'Save the stag beetle' plea to gardeners

Torbay Weekly

South Devon's garden lovers are being asked to take part in a special operation - to help save endangered stag beetles and other wildlife.

It is all part of a new garden survey launched by wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species called ‘Map your log pile’

PTES is asking anyone with a garden or access to a local green space - including school playgrounds, church yards, parks, allotments and traditional orchards - to create a log pile or pyramid for stag beetles and other invertebrates, and record their location online. This will enable PTES to see where these important deadwood habitats exist, where more need to be created, and hopefully inspire others to create their own too.

They say creating a log pile is easy; simply keep any logs, wood chips, old firewood or fallen branches and place them in a corner of your garden or green space. The log pile can be neat or untidy (insects don’t mind!) and can be made using a variety of different sized pieces of dead wood and leaves.

Different locations will attract different species – if positioned in the shade, the log pile will stay damp and is good for fungi, mosses and some invertebrates, but if in full sun, the wood will dry out and is good for solitary bees. Tree stumps or hedges that have either died naturally or have been cut down can also be retained and added too.

The charity says that to make a log pyramid that will benefit stag beetles specifically, you will need to partially bury the logs upright in the soil. To enable stag beetles to lay their eggs, and for larvae to move in and out, make sure there is space filled with soil in between the logs.

Then record their location online: www.stagbeetles.ptes.org

Laura Bower, Conservation Officer at PTES, explains: “Stag beetles have even become extinct in some parts of Europe, which we can’t let happen here in the UK. Helping invertebrates in this way couldn’t be easier, so we hope lots of people can help by making a stag beetle a home this summer.”