Cheerios Working to Bring Back the Bees

The effort is to battle the declining bee populations seen across the country

General Mills brand Cheerios is working to raise awareness for declining bee populations by starting the movement #BringBacktheBees, and removing their iconic mascot, Buzz. 

Cheerios partnered up with Veseys Seeds to give away 100 million wildflower seeds for the cause.

Those who are interested in joining the movement can sign up on their website and are asked to plant them in the spring post-frost in a bee-friendly area.

Honey bees and their fellow pollinators have been seeing a steady decline since the 1990s. Pollinators play a vital role in plant reproduction.


Bee Background:

Since the late 1990s, scientists and beekeepers have noticed a disappearance of bees and a high decline in honeybee colonies, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2015, the USDA conducted the Colony Loss Survey, which collected information to provide a statistical benchmark on current colony numbers to figure out the death loss.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducted the survey which monitored 3,300 beekeeping operations with five or more colonies quarterly throughout the year.

As of January 1, 2016, the USDA reported there was a total of 2.59 million honey bee colonies, an 8-percent decrease from the 2.82 million that the survey began with on January 1, 2015.

A major decline in bee populations happened in 2008, and was determined to be a case of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Nearly 60-percent of hives were found to have been lost in 2008 alone. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon that occurs when worker bees disappear, with very few dead bees found near the colony; leaving the queen behind, plenty of food, and a few nurse bees that care for immature bees as well as the queen.

The number of losses due to CCD has been on the decline since then, but still poses a major threat to many colonies throughout the country. It’s not just CCD that is affecting honey bees, there are also losses due to the invasive varroa mite, new diseases, pesticide poisoning, and changes to habitats that these bees pollinate, as well as other factors, which can be found on the EPA’s website.

But why are bees and other pollinators so important? Well, to put it simply, without them the majority of the produce section at our local grocery stores would not exist. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, bats, and other insects, play a vital role in flowing plant reproduction. Plants rely on these critters to move pollen from the the stamen (male part) of the flower to the stigma (female part), which allows for these plants to produce fruit.

 

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