Following the discovery of the Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle Agapanthia villosoviridescens in St Helens, a plan has been produced to provdide guidance for sensitive management of this previously unknown beetle.
The life-cycle of this species is particularly sensitive to management techniques. Especially low cutting of it’s host plants during larval development.
2013 – 1 record, 15.6.2013, Eccleston Mere
2014 – 3 records from two sites. 2 individuals at Stanley Bank Meadow SSSI on 2.7.2014 and 16.7.2014, 1 at Eccleston Mere on 12.7.2014.
Following the discovery of the species at Stanley Bank Meadows national expert Dr Martin Rejzek was contacted for management advice;
As for management issues this is really an important aspect. The beetle larva tunnels in the stalks of the plant for all of its immature life. In contrast to phytoecia, A. villosoviridescens never enters the root. The pupation occurs in a stub created after girdling off the upper part of the stalk and the adult emerges from a lateral hole. The stub is about 5 to 20 cm high but this is only created very late (September) in the first year of the development. Before September the larvae can be found anywhere in the upper parts of the plant. Easily a meter above ground for example. So, if you cut the plant to a height of 8 cm in July – August you effectively destroy the insect. This is why these insects usually only survive on woodland edges or along paths where the vegetation is not cut.
For your site [Stanley Bank Meadow SSSI] I think the best way forward would be to reserve a small part with enough of infested plants and leave it uncut. It can probably be cut in the next spring but to a height of 20 – 30 cm, not lower – Dr Martin Rejzek
The full species action can be found via the following download: