An annual survey shows a third of America’s bee colonies were lost over the past year, and over 10 years, the numbers are even more troubling.

The die-off of America’s honeybee colonies, which are disappearing in droves because of parasites, pesticides, poor nutrition and disease, leave beekeepers scrambling to salvage the vital insects.

The task of solving the honeybee problem, experts say, isn’t isolated to beekeepers. A few changes to home patios and gardens can lend honeybees a much-needed assist.

Last year, a third of the nation’s honeybee colonies died, which is low considering the bigger decreases of the last decade. This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer bees. Beekeepers can salvage a dead colony, but it comes with labor and production costs. 

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When colonies die, beekeepers are forced to charge farmers more for pollinating their crops, said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. In turn, this could lead to a drop-off in fruits and nuts reliant on pollination.

Bees pollinate one out of every three bites of American food and $15 billion worth of crops annually. 

Margaret Lombard, CEO of the National Honey Board, said dwindling colony counts make work harder for beekeepers. She encourages people to buy honey and donate to local organizations supporting them.

But planting specific flowers and herbs to create a bee-friendly yard could be your best option.

Plant pollinator-friendly flowers

Honey bees help transfer pollen from plant to plant for reproduction….