Spatial and temporal pattern of introduced Bombus terrestris abundance in Hokkaido, Japan, and its potential impact on native bumblebees
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- Inari, N., Nagamitsu, T., Kenta, T. et al. Popul Ecol (2005) 47: 77. doi:10.1007/s10144-004-0205-9
A commercial colony of Bombus terrestris (L.) was introduced to Japan in 1992 for crop pollination in greenhouses. Since then wild colonies have developed and spread in some regions. In the present study, we measured the spatial distribution and temporal change in abundance of B. terrestris in the Chitose River Basin, Hokkaido, Japan to elucidate the relation of greenhouses to the bee’s distribution and to evaluate its potential effects on native bumblebees. Bumblebees were collected with window traps in windbreak forests roughly 1, 2, 4, and 6 km NNW and SSE of a large greenhouse. The peak catch of B. terrestris queens occurred in early June, suggesting that they had successfully hibernated in the field. The distributions of B. terrestris and the native B. ardens were mutually exclusive, while the native B. hypocrita appeared at all sites. Catches of B. terrestris were restricted to within 4 km of the nearest greenhouse, suggesting that the invasion was still in the initial phase in this area. The reduction in abundance of the native bumblebees in the sites of high B. terrestris abundance suggests the presence of interspecies competition between B. terrestris and the native bumblebees during the early part of the colony activity, although such reduction in B. ardens can be explained by habitat suitability.