Honey Nut Cheerios’ BuzzBee mascot is one of the most iconic cereal symbols ever created, so when he went missing, it made Americans wonder what was up.
And that’s the hopes of folks at General cereal who have removed the mascot from the front of the box in an effort to raise awareness of the bee’s endangerment.
“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,” Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios, said in a statement. “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.”
The “bring back the bees” campaign was born in 2015, when 42 percent of the bee colonies in the US collapsed. Approximately 30 percent of all ingredients in General Mills’ products rely on pollination, so the company decided to take action.
GM has since established as website encouraging people to order wildflower seeds for the bees, at no cost to the consumer, to help reach the company’s goal of 100 million seeds.
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and the first for a bee species in the continental U.S.
The status went into effect last month.
Although, BuzzBee and his honey bee friends may not be in danger of extinction like the bumblebee, in the interest of protecting the food supply, General Mills is hoping to help all pollinators thrive through the planting of these new habitats.
The distribution of seeds has been met with some criticism from ecologists who argue that distributing flower seeds to areas of the country where the species are not native could actually do more harm than good.