What We Know

There are large gaps in our knowledge of the stag beetle in Britain If you find a stag beetle please help by filling out the Monitoring form.

We know that....

*The life cycle of the stag beetle is centred on rotting wood.

*Most people are familiar with the adult beetles, particularly the males with their prominent mandibles, which appear in the summer searching for a mate and a breeding site.

*After mating the female seeks out a suitable location to lay her eggs. This might be a rotting fence post, tree stump, log pile, or even a compost heap.

*The female lays her eggs in or near rotting wood.

*The larvae take 4-6 years to reach full size.

*During this time they feed on rotting wood.

*When fully developed, the larvae migrate to the surrounding soil where they pupate.

*After a short period the adult beetle metamorphoses and spends the winter in the soil, emerging in the following summer to mate and lay eggs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Stag Beetles

Are stag beetles and their larvae poisonous?
Definitely not! If frightened the beetles might give you a nip which may bruise but that's all. As would any pet!

Do the larvae kill trees or spread fungus around a garden?
No! The larva feed on dead wood and they don't spread any fungus around the garden.

I think I have found a stag beetle larva, how can I be sure?
There are many species of coleoptera (beetles), which have larva like that of the stag beetle. For help identifying use the Larvae guide.

I have found a stag beetle that seems to be injured, what should I do?
Stag Beetles have a very short adult life, so it is likely that they will die what ever you do. However a small shallow container such a milk bottle top with a mixture of honey and water may help.

Is it ok to keep a stag beetle as a pet?
Definitely not! The whole point of the stag beetles adult life is to mate, so by putting it in a box you are stopping this.

Can I feed stag beetles anything or put out anything to attract them?
Stag beetles may lap up honey and eat bits of fruit but they don't tend to eat as they adult life is very short. You could build a log pile to provide a perfect habitat for them.

I believe that the key to conservation is education, so if you have any questions I will be happy to try and help as best I can. E-mail