General Mills efforts to re-establish bee populations may hurt more than help
FARGO -- General Mills is getting backlash from an effort many are calling "good intentioned." The cereal company with a bee at its front and center is getting stung for trying to help wild bees across the nation. Horticulturists say General Mill...
FARGO - General Mills is getting backlash from an effort many are calling "good intentioned."
The cereal company with a bee at its front and center is getting stung for trying to help wild bees across the nation.
Horticulturists say General Mills could be doing more harm than good by handing out free wildflower seed packets to re-establish a shrinking bee population.
The packets are introducing non-native plant species.
"Native plants are best for native bees because they co-evolve together. So they bloom at the right time. They provide an abundant amount of nectar and also more attractive to our native bees," said Dr. Esther McGinnis, NDSU horticulturist.
Or worse, they could create an overabundance of weeds, said McGinnis.
"There is potential that they could become established in the wild and become a nuisance," said McGinnis.
Only 25 percent of the free packets are for plants native to North Dakota, where the most honey is produced nationwide and where there's less and less habitat.
"There are just fewer wildflowers in the meadows and in the ditches so we're seeing a reduction in their habitat," said McGinnis.
Local greenhouses and garden stores in our metro are encouraging you to plant native species instead and most are bee-friendly too.
"A lot of the wildflower population is oriented towards bee population because it's a hot point for a lot of people," said Eric Baker of Baker Garden and Gift.
There are types of flowers bees will immediately gravitate toward.
"Something that has a big center cone like that with a lot of petals on the outside. So we're looking for a classic daisy-like flower," said Baker.
You can also choose your preference in your own effort to "save the bees."
The NDSU Extension Service says honey bee populations have increased thanks to hard work from farmers like keeping more hives.
The General Mills effort is largely focused on wild bees across the country.