Mar 17, 2017 • By

1 week, 1.5 billion seeds

When the Honey Nut Cheerios brand teams in U.S. and Canada launched their “Bring Back the Bees” campaign on March 9 to raise awareness about the declining pollinator population, they never imagined the response.

The goal was to provide enough seeds to help Americans and Canadians plant 200 million wildflowers for pollinator habitat.


In one week the campaign not only reached its goal, but surpassed it by an un-bee-lievable amount.

Honey Nut Cheerios will send more than 1.5 billion seeds to people who requested wildflower seeds to join the effort to #BringBackTheBees.


We’re out of seeds in the U.S. and we’re also close to running out in Canada.

To everyone participating in the campaign: You’re the bee’s knees!

To those who heard the buzz but didn’t make it to the U.S. website before the seeds ran out, there is still a way for you to protect pollinators. We encourage you to buy wildflower seeds at your local store and share your garden’s progress in social media using #BringBackTheBees.


Also, Veseys Seeds, our partner on this flower-focused, plant-friendly event has great gardening tips and seeds for sale at

“We would like to personally thank each and every person who ordered seeds. Their partnership is helping pollinators in a big way,” said Susanne Prucha, director of Cheerios in the U.S. “The success of this program shows that both Canadians and Americans are willing to take steps to help the bees.”

While Honey Nut Cheerios may be out of seeds online in the U.S., the brand teams in both the U.S. and Canada are not done planting awareness about the decline in bees and other pollinators.


If you’re in Chicago – either today or Monday, March 20 – we’re hosting two events where a limited number of wildflower seeds will be distributed.


At today’s event at FLEUROTICA, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance’s innovative floral fashion show, Honey Nut Cheerios is unveiling a spectacular floral dress designed by Melinda Whitmore, appropriately called “Queen Bee.”


And to celebrate the start of spring on March 20, the brand will transform Chicago’s Pioneer Plaza into a garden bursting with flowers.

The Chicago events follow what Canada’s Honey Nut Cheerios team did last week in Toronto.


They opened a temporary “Grocery Store of the Future” that provided a glimpse of what a grocery store would look like if we fail to support the bees. There were empty shelves, missing staples and limited choices for foods.


The Canada team has already exceeded its original goal of giving away more than 100 million wildflower seeds to Canadians, but the brand is not stopping there. Honey Nut Cheerios Canada is partnering with select Canadian retailers to give away millions more wildflower seeds over the coming weeks. On Monday, even more seeds will be available online for Canadian consumers as well.


“We are so appreciative of the overwhelming response we have seen from Canadians for Bring Back the Bees in its second year,” said Emma Eriksson, vice president, Marketing, in Canada. “It is great to see everyone coming together to make a difference. Now, it’s time to get those seeds into the ground!”

A pollinator habitat leader

Honey Nut Cheerios boxes featuring a silhouette of missing BuzzBee are the centerpiece of the campaign in the U.S. and Canada. The backs of the two boxes highlight facts about the impact bees have on our food supply.


Bee populations across North America have fallen dramatically in recent years. Researchers suspect several factors could be at work, but one of the big threats to bees is the loss of their natural habitat and food supply.

Without healthy vibrant bee colonies, one out of every three bites of food is in danger of disappearing.


General Mills has been at the forefront of protecting pollinator habitats for the past six years. We are the largest supporter of pollinators within the food industry and have been working on this issue since 2011, when we planted native grasses and flowering plants at an agricultural research center in Le Sueur, Minnesota.

Since then, we’ve contributed millions of dollars to plant thousands of acres of pollinator habitat throughout North America. In addition to Honey Nut Cheerios, our Annie’s, Cascadian Farm, LÄRABAR Muir Glen and Nature Valley brands have been involved.

And last fall, we made our largest contribution to promote pollinator health when we allocated $4 million to the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service so it and the Xerces Society can provide technical assistance to help farmers plant and protect pollinator habitats over the next five years.


Canada’s Honey Nut Cheerios team started the Bring Back the Bees program last year.

The program, and our overall commitment to the issue, have been making a difference – as the Ontario minister of Agriculture noted in his recent Pollinator Action Plan.

“General Mills is bringing awareness to this issue and encouraging simple actions such as planting pollinator-friendly habitats, which can do a lot to help support pollinator populations,” said Glen Murray, Ontario minister of the Environment and Climate Change.

These efforts have the support from some of the world’s leading bee experts, including Marla Spivak, a professor of Entomology at the University of Minnesota.

“The food supply we all depend upon is in jeopardy if we don’t maintain healthy, stable bee populations,” said Spivak. “Planting wildflowers is a simple but tremendously important way in which we can help preserve and grow the natural habitat bees need for survival.”

Editor’s note: There have been some articles posted and questions asked about the seeds used in the current Honey Nut Cheerios program. The Honey Nut Cheerios wildflower packets contain the same varieties of seeds that you will find in seed racks at major national home store chains throughout the U.S. For additional information about the seeds, read this article featuring Veseys Seeds, on the CBC News website.

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  • Edna Busto

    I would donate them to my local Community Vegetable Garden here in Fl.

  • Garrett Scott Smith

    Hello! I am really interested in this program. I was curious what General Mills did about the seed phytosanitary laws or how the distribution of wild flowers happened. I am trying to write a paper for law school about legal seed sharing and I was curious what you did to make it a success!

  • Linda Caldemeyer Ramsey Gibson

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure that these seeds are native plant species for the areas where they are being planted. Otherwise your good intentions will cause misguided damage to our ecosystems. Thank you.


      Ya, like those with allergies need honey produced within a 50 mile radius of where they live in order to reduce those allergies. These honies include not only the pollins locally but also some of the natural molds that affect our allergies. The seeds that GM are distributing would not necessarily be local-centric.

  • Dave Weaver

    i have never seen an expert in any places that sell seeds

    • Spire

      You aren’t going to the right places. Where do you live?


    The problem here is not the seeds or the plants available locally for pollination but habitat. We as man in our use of pesticides and other chemicals have upset their reproductive cycles. Where they live not their collection of polins that make the honey.

  • Leigh Caldwell

    General Mills has his heart in the right place in being concerned about declining bee population….BUT….General Mills focus should not be on planting more wildflowers for nectar for the bees to eat ….BUT that is NOT THE REASON why the bee populations are declining ! ! The actual reason for Bee population decline is due to the major use of an herbicide that is sprayed on commercial crops.and it’s “NEONICOTINOIDS” that are applied to crops for insect control that is killing the bees. We MUST ban NEONICS! if we don’t our bee populations will die off with dire consequences to man !

    • Spire

      No. It is not just one answer, I an tell you care. Please learn about just how complicated and related the stressors are, look up “What’s killing the bees? A little bit of everything.” by Brad Plumer

      • Leigh Caldwell

        The NEONICS are the major thing killing the bees ! Crops are sprayed with NEONICS ! Neonicotinides ….as an INSECT REPELLANT ! Bees ARE insects ! IF NEONICOTINIDE SPRAYS were ”banned” the bees wouldn’t be dying. HOWEVER, ”IF” farmers keep using the NEONICS we won’t have to worry about the crops because there WILL BE NO CROPS ~ WHY ??? Because it’s the BEES that POLLINATE THE CROPS, and after the NEONICS KILL ALL THE BEES, the crops won’t get pollinated, won’t be reproduced !

  • Leigh Caldwell

    One of the top theories of bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) is that
    it’s being caused by genetically engineered crops, either as a result
    of the crops themselves or the pesticides and herbicides applied on
    them, such as Roundup. And today, Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is one of
    the most widely used herbicides on the market, sold in Home Depot and
    Lowe’s as well as other stores across the country. Neonicotinoids are a
    newer pesticide that has become suspect in the demise of bee colonies
    around the globe.

    The continued sale of Roundup as well as systemic neonicotinoid
    insecticides not only threatens the lives of bees, but our entire system
    of agriculture. Without bees to pollinate our food crops, there will be
    no food and without food we cannot survive.

  • Lauren Altschuler

    Curious what General Mills is doing to eliminate GMOs in their products? According to lots of research, its’ the pesticides in the GMOs that are causing problems for the bees!

    • Spire

      That’s just one problem, look up: “What’s killing the bees? A little bit of everything.” by Brad Plumer

  • An-Ole-Di-Hard

    We’re fixing our year up, which includes a small pond, and planting flowers all around it. We also live near Bird Migration Lands. We’re going to plant flower seeds near these wetlands.

  • DorothyandTommy Taylor

    Is the lifehack article true that the seeds will cause more harm than good because of invasive species ex. California poppy etc. ?

  • Angela B

    I got seeds from cheerios. they are the wildflower mix. I will plant them this summer.

  • TrilbyHat

    Retail Groups everywhere should be asked to support and aid General Mills aims. This program should be copied world wide in all regions and across all national boundarys. Bee-friendly wild flowers seeds is a great idea and a tax bonus of some sort ought to be given to all planters and growers on their purchase costs. This is great news for bees and common-sense for mankind. General Mills should be congratulated.