The reason why the bee is missing on the Honey Nut Cheerios box is upsetting

It’s hard to pay attention to the small details when you’re groggily having your cereal in the morning — but if you look closely tomorrow morning, you’ll see that the bee is missing on the Honey Nut Cheerios box. In its place is a white outline where Buzz the Bee used to be. And it’s for an important (and sad) reason. Cheerios is raising awareness to the fact that bees and pollinators are endangered.

You’ve likely heard this unsettling development before — when bees were added to the endangered species list last year — but removing Buzz is a great way to spread the word to a wider audience (like children, since they’re the future and all).

Although bees were put on the endangered species just last October, they’ve been in trouble for a few years. And while some of us shudder at the thought of a fuzzy bee coming anywhere near us, they’re part of a super intricate ecosystem that directly impacts the food system, so we need those little guys.  As pollinators, crops depend on them, too. General Mills, the producer of Cheerios, is directly impacted by this.

According to their website, about 30 percent of their ingredients are dependent on pollination, and in effect, bees. Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios, wrote in a statement:

“Our commitment to increasing the habitat for pollinators is one way we are continuously striving to be a company that not only makes products people love, but a company that pursues creative solutions to make our world a better place for all families.”

Not only did they remove Buzz to make you think a little bit, the company is also urging customers to go to their website to order wildflower seeds — for free! Bees depend on wildflowers to grow and because of climate change, their supply is running out, leading to colony collapse. General Mills wants to plant 100 million seeds. It’s free, so take a minute to order some from General Mills to plant in your own garden this spring.

And did we mention the seeds are FREE? You can have a gorgeous wild garden on your roof or yard and bring back the bees at the same time.

Sure, sometimes they can bug you (see what we did there?), but we need the bees. And we always had a soft spot for Buzz, too.