From Wildlife Extra:
Miniature cottages prove the ideal nurseries for rare beetles
A special design of miniature ‘beetle cottage’ is helping to promote the survival of one of the UK’s rarest beetles.
For the first time a Scarlet Malachite Beetle (Malachius aeneus) has emerged from a larvae found in one of these special cottages this summer.
The small but handsome beetle is not only incredibly rare, it is rather mysterious.
The reason for its decline is not known, but is thought to be caused by general habitat loss and intensive farming practices.
The adult beetles appear at the beginning of end of April/May, feeding on flowers in meadows and overgrown hedgerows, often in the vicinity of thatched/timbered cottages during the summer months.
As this traditional roofing material is becoming increasingly uncommon, conservation charity Buglife set out to establish substitute nesting sites in key areas in Essex to see if these amazing bugs would take up residence.
And sure enough, they have!
Vicky Kindemba, Buglife’s Conservation Delivery Manager, says: “The innovative use of cottage nurseries could help us to ensure the survival of this mesmerising species.
“Hopefully we can now help and inspire people to build more cottages in important meadows for the beetle.”
The project was funded by Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust and run in collaboration with natural history company Lifeforms, that co-designed the cottages with Buglife.
Ian Hughes of Lifeforms, and a Scarlet Malachite expert, says: “This exciting news confirms that the cottages work!
“The Scarlet Malachite Beetle is in desperate need of our help to ensure its survival and this is an important first step in understanding how we can make this happen.”
This success gives entomologists a solid foundation to build upon to help understanding of the beetle’s fascinating ecology.