‘Beetlemania’ as rare bugs flourish in Lewes


Forget John, Paul, George and Ringo – Beetlemania has
arrived in Lewes, says the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Community Wildlife Officer Michael Blencowe says the county town is a hotspot for the most glamorous beetle in Britain.

“The rose chafer is one seriously gorgeous insect,” he said. “Each one looks like it’s been designed, carefully crafted, coated in the most dazzling metallic green and hand polished. How can I put it? – the rose chafer looks expensive.”

Writing in the Trust’s magazine Wildlife, Mr Blencowe said: “Their resmblance to Egyptian scarabs brings the romance of the River Nile to your compost heap – a great place for their C-shaped larvae to develop.”

He said Lewes is the best place in the county to find this uncommon insect. The only other area which claims to be rose chafer hotspot is Arundel.

The adult rose chafers live for just a few weeks. They are powerful flyers with dark, smoky wings extending from under their emerald elytra (wing cases).

They may be beautiful, but these ‘Fabergé’ bugs are not the most graceful in the air and they are apt to crash into things. Watch out for them during June, July and August.

Mr Blencowe continued: “If you want further proof that beetles love Lewes Peter Hodge, one of Britain’s top coleopterists [beetle experts] noticed an intriguing little black beetles last year. He carefully took it home and when he examined the beast under his microscope he realised it was the click beetle Melanotus Punctolineatus – the first one to be recorded in Sussex – making it the 3,000th beetle recorded in the county.

Mr Blencowe said that while the little beetle may be historic, it wasn’t much to look at.

“Most of the other 2,999 Sussex beetles aren’t going to win Miss Beetle Beauty contests either.”