Searching for noble chafer beetles
Last summer PTES funded a new national noble chafer beetle survey. Hundreds of volunteers were sent a survey pack and asked to put up a (harmless!) trap and fit it with a lure. Thank you to everyone who has helped this year.
We wanted to expand our knowledge of this beautiful beetle’s range so we decided to check orchards and wood pasture sites both in areas where they are currently known to exist, and in other areas where we don’t yet have records. Noble chafers have populations in the New Forest and in traditional orchards in Kent, the Three Counties and there are some isolated records in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
The survey shows noble chafers are doing well
Over 300 lures and 260 traps were sent out to volunteers across the country. The lure in the traps was developed specifically for this beetle so it shouldn’t attract any other insects. It has also been shown to be very reliable. We are still awaiting the final results but our interim report shows that we had records from 7 counties including records from Sussex and Devon where we haven’t previously known noble chafers were present.
Steve, our Orchard Biodiversity Officer and Laura, our Conservation Officer put out traps at an orchard in Iwade, Kent (the only known noble chafer site in Kent). This orchard had been completely translocated from another site in 2011 to make way for housing. The trees have slowly been in decline and quite a few have died. However, one trap caught 2 different female noble chafers which was a great result and shows that there is still enough suitable habitat there at the moment.
Hopefully the results of this survey should not only tell us where noble chafers are, but where they aren’t (or aren’t any more) which is incredibly important information to allow us to protect the species and their habitats in the future.
The survey was run by Deborah Harvey of Royal Holloway University, one of our research partners.
To learn more about noble chafer beetles and tell us about any other sightings click the green button below.