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Everybody knows how important bees are for nature and in how much danger they are, so a cereal company wanted to offer them a helping hand. Cheerios decided to take action and help the declining populations of pollinators by sending away around 1.5 billion wildflower seeds only this month. However, their initiative also brought some problems.
Bees play a huge role in world’s food supply, and their alarmingly decreasing numbers can lead to terrible consequences. This is why Cheerios decided to start their campaign to send flower seeds with their packages. Their campaign, called #BringBacktheBees, is inspired by Cheerios’ bee mascot, called Buzz.
Problems with the seeds
In spite of their good intentions, Cheerios caused some controversies with these seeds they started sending away. Namely, some of the seeds they sent belonged to plants which were either supposed to be banned in certain states, or they were outright banned in other states.
Among the plants that are going to grow from the seeds, there are forget-me-nots. These are considered noxious weed and are banned in states like Connecticut and Massachusetts. Also, some other seeds belong to the California poppy. This is regarded as an invasive exotic pest plant in the southeast.
What started as a great initiative ended up causing more harm than good. Many of the seeds sent away by Cheerios are not native to any region of the United States. Kathy Turner, an ecologist specialized in invasive plants, explained why this represents a danger for the environment.
“Many species can and have caused a great deal of damage when they are introduced into locations outside of their native range. Invasive species can out-compete the natives they encounter.”
Moreover, invasive plant species usually use up all the space and resources available in the area, and can use all possible means to cause damage to the other surrounding species. Thus, they are not dangerous only for other plant species, but also for humans.
Cheerios faced criticism regarding this initiative
After discovering that Cheerios might be sending away invasive plant species, the company was hit with a lot of critique on Facebook. They declared that they did not select invasive species for their mix. On the contrary, they stated to have selected special flower varieties which can produce a lot of pollen and nectar and are attractive for bees.
The company officials stated that they had already run out of seeds. Their effort might count in the fight to protect bees, and hopefully no invasive species would end up in a non-native ground where they might strangle the surrounding species.
Image Source: Flickr