General Mills is sending Buzz the Bee, their cheerful Honey Nut Cheerios spokesbug, on vacation. Or into hiding. In a campaign bound to raise awareness for the world’s suffering bees, and maybe to inadvertently sell more Cheerios, packages of the breakfast cereal will temporarily be gloomy boxes of oats without happy Buzz images. The hapless bee left without saying “Goodbye”, “So long”, “Ciao”, or even “Cheerio”. Buzz simply left us one cold dreary morning.
General Mills (GM) says they have sequestered their happy bee so that bloggers such as I might write about the world’s missing bees, bringing attention to the plight of bees. No one doubts that bees are plighted. With climate change and our chemically soupy environment, it’s getting rough for all sorts of creatures. There were once about 25,000 species of bees in the world, now there are hundreds fewer. The honey bee is just one species of bee (Buzz the Bee is a subspecies of honey bee, technically it is Apis mellifera generalfoodi). Humans are preventing honey bees from going extinct, but less celebrated bees, such as Diphaglossa gayi are pretty much on their own – and are becoming rare. (When was Diphaglossa gayi, the Chilean Valdivian Forest Forked-Tongue Bee, last seen on a box of cereal or a carton of milk? Huh?)
GM’s people tell us that “Buzz is missing because there’s something serious going on with the world’s bees . . With deteriorating bee colony health, bees everywhere have been disappearing by the millions and it’s time we all did something about it.” To bring back the bees, General Mills is giving away packages of seeds. Put a few seeds in the ground and before long you’ll have bees. Not directly from the seeds, by the way, but from the wildflowers that may grow from the seeds that will feed the bees. Why not?
The free seeds seem to be a Canadian give-away. This offer might not be available if you don’t naturally say ‘eh’, eh? Anyway, the free wildflower seeds are at the other end of this link. “With ongoing losses in bee populations being reported across Canada, we’re issuing a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers — one for every person in Canada,” says Emma Eriksson, Director of Marketing for General Mills Canada.
What can you do to bring the General Mills cartoon bee mascot back from its hiatus? Buy cereal! Let GM know that you miss their goofy bee. With enough of us stocking up on Honey Nut Cheerios (We bought 3 boxes!), it will send a loud and clear message. We want Buzz back! And hurry – we won’t survive long (Einstein says 4 years.) without Buzz the Bee on cereal packages.
- PSSST: A reminder that a special bee course that I’m helping present, called “Making Money from Honey” and will be held here in Calgary on April 9th, 2016. My teaching partner, Neil Bertram, will tell students how to make money with bees while I specialize on losing money from beekeeping. (I can hopefully give cautionary tales.) It should be a good balance. Course information is here: makingmoneyfromhoney.com. The seats are filling up. If you are in the Calgary, Alberta, Canada area, consider this one-day session in the economics of beekeeping and contact us today through the course website.