Honey Nut Cheerios’ Mascot Goes Missing As General Mills Attempts To Help Save The Honey Bee

Shutterstock / General Mills

If you’re a fan of Honey Nut Cheerios, you’ll soon notice some changes on the box. The familiar mascot, Buzz, is about to go missing and General Mills is hoping you’ll do something great to help bring him back. After running a similar campaign in Canada for 2016, the company is hoping to raise awareness for honey bees across America and combat their disappearance one pouch of seeds at a time according to the Twin Cities Business Journal:

Just for the spring, the Golden Valley-based maker of cereal and snacks will show ‘BuzzBee”, the iconic character on the company’s Honey Nut Cheerios cereal box, as missing to raise awareness about the dwindling population of bees, which as pollinators are crucial to agriculture.

Through the campaign, General Mills is challenging consumers to plant over 100 million wildflowers this year to “create a more bee-friendly world”. A large portion of General Mills’ (NYSE: GIS) ingredients, 30 percent to be exact, are pollinated by bees, the company said. By signing up for the campaign, people will receive free wildflower seeds to plant.

The site urges visitors to help “bring back to the bees” and allows them to plug in their info to receive a free pouch of wildflower seeds to “create a bee-friendly habitat” in their yards.

General Mills is also planning to host “3,300 acres” of bee habitats on their oat farms by 2020, noting that pollination is an important part of our food production and that “1 in 3 bites of food” are made possible thanks to bees.

The worldwide collapse of bee colonies has been an alarming issue for years, with groups like Greenpeace raising awareness on the issue and chemical companies deflecting the blame away from insecticides and pesticides used on crops. While those who work in the industry claim it is a mystery why bee populations are dwindling, Greenpeace points out that there are a variety of reasons for the fall off:

The systemic nature of the problem makes it complex, but not impenetrable. Scientists know that bees are dying from a variety of factors—pesticides, drought, habitat destruction, nutrition deficit, air pollution, global warming and more. Many of these causes are interrelated. The bottom line is that we know humans are largely responsible for the two most prominent causes: pesticides and habitat loss…

Biologists have found more than 150 different chemical residues in bee pollen, a deadly “pesticide cocktail” according to University of California apiculturist Eric Mussen. The chemical companies Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, Dow, DuPont and Monsanto shrug their shoulders at the systemic complexity, as if the mystery were too complicated. They advocate no change in pesticide policy. After all, selling poisons to the world’s farmers is profitable.

Furthermore, wild bee habitat shrinks every year as industrial agribusiness converts grasslands and forest into mono-culture farms, which are then contaminated with pesticides. To reverse the world bee decline, we need to fix our dysfunctional and destructive agricultural system.

Whether you believe the numbers and manmade influence on declining bee populations, it is easy to agree that General Mills efforts are a step in the right direction. Greenpeace points to maintaining and “preserving wild habitat” as one of their three key strategies in aiding the bee population. So even if you are just plugging your information in for a free pack of seeds, it’s better than doing nothing. You can check out General Mills website for more information on their effort and head over to Greenpeace’s informative “save the bees” page to learn how other nations have decided to combat the decline.

(Via Consumerist / Twin Cities Business Journal / Greenpeace/ General Mills)