Cheerios Gave Away a Bunch of Invasive ‘Bee-Friendly’ Wildflower Seeds

It mailed millions of these packs.

Photo: General Mills

Bees are dying globally during an shocking rate, and final week, Cheerios figured it would step in and help. The cereal brand, whose mascot — after all — is a honeybee, announced it would mail out giveaway wildflower seeds as partial of a “Save a Bees” debate to yield some-more nectar for a struggling pollinator. By Friday, only one week in, it had given divided 1.5 billion of them — 10 times some-more than a strange idea and, as it after explained in a blog post, adequate to exhaust General Mills’ whole supply.

There was only one little problem: It picked wildflowers that can grow into bad news for certain recipients’ internal ecosystems. Rather than boat any chairman a seed container custom-tailored to their region, that would have been a ton of work, Cheerios used a general brew — forget-me-nots, poppies, daisies, lavender, hyssop, and about a dozen others. But, as Lifehacker realized, many of them aren’t local to any partial of America. Worse, Massachusetts and Connecticut ban forget-me-nots, and poppies are considered an “invasive outlandish pest” in a southeast. As an ecologist explains, plant those in a wrong area, and they can “take adult all a space and use adult all a resources,” or even “spread disease” that could be unpropitious to both plants and humans alike.

To uncover a campaign’s huge reach, Cheerios’s #BringBacktheBees site offers a accessible map that logs where it sent each pack, and a southeast and New England in sold are only jam-packed with dots. Over a weekend, a association jumped into invulnerability mode, telling critics on amicable media that while they “appreciate” those concerns, there’s no need for worry since a seeds were selected privately to attract “bees” (listed as yet they’re one general entity) and “are not deliberate invasive” — which, during slightest according to a USDA, doesn’t seem to be loyal during all.

Bee experts are also indicating out to Cheerios that “context is important,” and what’s good for honeybees isn’t indispensably good for local bumblebees and other species, or clamp versa. A third organisation indignant about a seeds, meanwhile, is blustering General Mills for perplexing to #BringBacktheBees when lab tests have shown that a oats it uses in Cheerios enclose traces of Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide tied to colony-collapse commotion that competence also be giving everybody cancer.

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