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The beetle bank concept was developed by The Game and Wildlife Trust and the University of Southampton in southern England in the 1980s. The idea arose from the continuing loss of hedgerows from the English countryside and with that, the reduced availability of overwintering sites for many of the beneficial beetles which live in those field boundaries during winter and immigrate into the crop in spring. Not only has the number of hedgerows declined but herbicides drifting into the hedge base kill the perennial grass cocksfoot, which provided the necessary shelter. Beetle banks effectively reconstructed those hedge bases and comprise a ridge across fields on which cocksfoot seed was sown. Many of these beetles, mainly in the ground beetle and rove beetle families can be voracious predators of aphids on cereals. There is good evidence that when these insects emigrate from beetle banks, they do indeed reduce aphid populations. Subsequently, other valuable “nature’s services” became associated with these banks, these included high populations of the harvest mouse, numbers of which have declined in the English countryside and the grey partridge, also now relatively rare, used the banks for nest sites.

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