Cheerios Creates ‘Buzz’ Over Save the Bees Campaign

Jessica Squires, Contributing Writer

     Did you know that bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat? Well according to, more than $19 billion worth of crops are pollinated by bees each year. Most people view bees as an annoyance and try to get rid of them every chance they get, but what they don’t know is that bees are a crucial part to our ecosystem. They balance out the environment and allow us to enjoy foods such as apples, almonds, coffee and of course honey.

     In 1945, 4.5 million bee hives existed in the United States. In 2007, only 2 million hives remained, and that numbers continues to fall. The cause of this decline is due to a change in farming practices. Flowering plants, such as clovers and alfalfas, have been eliminated from farms and synthetic fertilizers have replaced them. Without flowering crops, bees are unable to perform the pollination process. According to Maria Spivak, an entomologist and bee specialist, one-third of the world’s crop production is dependent on bee pollination.

     Pesticides, diseases and chemicals are other main causes in bees’ decline. Researchers at Penn State University found that at least six detectible pesticides exist in every batch of pollen that a bee collects. Toxic pesticides called neonics or neonicotinoid insecticides are extremely harmful to bees. Consumption of low doses intoxicate bees and results in them not being able to find their hive. If these pesticides are consumed in high doses, the result for a bee is death. The neonics are not only sprayed on the crops but also on the seeds, in the soil and are injected in the plants themselves. These pesticides leave bees vulnerable to parasites called varroa destructor mites. They suck blood from bees and circulate a virus within them.  

     People who are fans of the cereal Honey Nut Cheerios probably noticed their new ad campaign that has removed Buzz the Bee from the famous logo. The reason behind the campaign is to bring awareness to the bee crisis around the world. Honey Nut Cheerios has given away free flower seeds to people who sign up on their website, Planting of the seeds supports the growth of flowers for bees to pollinate. The campaign, however, has received some backlash from ecologists because the seeds that the company gave away were invasive. This means that they produce plants that are nonnative to a certain area. This can cause harm to ecosystems and disrupt environmental balances. Kathryn Turner, an ecologist who specializes in invasive plants, told Lifehacker that the problem is not severe as long as the plants are controlled. Honey Nut Cheerios released a statement that describes their plan to plant 3,000 acres of bee-friendly habitation on oat farms by 2020.

     So what exactly can you do to help the cause? Two easy steps can help bees’ survival dramatically. First, plant bee-friendly flowers that are native to your area. This will give bees access to protein that will allow them to pollinate. Second, avoid using harmful pesticides on your plants. Pesticides are the main cause of death for bees.

     Bees allow us to enjoy many of the foods that we love. When they have access to nutrition, we have access to nutrition, so it is important to be aware of the effects that our actions have on bees and take preventative steps to ensure their survival.

Jessica Squires is a sophomore Secondary Education major with a focus in English. She is a contributing writer for The Voice