Ginger Helps Conserve The Stag Beetle

The discovery of the stag beetles’ love of ginger could be a major factor in developing our understanding of the largest terrestrial insect in the UK.

Scientists from Royal Holloway at the University of London and the University of York are conducting research to determine the size of the stag beetle population. A key element of this research involves the monitoring of local beetle communities.

A problem with previous research has been the inability to monitor stag beetles reliably. Fortunately, the team discovered that ginger is irresistible to adult stag beetles after testing the effectiveness of a range of items including tomatoes, cherries, bananas, strawberries, wine and beer. Ginger contains large amounts of alpha copaene, a compound used by scent manufacturers for its woody aroma and known to attract insects that live in dead and decaying wood.

A ginger-baited aerial trap is now providing accurate information about a species listed on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

The research, published in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity, has been funded by the British Ecological Society, the Forestry Commission, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the Suffolk Naturalists’ Society.

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