In 20 years of beetling, I have done most of it in April, May, June, July and August. In fact, I think of this as “the field season”. And if I count up the number of beetle records I’ve made by month, May, June, July and August are the top months.
So, for beetle survey work, when you want to maximise the number of records you can make for each day’s fieldwork, May, June, July and August are the best months, especially May.
But there’s more to beetling than survey work. What would be the best time of year for me to go out and get a beetle tick? Over the 20 years, most of my ticks have come from May, June and July. But that’s largely thanks to a massive amount of recording in those months.
Surprisingly, when I’ve gone beetling in October, November, December and January it’s been much better for ticks. And August has been the worst month. A beetle found in November is over three times more likely to be a tick for me than one found in August!
Compared to most other branches of entomology, one of the great things about being a coleopterist is that it is a genuinely year-round activity. Admittedly, winter beetling tends to be pretty grubby work: tussocking, and sieving through compost heaps, manure, wood-chip piles and flood debris. But I’m obviously going to have to man up and do a lot more of that sort of beetling in my next 20 years as a coleopterist.