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Home // Get involved // Wildlife action // Help stag beetles

Help stag beetles

Provide a safe 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.

Leave dead wood

All you need is an outdoor space and some wood and you can make your very own sanctuary for stag beetles. Here are our top tips:

Photo by Julie Hill
  • 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.
  • Build a log pyramid in your garden to ensure that there is a good supply of suitable dead wood nearby for females to lay their eggs in.

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.

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 e.g. from predators or drowning. Sometimes it is necessary, so here is what we recommend:

  • 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.

Record stag beetles

Take part in our annual Great Stag Hunt survey and tell us when you see a stag beetle. Simply tell us when and where you saw it!

If you could spare spare half an hour a week this summer to look for stag beetles, you can also take part in our Stag Beetle Count survey.


Brush up on your stag beetle facts

What does a stag beetle look like? Where do stag beetles live? Are they protected? Head to our facts page for answers! Or for other specific stag beetle questions you can get in touch with our experts by emailing stagbeetle@ptes.org.


Support our work to protect stag beetles

We’ve been studying this rare species for nearly 20 years, with the help of the public, and our partner organisations. Our surveys help us to keep an eye on numbers and give the best advice on saving them. We also work hard to protect their homes such as orchards and woodlands. By donating today you can directly help support our efforts to understand more about this endangered native beetle and help us to protect its future.


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