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BEETLES SAVED.. BY CIDER.

Byline: By MIKE SWAIN

THE upsurge in cider drinking could have an unexpected result - the salvation of rare insects.

And Irish firm Magners is to thank as it is behind most of the tipple's rise in popularity.

For decades traditional orchards, which are the natural habitat of the noble chafer beetle, or gnorimus nobilis, have been vanishing with acres pulled up to make way for other farming or housing.

The noble chafer is a metallic bronzy green beetle which is about 2cm long and feeds on nectar from open flowers in July and August.

Its grubs live inside old decaying fruit trees in traditional orchards where they take two years to develop into adult beetles.

Without these habitats the grubs cannot survive.

As old orchards have become progressively more and more uneconomic they've been grubbed up to make way for more productive use of th

The noble chafer beetle makes its home in cherry, apple and plum trees but in recent years its numbers have been in sharp decline.

But conservationists say the growing needs of companies Magners, which grows in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and Bulmers, based in Hereford, for more orchards to expand their businesses could stop the beetle from dying out.

Noble chafers are now classified as vulnerable throughout the UK, which means that it is facing a very high risk of extinction.

But the People's Trust for Endangered Species, has launched a campaign to help traditional orchards.

Anita Burrough, orchard officer for PTES, said: "Anything that is going to keep the orchard habitat alive and well is going to have a positive affect not just on the noble chafer but on other wildlife."

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 6

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 13, 2007
Words:286
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