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The expanding Pacific Northwest range of Bombus impatiens Cresson and its establishment in Washington State

  • Chris LooneyEmail author
  • James P. Strange
  • Maggie Freeman
  • David Jennings
Invasion Note

Abstract

Bombus impatiens, the common eastern bumble bee, is the first bumble bee established outside of its native range in North America. Native to the eastern portion of the continent, the species was imported to British Columbia in the early 2000s for greenhouse pollination and subsequently became established in the wild. Here we report on the continuing expansion of its range in the Pacific Northwest, including the detection of gynes and workers in Washington State. Sightings of B. impatiens in the region have become increasingly common based on various Internet mapping and reporting sites. The species has been observed about 30 km south of the British Columbia border, or 60 km from the first British Columbia detections. Species distribution models indicate that the Puget Sound and Willamette Valley are suitable habitat, and the bee will likely continue to expand its range southward towards California. The potential impacts of B. impatiens in the region are unknown and will be monitored in future research.

Keywords

Common eastern bumble bee Range expansion Pollinators Citizen science Commercial colonies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Beth Chisholm (Whatcom County Master Gardener program coordinator), Caitie Blethen (San Juan County Master Gardener program coordinator), Eliza Habegger (San Juan County Land Bank) and numerous volunteers for deploying blue-vane traps. Rian Wojahn (WSDA) provided Japanese beetle bycatch for analysis. We thank Bumble Bee Watch, iNaturlist.org, and bugguide.net for supplying data, and are grateful for all of the volunteer participants who gathered those data.

Supplementary material

10530_2019_1970_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (262 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 261 kb)

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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington State Department of AgricultureOlympiaUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS-Pollinating Insect Research UnitNorth LoganUSA
  3. 3.Washington State Butterfly AssociationSeattleUSA

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