If you’ve ever been to the UK in early June, you’re likely to remember the lovely, temperate weather, high tea in the garden, and perhaps the presence of beetles on the prowl for a mate. June is known as peak beetle season as many species are looking to reproduce. Stag beetles in particular put on a spectacular show, with males locking their jaws and wrestling each other over mating territory.
This spring, however, conservationists are worried that the unpredictable weather, an unexpectedly chilly April followed by a rather rainy May, may have had a detrimental impact on beetle populations.
To address this, Wild About Gardens is calling on gardeners in the general public to record the different kinds of beetles they come across using iNaturalist, a nature app that helps people identify and record wildlife on their phones. They are also encouraged to make beetle banks by planting species that support beetles such as hawthorn, dogwood, and hogweed, as well as herbs including angelica, fennel, and chervil.
There are over 4,000 beetle species in the UK, but their numbers are declining due to habitat loss, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and extreme or unpredictable weather. People are especially encouraged to look out for Soldier beetles, Click beetles, and Longhorn beetles.
Wherever you are in the world, it’s important to consider insects and pollinators when planning out which plants you want to cultivate, or before mowing down your whole lawn. There is still enough time to decide to allow a part of your lawn to go wild in support of the bugs in your personal ecosystem.