Burying Beetle

Nicrophorus vespillo
Also known as Sexton Beetle

Burying beetle
Burying beetle [Credit: gailhampshire]
Burying beetle
Burying beetle [Credit: gailhampshire]

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Host Plants:

Where Found:

Generally in Northern Europe


Burying beetles are often referred to as the undertakers of the animal world, since they search for dead animals and then bury them up to 60cm below ground. The adult female lays eggs on the dead body, and these hatch into larvae that then feed on the decaying corpse. The 3cm-long adult beetles have a flattened appearance and are easily recognized by the brightly coloured bands of orangey-red across their backs and bright orange blobs on the end of their antennae.

Beneficial Because:

Burying beetles remove decomposing dead animals such as mice and small birds from the soil surface by burying them underground. As well as providing the essential food source for their larvae, it restricts the spread of any diseases from the corpse. The decaying bodies also contribute to improving the surrounding soil condition.

Food and Habitat:

Burying beetle larvae feed on the decaying corpses of small dead animals that have been buried by the parent beetles. They are widespread in gardens, woods, on farms, in coastal habitats and in grassland.

Attracting More:

Logs, compost heaps and rock piles will all provide shelter and safe havens to help attract burying beetles into a garden.

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