Stag Beetles in Suffolk

Saturday 20th June 2015

My Wild Life is a weekly column running each Saturday throughout 2015 in the East Anglian Daily Times. Each week it features stories of action for local wildlife

Few British insects are quite as impressive and distinctive as the stag beetle. The spectacular male, with its huge antler-like jaws, is our largest and most conspicuous beetle. This is the time of year to look out for them; the iconic males will be flying on warm summer evenings at dusk in search of females. At the same time, females, which lack the formidable-looking jaws of the male, will be on the ground, where they will be emitting sex pheromones to attract the males.

Stag beetles are in serious decline across Europe due to habitat loss. In Britain the beetle is mostly confined to the warmer, drier, south east of England and is classed as near threatened, again due to habitat loss and populations becoming isolated. In Suffolk the beetle is largely confined to the south east of the county in an area between the rivers Deben and Stour. Earlier surveys have shown that there are significant colonies in Woodbridge, Ipswich, Hadleigh and Nayland and at a number of sites across the Felixstowe and Shotley peninsulas. Further surveys will help plot their distribution in greater detail as well as give information about any changes that have taken place.

How you can help: loss of habitat is the main threat to the lives of stag beetles. The larvae depend solely on a diet of subterranean, decaying wood of broad-leaved trees, which disappears if stumps and roots are removed after a tree has died. Wherever possible, retain dead stumps and provide additional habitat by burying logs vertically in the ground to create Stepping stones for stag beetles to move to new egg-laying sites.


Report your stag beetle sightings via the recording forms on the websites: or

Forthcoming events with Suffolk Wildlife Trust:

Guided Walk: Butterflies

Sunday 21 June, 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Venue: Bradfield Woods, Felsham Road, Bradfield St George


Wild Woods pop-up cafe at Bradfield Woods

Sun day 21 June, 10:00am - 4:00pm

Venue: Bradfield Woods, the Wild Woods pop-up cafe is open for coffee and cakes in the Bradfield Woods green oak centre


Evening walk for nightjars and glow worms

Friday 26 June, 9:30pm - 10:30pm

Venue: Blaxhall Heath and Common

Wildlife walk with Woodbridge Wildlife Group, no need to book


Tagged with: Species, Heritage Lottery Fund, My Wild Life, Volunteering