How to conserve stag beetles? Lure them with ginger!

The decline of the stag beetle – which is the UK’s largest beetle, has been cause for concern among conservationists. Until now monitoring the population numbers of this elusive invertebrate have been problematic. However, a team of ecologists from Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of York have discovered that ginger may hold the key. The research was part-funded by a grant from the BES.

Dr Deborah Harvey and her colleagues trialled a number of odours including strawberries and even beer in order to help lure stag beetles into traps, but found ginger to be the most effective bait. The use of ginger to catch adult stag beetles has also been combined with using tiny underground microphones to detect larvae in order to get an accurate estimate of population size.

These new sampling methods “offer genuine promise for monitoring the population” said Dr Harvey, as they will help conservation efforts towards stag beetles by allowing scientists to identify where they are living and how many of them remain.

For more information see the recent Press Release on the BES website.