The contribution of beetle banks to farmland biodiversity

  • Published source details Thomas S.R., Goulson D. & Holland J.M. (2000) The contribution of beetle banks to farmland biodiversity. Aspects of Applied Biology, 62, 31-38.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Farmland Conservation

Create beetle banks

Action Link
Natural Pest Control
  1. Create beetle banks

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in the two winters of 1997-1999 and summer 1999 on five farm estates in the UK (Thomas et al. 2000) found different patterns of density and diversity for ground beetles (Carabidae), rove beetles (Staphylinidae) and spiders (Araneae) between five pairs of beetle banks and field margins in two consecutive winters. Rove beetle diversity was lower in beetle banks than in field margins in both winters, but density in beetle banks increased significantly between winters. There were no significant effects on ground beetles. The overall catch of chick-food invertebrates was lower in 22 beetle banks than in paired field margins on five farm estates, but the abundance of key prey groups was similar. There was no difference in grasshopper and bushcricket (Orthoptera) species richness between the two habitats (on average 1.4 species in beetle banks, 1.8 in field margins), but older beetle banks held higher abundances of grasshoppers and bushcrickets. Both abundance and species richness of butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) was significantly lower in beetle banks than in field margins in June, July and August, but both habitats peaked in July. Destructive turf samples were collected randomly from the two habitats to assess predatory invertebrates. Chick-food invertebrates and grasshoppers and bushcrickets were sampled through sweep-netting and butterflies and moths through standard transect walks. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Thomas 2001, Thomas et al. 2001, Thomas 2002, Thomas et al. 2002).


  2. Create beetle banks

    A paired, replicated, controlled study in winters 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 and summer 1999 on five farms in the UK (Thomas et al. 2000) found fewer rove beetles (Staphylinidae) on beetle banks (approximately 320-480 individuals/m²) than in field margins (560-680 individuals) in both winters, however ground beetle (Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) numbers were similar between beetle banks (200-240 ground beetles/m² and 360-440 spiders/m²) and field margins (200-280 ground beetles/m² and 400-500 spiders/m²). Ground beetle and spider diversity was slightly higher in beetle banks than field margins and rove beetle diversity was higher in field margins. Of the other invertebrates sampled (not specifically listed as natural enemies or pests), soldier beetles (Cantharidae), typical bugs (Heteroptera), other Auchenorrhyncha (excluding leafhoppers (Cicadellidae), planthoppers (Delphacidae) and bugs (Hemiptera)), other spiders, small flies (Diptera) and ants (Formicidae) were significantly more abundant on field margins than beetle banks. Total invertebrate abundance was also higher on field margins than beetle banks (averaging 64.7 vs. 46.7 invertebrates/sweep net). Predatory invertebrates were sampled on five beetle banks in winter 1997-1998 and 1998-1999. Other invertebrates were sampled on 22 beetle banks on five farms in summer 1999. Banks were paired with a neighbouring field margin. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as Thomas 2001 and Thomas 2002.

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