One of our most beautiful beetles, the rose chafer cetonia aurata is a common sun-loving species in the New Forest (and in Britain) from May to September and beyond
It is often seen on flowers such as bramble, elderberry, gorse, hogweed, privet and rose. It is found in the Open Forest (for example, at the Reptile Centre near Lyndhurst) as well as gardens.
In the Forest woodlands you might see a flash of green speed by and if lucky, spot it landing on flowers or an old stump. They are noisy and fly in a similar manner to bumblebees. The grubs (larvae) develop in the rotting wood of old stumps or on decaying leaves and vegetable matter, developing over two to three years.
hey have a fascinating association with ants in that adults have been seen in Parkhill Inclosure, being escorted by several worker ants and lowered into the nest of Southern wood ants Formica rufa, whilst the main army of ants is tearing other insects apart for food. It is presumed the larvae help keep the nest clean, hence they are tolerated.
Maintaining habitat for insects which are associated with deadwood is important. Leaving a stump in the garden might help beneficial beetles such as Rose chafers brighten up our lives. The larvae are the equivalent of earth worms and help to make good compost.
Photos: Paul D. Brock