Leave a log for stag beetles.
This magnificent, declining species needs dead wood to survive. The female lays her eggs in the rotting wood and the larvae develop here. The male stag beetle is easily identified by his huge jaws that resemble antlers (can you see where it gets its name?).. Both sexes have a shiny black head and thorax, and chestnut-brown wing cases.
You’re most likely to see a male in flight on those warm summer evenings between May and August, while it is searching for a mate. It can take up to five years for the stag beetle’s larvae to develop into adults and sadly these beautiful beetles live as adults for only a few months in the summer in order to mate.
But you can help!
There are two main requirements for stag beetles: dead wood and minimal disturbance. A log pile for stag beetles will also provide shelter for invertebrates, and the best logs are in partial shade or partially buried (to stop the logs drying out). If you place them vertically, you can use this as a feeding table too: place seeds on top to attract birds. The log will attract other insects too; perfect food for the larvae and birds alike!
Stag beetle © Margaret Holland