The noble chafer (Gnorimus nobilis) is a striking bronzy-green beetle which spends much of its life cycle inside hollow trees and is associated with old orchards in England.
It is currently known from Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Kent and Oxfordshire in orchards or hedgerow fruit trees and from The New Forest where it is presumed to inhabit veteran oak trees.
The adult beetle is about 2cm long and has metallic green wing cases which can have a bronze, gold or even violet sheen in different lights. They emerge in early summer and live for about 4-6 weeks and are most commonly seen on visiting flowers such as hogweed, elder and meadowsweet.
The white, C-shaped larvae live for 2-3 years inside hollow trunks feeding on the decaying wood. They produce characteristic droppings (frass) which are a good indicator of noble chafer presence.
Ensure the continued presence of decaying wood within live trees. This may require a combination of retaining dead wood, prolonging the life of old trees and planting new ones in gaps. Pruning can prolong the life of such trees but should be undertaken with care so as not to destroy noble chafer habitat. Allowing clumps of umbellifers such as hogweed to grow is also important.
People's Trust for Endangered Species - lead partner for the Noble Chafer Species Action Plan
Image: PTES/Matt Smith