Look out for stag bee­tles

Country Living (UK) - - A Month In The Country -

AS THE DAYS GET LONGER AND THE WEATHER WARMER, KEEP AN EYE OUT IN LEAFY GAR­DENS or at the edge of wood­land ar­eas for Bri­tain’s big­gest bee­tle. The stag bee­tle (from the Lu­canidae fam­ily) may look rather fear­some, but be­hind its mon­strous mandibles lies one of our most in­ter­est­ing in­sects. After spend­ing three to seven years un­der­ground as lar­vae, adults emerge for six short weeks in or­der to re­pro­duce. The males en­joy a spell of sun­bathing to gather strength, then pa­trol the same area re­peat­edly in search of a mate. Sadly, stag bee­tles are now cat­e­gorised as ‘na­tion­ally scarce’ due to sig­nif­i­cant habi­tat loss, with the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion be­ing lim­ited to the south of Eng­land. Gar­den­ers can help, how­ever, by drilling holes in a bucket, fill­ing it with wood chip­pings and bury­ing it in flowerbeds to cre­ate an ar­ti­fi­cial nest­ing site. Visit ptes.org (Peo­ple’s Trust for En­dan­gered Species) for more in­for­ma­tion.

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