Ips typographus populations were analysed by enzyme electrophoresis and by sequence analysis in order to quantify the degree of population differentiation. Enzyme electrophoresis showed a high gene flow among all European populations. Analysis of single loci showed that aspartate aminotransferase-2 (Aat-2) clustered the Scandinavian populations apart from the other populations whereas other enzyme loci showed no significant pattern. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA revealed eight haplotypes. The populations from Italy, Croatia and Belgium were the most polymorphic. Two haplotypes (I and II) were found in the majority of Central European populations. In the northern populations only one haplotype (I) was found. The Russian and Lithuanian populations had a particular haplotype (IV) that was not found in any of the other populations. In view of these data it is suggested that the population structure of I. typographus has been influenced by events which took place during and after the last ice age. Populations were forced into refugial areas in the south and in the area north of Moscow along with the host tree, Picea abies. P. abies had four refugial areas: the Apennine Alps, the Dinaric Alps, the Carpathian Alps and Kostroma, an area north of Moscow. With amelioration of the temperature, beetles spread after P. abies. According to the data presented here, I. typographus migrated from the Apennine and/or Dinaric Alps to the north. Whilst there is evidence for high gene flow among populations, bottleneck effects can still be detected in the north and also in the east. Beetles from the refugial area north of Moscow did not spread to Scandinavia or to the west like the host tree.