Population Ecology

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 77–82 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal pattern of introduced Bombus terrestris abundance in Hokkaido, Japan, and its potential impact on native bumblebees

  • Naoki Inari
  • Teruyoshi Nagamitsu
  • Tanaka Kenta
  • Koichi Goka
  • Tsutom Hiura
Notes and Comments


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.


Bombus ardens Bombus hypocrita Chitose River Basin Introduced species Interspecies competition 



We thank Dr. M.J. Toda and Dr. D. Goulson for their critical comments on our manuscripts. We also thank Mr. H. Hoshikawa for helping us to collect bumblebee catches by traps. We are grateful to Denen Club Hokkaido Co., Ltd., Mr. M. Yoneda of API Co., Ltd., and Mr. M. Mitsuhata of Arysta Lifescience Corporation for kind assistance in collecting information about agricultural use of B. terrestris in the study area.


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Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Naoki Inari
    • 1
  • Teruyoshi Nagamitsu
    • 2
  • Tanaka Kenta
    • 3
  • Koichi Goka
    • 4
  • Tsutom Hiura
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Low Temperature ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Hokkaido Research CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Tomakomai Research StationField Science Center for Northern Biosphere, Hokkaido UniversityTomakomaiJapan
  4. 4.National Institute for Environmental StudiesTsukubaJapan

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