I live near the border of the London Borough of Croydon, London Borough of Bromley, Kent and Surrey. My house was built in 1968 of 'modern' style. Woodland is to the front and rear of the property - mostly deciduous trees.
Over half-a-dozen of these have appeared in the front of the house (west facing) over the last few weeks - mostly in the evenings.
They are about 20mm or so long (one was somewhat smaller) and as beetles go, seem a little stupid - they either fly around manically, move about randomly making annoying rustling noises or just stay stock still with no pattern as to what they are going to do next.
They seem to be some sort of longhorn beetle and I first wondered if they might be the dreaded (old-)house borer or house longhorn beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus), but I'm too far round London from their Surrey homeland here in the UK and the shape/colour/size isn't quite right. I can't find anything like this in any of my insect books or on line.
Can anyone identify them please? Should I be worried? Are these slowly eating my floorboards/floor joists/furniture and I haven't seen the problem yet or are they just blundering in from outside? What should I do with them other than catch them and fling them out the window?
I've not seen anything like these before and I've lived here since 1986.
I am in two minds...
If the head-thorax was a slightly different shape, I'd say it was a wood tiger beetle, Cicindela sylvatica (also called heath tiger beetle).
You'll see from that web page that this species is of interest; to quote:
"The beetle has been given priority status under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) and has been included in the English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. The beetle population has declined in England by 65% over 40 years."
There are five British tiger beetles; they are at the top of the list here
More photos of related species here
As explained on these pages, the taxonomy for tiger beetles is in a state of flux, many subgenera and subspecies being recognized or not depending on the authority consulted:
...But because of that head-thorax shape, it might be something else.
Other opinions needed...!
This is a bit of a puzzle. It's definitely a longhorn, looks like one of the Clytini, but in this country that restricts you to 2 species which are black with yellow bars, one being the well-known wasp beetle (Clytus arietis) which is very abundant this year. From the colour I would suggest Xylotrechus or Chlorophorus but neither of these have UK species - they are ocasional imports. They don't look like Hylotrupes.
I think you need to get hold of a few of these and get them to someone who knows. I'd be happy to have a look at them if you want to send them to me. Always fun to look at something unusual!
I think I've scored a spectacular own goal.
Mr Washington's comment about 'occasional imports' set me thinking. Most of the timber in the house is thank which it is built from, objects of varying ages (some dating back to Victorian times) or modern stuff from IKEA or fresh wood stocks from the likes of Wickes and B&Q. All except two items... One is a small stock of 'american turkey oak' branches cut down by a friend of mine which is slowly drying out - but it was grown locally so it eliminates itself. The other item was a pice of olive wood given to me by a Greek wood turner which I posted back to myself last summer. This too was sitting in a corner slowly turning from rock hard (a firend on the Greek island of Skiathos from whence it came) tried sawing it in two to make posting easier. After 15 minutes work with a good saw he had made virtually no impression on it. The slice above caused my big electric chop saw to howl in protest - this stuff is mega-tough. Mega-tough it might be to modern wood-working tools, but the mystery beetles have made short work of it and my lovely piece of olive wood looks like a Swiss cheese and I assume is only fit for scrap.What are their little jaws made of - tungsten carbide?
Now it is known that the beetle comes from Skiathos in Greece might make indentificaion easier, but several questions arise.
Have I a created a bio-diveristy disaster where-by Greek beetles are now going to breed and multiply and eat their way through all the wood of Croydon and beyond? If so, what do I do about it? Or are they only going to be partial to olive wood and so be a self-limiting problem? What should I do with the lump of olive wood? It a former age, my late father used to dispose of any wood with woodworm in it by soaking it in kerosene and adding this to the bonfire - sadly I live in a flat and this rather drastic action isn't going to be practical.
On a slightly more positive note one of the beetles is now residing in the bottom of an old mustard jar doing very little under half-inch of industrial alcohol. How would i pass on a soggy bottle for identification - drain it off and place it in another container? To whence do I send it?
Thanks in advance for further help.