Help stag beetles
We need your help to protect stag beetles, whether you have a small town garden or manage parklands.
Provide a home for stag beetles
One way to help stag beetles is to provide a home for them in your garden. The major problem facing stag beetles is the lack of rotting wood to lay their eggs near and for their young larvae to feed on. Don’t worry – stag beetles are harmless and will not damage living trees, plants, furniture or buildings. To create a stag beetle sanctuary you’ll need an outdoor space, some wood and this build a log pile for stag beetle instructions sheet
Leave dead wood
- 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.
- Try to avoid decking your garden as it blocks potential nesting sites.
- 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.
Protect them from dangers
- Be alert for predators such as magpies and cats. Try and scare magpies away and keep your own pets indoors during the evenings 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!
- Don’t mow your lawn in large areas during the period the beetles are emerging.
Record stag beetles
Take part in our annual Great Stag Hunt survey.
If you have to move stag beetles…
- The best thing to do if you find a stag beetle (adult or larva) is to leave it alone, unless it’s in immediate danger eg from predators or drowning.
- When gardening, if you 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’s 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.
Count beetles along a transect
Thanks to the thousands of people who have recorded stag beetle sightings over the years, we now have a really good idea of where stag beetles live and we can see that their distribution has stayed quite stable over this period. What we don’t know is whether their numbers are going up or down as this is much harder to assess.
We have been helping to fund work on stag beetles across their European range. You can read more details about the project here. To make this project a success, we need plenty of volunteers in England to take part. Can you spare half an hour a week this summer to help us look for stag beetles?
If so, please visit www.stagbeetlemonitoring.org for more information and to register for the survey. You can choose a transect local to you and you just need to walk it six times during June and July.
Stag beetle facts
What does a stag beetle look like? Where do stag beetles live? Are they protected? Find out here.
For other stag beetle questions you can get in touch with our experts by emailing email@example.com.