how to help stag beetles
The best thing to do if you find a stag beetle (adult or larva) is to leave it alone, unless it is in immediate danger e.g. from predators or drowning.
If you are gardening and dig up a stag beetle larva (grub) please return it to where you found it and replace the soil and rotting wood.
If you have to cut down a tree, and you find stag beetle larvae amongst the roots, try to leave them there with as much of the original rotting wood and soil as possible.
If it is not possible to leave them there, please dig a hole in a quiet corner of your garden and put them in together with some of the rotting wood from their original site. Cover loosely with soil.
- Leave old stumps and deadwood alone. Female stags lay their eggs in rotting log piles and the roots of various rotten trees, including oak, apple, ash and cherry. Leave fallen trees in large pieces in contact with the soil so that the wood remains moist and is able to rot. Don’t remove tree stumps if you are cutting down a dead, unsafe tree. And please don’t burn the dead wood.
- Stag beetles are harmless and do not attack living wood, or timber used in furniture, buildings or fences unless it is very rotten, so do not be tempted to kill them. Please leave them well alone.
- Be alert for predators such as magpies and cats. Try and scare magpies away and keep your own pets indoors during the evening when stag beetles are flying and vulnerable.
- Cover water butts and also provide an access out of ponds for beetles such as a small plank. If you see a dead-looking beetle in water please take it out – they often revive!
- Try to avoid decking your garden as it blocks potential nesting sites
- Do not mow your lawn in large areas during the period the beetles are emerging.
- Buy untreated woodchip and mulch which can also provide ideal habitat for females to lay their eggs in and a food supply for the larvae.
- If you find a dead stag beetle, carefully wrap it and enclose it in both a box and an airtight envelope with details of exactly where you found it. We shall pass it on to researchers who are studying beetle sizes. Please only send beetles that are definitely dead and not just lethargic!
Great Stag Hunt
People’s Trust for Endangered Species
15 Cloisters House
8 Battersea Park Road