.
Researchers say one clear culprit leading to their death is the varroa mite, described as a highly contagious parasite that's lethal to bees.
Additionally, the use of pesticides and bees not getting good nutrition is believed to be taking a toll as well.
How you can help this summer
Even if you're not a professional or hobby beekeeper, there are still things you can do to help protect honeybees this summer.
A good start would be to stop using pesticides.
There have been studies and reports saying popular insecticides are partially to blame for the dying bee population.
In fact, Minnesota floral business Bachman's quit using a harmful pesticide to help the bees.
The Honeybee Conservatory says making your yard (or even a couple pots in your yard) a more inviting place by providing bees with some native shrubs and flowering plants is another way to help.
And try to make sure you have variety so plants are flowering all season long, providing food and a safe habitat for the insects. Click here to see the different plants that bloom throughout the season.
Also, make sure the bees have a place to get clean water by filling a shallow container with fresh water. Add some twigs and rocks so the bees have a place to land.