AB3 Beetle Banks
A mix of fine-leaved and tussock-forming grasses for use on raised banks to provide nesting and foraging habitats for bumblebees, small mammals, farmland birds and insects. Suitable for most soil types but particularly where a free-draining raised bank can be formed.
Beetle banks provide nesting and foraging habitats for bumblebees, small mammals, farmland birds and insects. Successful beetle banks are made from a raised grass bank with dense tussocky cover so they provide warm and dry areas for foraging and nesting during the spring and summer. They can also attract useful insects which feed on crop pests.
AB3 Beetle banks are suitable for most soil types but particularly where a free-draining raised bank can be formed.
Example AB3 Beetle bank mix
• Strong creeping Red Fescue
• Tall Fescue
AB3 Beetle banks are eligible for a payment of £573 per hectare under the Countryside Stewardship Mid and Higher Tier agreements on arable land or temporary grassland.
Find out more:
DEFRA Countryside Stewardship grants
How to create a successful AB3 Beetle bank
• Choose areas in larger fields spread across the farm
• Plough in two directions towards each furrow to create the required size
• Follow with a shallow cultivation to produce a firm, fine seedbed
• Sow a mixture of fine-leaved grasses and tussock-forming varieties
• Sow by broadcasting to keep the moisture in the soil
• Cut several times during the first summer to help it establish but avoid cutting when the bank is wet to prevent soil compaction.
1. Create or maintain an earth ridge, 3m to 5m wide and at least 0.4m high
2. Leave 25m wide gaps at each end of the ridge to allow machinery access
3. Establish or maintain a tussocky grass mixture in year 1 of the agreement
4. After year 1, only cut the established mixture to control woody growth and suckering species
5. Always cut after 1st August to protect insects and nesting mammals or birds
6. Do not apply any lime, fertilisers or manures
7. Do not use any pesticides, except for herbicides to weed-wipe or spot-treat in the control of injurious weeds, invasive non-natives, nettles or bracken
8. Keep records of all field operations including associated invoices
9. Sign the declaration to confirm no activities prohibited by the option requirements have been carried out