Cheerios Hopes to Save the Declining Bee Population by Distributing Wildflower Seeds

The beloved cereal brand Cheerios has recently launched a campaign designed to help save the declining bee population. The company has been picking up some serious buzz with its massive giveaway of wildflower seeds, and it’s all for a good cause. Bees are vital to the global food supply as they pollinate around 35 percent of all the crops. The future of many plant species – and some billion-dollar industries – ride on their teeny tiny backs.

Cheerios has announced it plans to distribute around 100 million wildflower seeds to people across the U.S. The company hopes to provide a much-needed boost to the struggling bee populations both in the nation and globally. The idea is to plant the seeds provided by Cheerios and create a larger food supply for honeybees and other critical pollinators. Wildflowers can survive the weather conditions year-round, which means the bees can live and thrive.

According to the available data, 2015 was a rough year for bee colonies. More than 40 percent of their populations in the U.S. collapsed, leading to a massive concern regarding their survival. Scientists noted bumblebees are responsible for pollinating blueberries, tomatoes, cranberries, and melons – to name just a few crops. Cheerios has partnered with Veseys Seeds to improve the bee-friendly coefficient of the United States. If you want to find out more details about the #BringBackTheBees campaign and how the giveaway happens, check out Cheerios dedicated webpage.

Advocating for Bee Rights

In addition to sending out wildflower seeds, Cheerios also removed its mascot, Buzz the Bee, from its box of Honey Nut Cheerios. The marketing move is supposed to be a blunt reminder about the urgent situation of the world’s population of bees. The popular brand has been advocating for bees and their habitats for a long time. When the mascot was pulled from the company’s cereal boxes, Cheerios replaced it with a white cutout shaped as a honey bee.

Cheerios is doing everything in their power to attract the public’s attention to the declining bee population and the massive loss of honeybees nationwide. This form can help you get your free wildflower seeds from Cheerios, as well as instructions on how to plant them for the best results. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this is the first time the continental United States is dealing with an endangered bee species. The bumblebee is on a sharp decline, which has urged environmental organizations to ask for help in preventing its extinction.

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Tom Melius, the Midwest Regional Director of the Wildlife Service, said that, “Listing the bee as endangered will help us mobilize partners and focus resources on finding ways right now to stop the decline.”

Worrying Findings

Bees are in deep trouble across America and Europe as well. The Wildlife Service reported the population of rusty patched bumblebees has seen a steep decline – it has shrunk by a whopping 87 percent from the 1990s onward. Unfortunately, the federal government is in no rush to help the fuzzy insects; in fact, they’re currently trying to gut the Endangered Species Act. Still, there is good news, because you can help.

According to recent studies, bumble bees have higher chances of survival if they live near an abundant field of wildflowers. In fact, their luck of making it to the next year rises by up to four times. A mix of plants that bloom in both spring and summer is the best case scenario for bee populations. But ecologists and environmentalists are not at all surprised by the findings.

It is human nature to expand urbanely, but replacing forests and meadows with farms has terrible consequences for the diversity of flowers available to bees. Sam Droege, a biologist and the head of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, believes the declining bee population could make a comeback by restoring plots of native wildflowers.

Droege wasn’t involved in the latest study conducted on the matter, but his experience allowed him to throw in his two cents. He believes simple techniques like planting more wildflowers could significantly influence the bumblebees’ year-over-year survival. However, it’s not exactly easy to measure bee survival across generations. Traditional marking methods are no good for the tiny insects and the fact that billions of bees exist doesn’t help scientists come up with an accurate estimate.

Habitat Restoration Linked to Bee Survival

Ecologist Claire Carvell and her team of researchers has studied bumblebees for over two years now. Their findings were clear. Family bees that lived within a mile of foraging habitats filled with flowers had better chances of surviving the second year than those living further away. The team monitored the bee population over an area of 20 square kilometers in Buckinghamshire, UK. Their research included mapping out grasslands, farmed areas, woods, and nesting sites that were bee-friendly.

The researchers also collected more than 2,000 DNA samples from the local bumblebees to better monitor of the surviving bee families. Thanks to the novel approach of DNA and spatial analysis, the results of this research proved more accurate than anything scientists have ever attempted before. The study’s ultimate goal was to prove there’s a strong connection between habitat restoration and bumblebee survival. But before the findings can help boost conservation efforts, they need to be replicated across a wider field range and in more than the three species included in the study.

What Can You Do to Help

You can do something to help the declining bee population right now, even if you weren’t a bee enthusiast before. All you have to do is caring for a few houseplants or a couple of square feet of lawn. For the bees to be able to nest, you should include mud, sand, mud, and spots of bare ground. And for the ultimate bee attraction, add a mix of wildflowers. They bloom throughout the spring, summer, and fall, keeping bees up and running.

The movement of saving the bee populations has seen recent interest across the U.S. For instance, Popular Science reported in February 2017 that Cedar Rapids, Iowa will plant more than 180 acres of wildflowers and native prairie grasses. The effort is part of an initiative to create 1,000 acres of land for bees and other pollinators.

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William E. Eubanks
 

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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