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

Free wildflower seeds in Cheerios boxes may do more harm

The iconic Cheerios bee, Buzz the Bee, disappeared from cereal boxes earlier this month to promote the #BringBackTheBees giveaway.

In an effort to help the declining bee population in the U.S., Cheerios removed its bee mascot Buzz from the front of its cereal boxes and is sending out free wildflower seed packets to people across the country - a move that could be unsafe since some of the flowers included are invasive species to certain areas. Several species of bees have experienced dramatic declines in recent decades, with a bumblebee becoming endangered this year for the first time.

The company said that by 2020 they hope to host 3,300 acres on their oat farms dedicated to growing wildflowers that are full of nutrients that the bees need. "More than two-thirds of the crops used to feed people, accounting for 90 percent of the world's nutrition, are pollinated 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. This isn't a new phenomenon and environmentalists, bee activists, scientists, farmers and others have been trying for years to figure out why.

Experts say bees are a critical role in the human food supply driven away by habitat loss, disease and a small population size.

People who learned about the "Bring Back the Bees" campaign requested and received more than 1.5 billion seeds, reaching the goal within one week.

The brand will also be on hand at the Canada Blooms festival, handing out 50,000 Veseys wildflower seed packs to visitors. Bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate, and that includes honeybees like Buzz'.

General Mills have refuted the claims in a statement on Facebook, saying that their seeds are bee friendly.

"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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