Published: Tue, March 21, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

As Bee Populations Decline, Cheerios' Buzz the Bee Disappears from Boxes

As Bee Populations Decline, Cheerios' Buzz the Bee Disappears from Boxes

Cheerios announced it has given away 1.5 billion wildflower seeds as part of a campaign to boost the global bee population, exceeding its goal tenfold.

"Last year we distributed three times as many seeds as we originally planned, and we have offered 100 million wildflower seeds to Canadians of all ages". This isn't a new phenomenon and environmentalists, bee activists, scientists, farmers and others have been trying for years to figure out why.

BuzzBee isn't in danger as he's a honey bee, but other lesser known types of bees and other pollinators are.

Over the weekend, the company jumped into defense mode, telling critics on social media that while they "appreciate" those concerns, there's no need for worry because the seeds were chosen specifically to attract "bees" (listed as though they're one generic entity) and "are not considered invasive" - which, at least according to the USDA, doesn't appear to be true at all. Food crops, from fruit to walnuts to coffee, depend on the pollination work done by bees.

The move is the brand's way of kicking off a campaign to raise awareness of the collapse of honey bee colonies, prolific and important pollinators of the world's food supply. General Mills said in a news release that it aimed to highlight the alarming rate at which bee populations are declining.

Wildflowers create bee-friendly habitats where they can collect pollen and nectar, and feed their young.

They point to a recent study by Food Democracy Now! a grassroots organizations dedicated to sustainability which says some of the fields General Mills buys oats from used herbicides suspected of hurting bee populations. "By taking the bold step of removing a well-established brand symbol from its packaging, General Mills is further challenging marketing's conventional thinking to underscore its point".

"No one thing here is going to save the day, but the more ears that get tuned into the situation, the more likely we're going to end up with a better situation".

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