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stag beetles

If you have found an adult stag beetle you can give them some soft fruit or sugared water and move it out of harms way but the best thing is to let them get on and find a mate! If you have found stag beetle larvae please rebury them with some of the wood and soil in a shady undisturbed area. Don’t forget to log your sighting below.

Stag beetles (Lucanus cervus) are Britain’s largest terrestrial beetle, named because the male’s huge jaw-like mandibles look just like a stag’s antlers. Historically, stag beetles have been recorded throughout much of Western Europe, though in many countries they are now thought to be very rare or even extinct. Read more about their current UK status and distribution. They spend about five years as white grubs underground and emerge as fully grown adult insects in spring. They are quite harmless – although they can give you quite a shock if they bump into you while flying around on summer evenings looking for a mate! For more information on stag beetles please take a look at our stag beetle facts and ID guides.

reasons for their decline

The main threat facing stag beetles is a significant loss of their habitat. Many woodlands were sold for development in the inter-war years and many of our surviving open urban spaces have sadly been developed since then. ‘Tidying up’ of woodlands, parks and gardens has led to the removal of dead or decaying wood habitats which is the stag beetle larvae’s food source. Tree surgery operations such as stump-grinding of felled trees removes a vital habitat for the beetle. They are also vulnerable to being crushed by traffic or feet. And changes in weather patterns are also likely to have an impact. Exceptionally dry or wet weather is likely to substantially affect the larvae, whilst wet and windy weather can inhibit adult beetles’ flying ability. Read more about how you can help stag beetles in your garden.

how you can help – record a sighting

You can help by recording your stag beetle sightings through our Great Stag Hunt, take part in one of our activities to create homes for stags or read more tips on how you can help in your garden.

how we are helping

People’s Trust for Endangered Species leads on stag beetle work included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).

As part of our work to maintain their current geographical range across the country we are working on developing effective monitoring such as the bury buckets 4 beetles activity and stepping stones for stags activity. Further BAP work funded by PTES involves looking into what environmental factors affect the stag beetle and its larvae, in particular soil types, microbiology and changes in the climate. We are currently looking at MET office soil temperature data to see whether different temperatures affect when stag beetles emerge and therefore how long they have to breed.

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