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Article

Japanese Honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) May Be Resilient to Land Use Change

1
Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK
2
Graduate School of Fisheries and Environmental Science, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki 852-8521, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ivana Tlak Gajger, Franco Mutinelli and Cristina Botías
Insects 2021, 12(8), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12080685
Received: 15 July 2021 / Revised: 27 July 2021 / Accepted: 29 July 2021 / Published: 30 July 2021
Pollinators are threatened globally by growing urban sprawl and agriculture. The Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera) readily adapts to whatever food is available, so people have made it the most widely distributed pollinator across the world. Previous research has suggested that the Western Honeybee may be less resilient to land use change outside of its natural range. This study examines a different honeybee species—the Japanese Honeybee (Apis cerana japonica). Unlike the Western Honeybee, this species is found almost exclusively in its natural range in Japan. Consequently, it may be better adapted to its local food sources and therefore more resilient. Working in southern Japan, in the Nagasaki and Saga prefectures, we looked at the nectar and pollen that the Japanese Honeybee feeds on. Their food intake was then examined in relation to local land use composition. We found minimal impact of increasing urban sprawl on the forage of the Japanese Honeybee. This goes against previous studies on the Western Honeybee elsewhere in the world. Though in need of a direct comparison with Western Honeybee, these preliminary results could be due to differences in urban green infrastructure in Japan, or due to an adaptation by the Japanese honeybee to its surroundings.
Pollinators are being threatened globally by urbanisation and agricultural intensification, driven by a growing human population. Understanding these impacts on landscapes and pollinators is critical to ensuring a robust pollination system. Remote sensing data on land use attributes have previously linked honeybee nutrition to land use in the Western Honeybee (Apis mellifera L.). Here, we instead focus on the less commonly studied Apis cerana japonica—the Japanese Honeybee. Our study presents preliminary data comparing forage (honey and pollen) with land use across a rural-urban gradient from 22 sites in Kyushu, southern Japan. Honey samples were collected from hives between June 2018 and August 2019. Pollen were collected and biotyped from hives in urban and rural locations (n = 4). Previous studies of honey show substantial variation in monosaccharide content. Our analysis of A. cerana japonica honey found very little variation in glucose and fructose (which accounted for 97% of monosaccharides), despite substantial differences in surrounding forage composition. As expected, we observed temporal variation in pollen foraged by A. cerana japonica, likely dependent on flowering phenology. These preliminary results suggest that the forage and nutrition of A. cerana japonica may not be negatively affected by urban land use. This highlights the need for further comparative studies between A. cerana japonica and A. mellifera as it could suggest a resilience in pollinators foraging in their native range. View Full-Text
Keywords: pollinator; landscape; land use; urban rural gradient; Japanese honeybee; honey; pollen; nutrition pollinator; landscape; land use; urban rural gradient; Japanese honeybee; honey; pollen; nutrition
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MDPI and ACS Style

Donkersley, P.; Covell, L.; Ota, T. Japanese Honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) May Be Resilient to Land Use Change. Insects 2021, 12, 685. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12080685

AMA Style

Donkersley P, Covell L, Ota T. Japanese Honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) May Be Resilient to Land Use Change. Insects. 2021; 12(8):685. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12080685

Chicago/Turabian Style

Donkersley, Philip, Lucy Covell, and Takahiro Ota. 2021. "Japanese Honeybees (Apis cerana japonica Radoszkowski, 1877) May Be Resilient to Land Use Change" Insects 12, no. 8: 685. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12080685

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