Give beetles a Bonfire Night boost

Ahead of the 5th November, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts are asking people to be careful about sourcing wood from their gardens for bonfires in an effort to help beetles.

As part of this year’s Wild About Gardens campaign, the two charities are asking gardeners to create dead hedges, beetle buckets and wood piles to help the 100’s of species of beetle associated with dead wood found in UK gardens, many of which are in decline due to loss of habitats, use of pesticides and climate change.
Those planning a bonfire this weekend are asked to avoid using deadwood from the garden, as it provides an important habitat for beetles, some of which burrow deep into the wood and so are not visible. This includes the larvae of the attractive yellow and black spotted longhorn beetle.
People are also being encouraged to check bonfires for hedgehogs. It is good practice to build a fire on the day you light it, and not to build fires on piles of leaves as hedgehogs may be hiding underneath.
RHS Principal Entomologist Andrew Salisbury said:  

“If you are planning on lighting a bonfire this year, try to think about how you can minimise the impact on beetles. Or better yet, take steps to actively encourage them into your garden.

“Many people know to check their bonfire for hedgehogs, and rightly so, but log piles that have been standing for any length of time are likely to be home to wood-boring larvae of colourful beetles such as the spotted longhorn.

“Beetles are great pollinators and decomposers, but many species are struggling due to habitat loss, climate change and pesticides.

“Alternatively, you can put your logs to use in other ways, which can be just as fun. Building a dead hedge or beetle bucket is a family friendly activity that will support beetles and encourage wildlife into gardens.”
Since it launched in April, more than 1,100 people have created habitats for beetles in gardens right across the UK.
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Notes to editors

For further information or for images, please contact Chris Banks, Press Officer, Communities and Education: [email protected].

A selection of images can be found here:

Wild About Gardens
The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS set up Wild About Gardens in 2009. It is an annual celebration of wildlife gardening and provides a focus to encourage people to use their gardens and take action to help support wildlife. Over the past 50 years we've seen declines in two thirds of the UK’s plant and animal species, for a range of reasons, including loss of habitat. Many of our common garden species - hedgehogs, house sparrows, starlings and common frogs, for example – are increasingly endangered. Gardens have enormous potential to act as mini-nature reserves.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and growing RHS Garden Bridgewater, our fifth RHS garden which opened in 2021.

For more information visit
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts believe that people need nature and it needs us. We are here to make the world wilder and to make nature part of everyone’s lives. We are a grassroots movement of 46 charities with more than 850,000 members and 38,000 volunteers. No matter where you are in the UK, there is a Wildlife Trust inspiring people and saving, protecting and standing up for the natural world. With the support of our members, we care for and restore special places for nature on land and run marine conservation projects and collect vital data on the state of our seas. Every Wildlife Trust works within its local community to inspire people to create a wilder future – from advising thousands of landowners on how to manage their land to benefit wildlife, to connecting hundreds of thousands of school children with nature every year.  

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.