Between June and July, wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) is asking for people to record sightings of stag beetles on six summer evenings, as part of an ongoing European study into these impressive yet endangered beetles.

Taking part in the European Stag Beetle Monitoring Network is easy. All volunteers need to do is walk 500 metres, six times between June and July on warm, summer evenings, counting and recording any stag beetles they see via the organisation's website.

Stag beetles are Britain’s largest land beetle with males reaching up to 7.5cm in size. They are also one of the most spectacular looking insects, with a males’ huge mandibles (antler-like jaws) making them easy to spot. Despite their appearance, stag beetles are harmless if left alone, and from mid-to-late-May are more likely to be seen as warmer evenings draw them above ground to find a mate and reproduce.

Laura Bower, conservation officer at PTES, said: “Loss of habitat and lack of dead or decaying wood are just two of the reasons why stag beetles need our help. Stag beetles are completely reliant on dead wood (either partially or completely buried) and are part of the process of recycling nutrients back into the soil, making them a very important part of the ecosystem. They mainly live in Britain’s gardens, parks, woodland edges and traditional orchards, and were once widespread throughout Europe. We hope that by taking part in this European survey, PTES’ annual Great Stag Hunt, and by making gardens stag beetle friendly, the public can help reverse the decline of this iconic insect.”

Anyone with a garden can help by making their green spaces a stag beetle haven.

1. Create a log pile

One of the major problems facing stag beetles is a lack of rotting wood to lay eggs in or near, and for larvae to feed on. By creating a log pile (or a log pyramid, if you fancy a challenge), you can provide stag beetles with habitat for the future. Log piles are also great habitat for other invertebrates and they in turn provide food for hedgehogs and birds.

2. Leave dead wood in your garden

Leave old stumps and dead wood alone, as these provide the perfect habitat and also a food supply. If you want to make the stumps more attractive try growing a climbing plant such as clematis up it.

3. Reduce dangers

Be vigilant when mowing your lawn and be alert for predators; try and scare away magpies and keep your own pets indoors during warm evenings when stag beetles are flying. Also, make sure any open water has an exit point, and if you see a dead-looking beetle in water, please take it out – they often revive!

4. Record your sightings: Let PTES know where you’ve spotted a stag beetle via the Great Stag Hunt! Sightings are key to finding out where populations are thriving, in need of help, or non-existent.