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Critics Say Cheerios' Bee-Saving Campaign Could Hurt Some Ecosystems

Critics say some of the wildflowers in the "Bring Back the Bees" mix are potentially invasive and could cause damage to some ecosystems.

Critics Say Cheerios' Bee-Saving Campaign Could Hurt Some Ecosystems
Marcus Trienke / CC by SA 2.0

The maker of Cheerios is facing some controversy over its "Bring Back the Bees" campaign.

To help declining bee populations, General Mills recently gave out 1.5 billion wildflower seeds meant to be planted across the country.

But the company appears to have chosen a one-size-fits-all approach for the campaign instead of focusing on region-specific seed mixes.

Critics have pointed out that some of the wildflowers included in the "Bring Back the Bees" mix are potentially invasive and could cause damage to some local ecosystems.

General Mills says the seeds were chosen for how attractive their nectar is to bees. It also said the seeds "are not considered invasive" but didn't give further details.

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The company has been devoted to bee conservation for years. One program dedicated to planting bee habitats around oat crops is expected to double local bee populations.

But some critics argue it's ironic that General Mills has taken on a conservation role at all.

They point to a recent study by Food Democracy Now! — a grassroots organizations dedicated to sustainability — which says some of the fields General Mills buys oats from used herbicides suspected of hurting bee populations.