As cereal fields have got bigger the centres of crops are now often remote from the field boundaries. One consequence of this is that insects like ground beetles, which over winter in hedgerows and fence-lines, are no longer able to spread into the centre of the crop. Thus when pests like cereal aphid and wheat blossom midge invade in early summer there are no predatory beetles around to prevent an outbreak, and the farmer is forced to use an insecticide.
In collaboration with the University of Southampton we invented beetle banks as a way of providing a habitat for ground beetles right across the middle of big fields with minimal disruption to the farming.
The tussocky grass and raised bank allow very large numbers of predatory ground beetles to become establshed. Farmers who maintain beetle banks rarely need to use a summer insecticide.
ELS option EF 7 beetle banks provide good nesting cover for gamebirds and, when planted with long stemmed grasses like cocksfoot, have proved to be a perfect habitat for harvest mice.
For more advice about beetle banks please contact our advisory team or read our advice and construction information about beetle banks.