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Lucanus cervus, stag beetle - © Zoltan Gyori
Lucanus cervus, stag beetle – © Zoltan Gyori

Published: December 12, 2023

The battling beetle that’s under threat and how we can encourage them in our gardens

Unfortunately due to overly-tidied domestic gardens stag beetle numbers are in decline. Beetles represent the largest of our insect orders. There are around 1,500 species of stag beetle globally. Four species are found in the UK. These include Lucanus cervus, the stag beetle, with which we are most familiar, and the lesser stag seetle, Dorcus parallelipipedus.

Stag beetles are now a legally protected species in the UK, they are classified as nationally scarce and in decline across Europe. In the past, gardeners have been concerned about stag beetles causing damage to trees, but since they only feed on dead wood, they cause no damage to living trees or plants. They are wonderful recyclers and their larvae aid the decomposition of decaying plant material while active in the soil, including fungi and other micro-organisms.

Gardeners should celebrate the presence of these beautiful beetles and provide habitats for them in and around the garden. Consider creating log piles of deciduous wood, particularly from oak or fruit trees. Additionally, leaving tree stumps in place and creating piles of branches or tree debris collected throughout the season, will provide suitable habitats.

Read the full feature here

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