Monday, 13 July 2015

Wanted: people interested in recording longhorn beetles

Longhorn beetles
Your chance to get up close to longhorn beetles
(photo: dluogs via Flickr creative commons)

Longhorn beetles (members of the Cerambycidae family of beetles) are a fascinating group of beetles. They are often large, impressive (especially with their long antennae) and many species are of conservation concern because of their dependence on woodland. Some of the species visit flowers as adults, but many species are hard to find because they live as larvae in wood and the adults are quite inconspicuous.

A trial to record longhorn beetles with pheromone lures

We are developing methods of recording longhorn beetles with pheromone lures attracting them to live traps. (One of our motivations is developing a network of recorders for Asian longhorn beetle - more of that below.) We need about 10 volunteers to take part in trials of the lures this summer and who will commit to recording longhorn beetles and providing us with results.

Interested in volunteering?


Please contact Michael Pocock as soon as possible if you are interested in taking part with a brief description of (1) your site of interest, (2) whether landowner permission has been granted or coudl be obtained and (3) your availability this summer. Only a limited number of people can participate in 2015. Please see the note at the bottom of this page about Asian Longhorn Beetle before volunteering.


If you are interested in volunteering, you will need:

  • a woodland site where you can gain permission to live-trap longhorn beetles.
  • the ability to check the traps at least twice per week, preferably every other day for about a month.
  • the ability to photograph beetles in the traps, and try to identify them.
  • commitment to submit all the data collected during the trial.

The benefits of taking part are:

  • we will provide you with all the equipment needed.
  • you will make a contribution to knowledge of longhorn beetles in Britain, and will be able to make records of this fascinating group of insects.
  • you will make a contribution to the development of lures as a method to record longhorn beetles

The methodology will involve:

A longhorn beetle pheremone trap in position
  • finding a woodland site (ideally a woodland clearing or ride in deciduous or mixed woodland) which you will be able to visit regularly during the summer. 
  • gaining permission from the landowner (see the note about Asian longhorn beetle below; also additional permission will need to be gained if the site is a SSSI)
  • receiving the equipment from us through the post
  • hang the trap, lure and collecting jar from a convenient branch of a tree (about head height) along a woodland ride or clearing edge where it is unlikely to be disturbed by passers-by
  • traps need to be in position for a month from the end of July to the end of August, and during that period you will need to visit the trap regularly (ideally daily, and at least twice a week)
  • empty out any longhorn beetles collected, photograph and identify them, and then mark them (with a dot from a marker pen) before release
  • collect up all the equipment at the end of the summer and return to us
We will use the results of this trial to consider whether these lures could be used as an effective way to record longhron beetles and to design a suitable protocol.

An important note about Asian longhorn beetle

The Asian longhorn beetle (ALB) is a destructive pest that has occasionally been introduced to the UK and on one occasion it established a population which has since been eradicated. ALB is established in North America, where it has damaged many species of hardwood trees. If ALB is present, it is really important to detect it as soon as possible, which is why David Hall (Natural Resources Institute) is developing these lures. The byproduct of using these lures is that it supports the recording of our native longhorn beetles as well, which is of interest to Michael Pocock (Biological Records Centre).

It is extremely unlikely that Asian longhorn beetle will be recorded by anyone taking part in the trial. However, if ALB is found during this trial then the recorder has a legal obligation to report it to the Forestry Commission e.g. via TreeAlert. The site would be re-surveyed to see if the species is present there or nearby. If ALB is found to be established, eradication could be attempted, which coudl have a negative impact on the site. It is essential that the landowner understands this and gives consent to the recording.  However, we re-iterate that from our current knowledge it is extremely unlikely that ALB will be found during this trial, although if it was then early detection and eradication is vital to stopping ALB from becoming established in the UK.


This trial is being run by:
It is being funded by Early Detection project of the LWEC Tree Health Initiative.

For further information please email Michael Pocock.


More about longhorn beetle recording

Individual records of identified longhorn beetles can be submitted through iRecord, for passing on to the Cerambycidae recording scheme. However, if the longhorn beetle has not been specifically identitied, we recommend that photos for identification are submitted to iSpot for a community of experts to help with the identification before submitting to iRecord.

Other links about longhorn beetles

For more information see:

About this website

This is the blog of the Conker Tree Science project. Even if you do not take part in the longhorn beetle pheromone trial, you are very welcome to take part in Conker Tree Science and submit records of the horse-chestnut leaf-miner. An app to collect records of the leaf-miner will be launched in the next couple of weeks.

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