Buzz the bee has disappeared from many cereal boxes across North America. The peppy mascot’s conspicuous absence is part of a campaign to raise awareness about the plight of real honeybees. To further spread the word, General Mills is giving away 100 million wildflower seeds.
Bees of all stripes are currently in big trouble. Increased pesticide use, widespread parasites, and the development of formerly wild spaces have all taken big bites out of bee populations. This is bad news, even for people who don’t care about bugs— honeybees are responsible for pollinating 70 out of the 100 biggest human food crops.
The folks at General Mills have been trading on Buzz’s image for decades and figured it was time to give a little something back. “We have a bee as our mascot and honey in our product, so we thought somebody should be championing this cause, and we thought that we could be a great champion,” General Mills Canada marketing director Emma Eriksson told the CBC when the campaign began last year.
The company has pledged to create more bee habitat in its own supply areas, incorporating wildflowers into 3300 acres of its oat farms by 2020.