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Competition between managed honeybees and wild bumblebees depends on landscape context

  • Lina Herbertsson
  • Sandra A M Lindström
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Riccardo Bommarco
  • Henrik G. Smith
Publishing year: 2016-11-01
Language: English
Pages: 609-616
Publication/Series: Basic and Applied Ecology
Volume: 17
Issue: 7
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Honeybees might outcompete wild bees by depleting common resources, possibly more so in simplified landscapes where flower-rich habitats have been lost. We tested this by experimentally adding honeybee hives to nine sites while ensuring that ten additional sites were free from hives. The landscape surrounding each geographically separated site either held low (homogeneous landscape) or high (heterogeneous landscape) proportions of semi-natural grassland. Adding honeybees suppressed bumblebee densities in field borders and road verges in homogeneous landscapes whereas no such effect was detected in heterogeneous landscapes. The proportional abundance of bumblebee species with small foraging ranges was lower at honeybee sites than at control sites in heterogeneous landscapes, whereas bumblebee communities in homogeneous landscapes were dominated by a single species with long foraging range irrespective of if honeybees were added or not. We conclude that honeybees can impact bumblebee densities, but that landscape heterogeneity modified this effect.


  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
  • Apis mellifera
  • Bombus
  • Flower resources
  • Interspecific competition
  • Landscape complexity
  • Pollinators


  • ISSN: 1439-1791