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Stag beetle nest boxes

Stag beetle nest boxes are an entirely British idea. These boxes are made of old oak wood, about one-meter-long, are filled with firmly packed aged wood chips and then buried so that only a bit stays above the surface.
The idea is to have a kind of artificial tree stump where one can easily look inside to see who has moved in, which is so difficult to do with the pyramids.
Since 1999 they have been placed in various stag beetle rich areas in England. See photos below for three in Colchester, Essex.

Natural History Museum, March 2003, MF
Highwoods Country Park, August 2000, MF
Natural History Museum, April 2003, MF

Notice that the nest box in the right hand-side has been strategically placed by a woodpile. During the 2005 re-landscaping of the Colchester Natural History Museum garden, this box had to be removed due to its advanced decomposition. It had a lesser stag beetle Dorcus parallelipipedus feeding in the wood of the box wood, not on its contents; the logs did have stag beetle Lucanus cervus larvae though. In the same area there is now a pyramid.
Earlier on it was already becoming clear that these boxes were difficult to monitor due to the unexpected fast decomposition of the wood casing.
Also, I noticed that the level of the filling tended to lower dramatically, clearly they also seem to need regular topping up, in particular in the box in the middle. For more see
the latest nest box update.
The Dutch nesting posts look a very promising way of monitoring stag beetles breeding sites, and they have now been added to the pyramids resulting in a lollipop.
Bury buckets 4 beetles/BB4B is a innovative way of getting all the family involved in conservation. I have buried several buckets and quickly got interesting results in just one of them, see here. These buckets need topping up every year, of course.

Last modified: Sun Jan 25 10:12:08 GMT 2009

| Main | Stag beetle conservation |