American cereal brand Cheerios is running a campaign to boost the shrinking bee population in the US.
The company sent free wildflower seeds to anyone who visits the website and signs up to help save the bees.
After succeeding in its original goal of sending out 100 million seeds, Cheerios went on to give out a total of one BILLION seeds. Supporters were encouraged to plant wildflowers in “bee-friendly” areas and share stories using the hashtag #BringBacktheBees.
— Kyle Calzavara (@Kylzavara) March 13, 2017
In addition to giving out seeds, Cheerios also temporarily removed the icon mascot Buzz from the Honey Nut Cheerios box.
— Cheerios (@cheerios) March 15, 2017
According to statistics sourced for the campaign, 70 percent of the top 100 human food crops are pollinated by bees and 42 percent of bee colonies in the US collapsed in 2015.
Cheerios is owned by the American multinational food manufacturer and marketer, General Mills. Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios, said in a statement:
As a General Mills cereal built around nutrition, helping pollinators get the key nutrition they need through fun, family-friendly activities like planting wildflowers is a natural fit. “Our commitment to increasing the habitat for pollinators is one way we are continuously striving to be a company that not only makes products people love, but a company that pursues creative solutions to make our world a better place for all families.
Earlier this year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed a type of bumblebee as an endangered species for the first time.
The dramatic loss in bee numbers is believed to be due to a combination of habitat loss, disease, pesticide use and climate change. With the exception of disease, which may occur naturally, the collapse of bee colonies is thus mainly attributable to our activity. Nice work, humans.
The US is not the only country to have problems with its bee population.
According to The Australasian Beekeeper (ABK), honeybee populations in Australia are also in crisis.
Writing for the ABK, Jeffrey Gibbs notes that over 900 peer-reviewed studies have found that neonicotinoid insecticides (NNIs), which are partially or completely banned in the EU and North America, negatively affect pollinators. However, despite our government conducting this report in 2014, NNIs are still widely used here.
While we might consider replacing bees with drones one day, the best thing to do is protect the ones we’ve got.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to save Australian bees, you can visit www.beethecure.com.au.