Has anyone any ideas on this beetle. It appears to be the so-called Tanbark Beetle Phymatodes testaceus but I am quite prepared to be shot down on this. How else do you learn! It is one of the Longhorn Beetles and is apparently of local distribution in southern England, so I'm not sure of its status in Essex. The swollen femora seem to be distinctive. It was found by Barry Hough, the warden of the Backwarden EWT reserve in his garden log pile at Ingatestone, although most of the logs originated from Danbury.
Mary : I've had a wonderful crop of slugs in my garden this spring! There does not seem to be any viable alternative to the blue pellets for controlling them - which I refuse to use - but I have heard that Marshall's have produced a biological control using nematode worms! My only control method is beer traps and I even feel a bit guilty using these as they seem to attract slugs from miles around, most of which had no intention of attacking my runner beans anyway! Like you, I have had a good crop of early potatoes - although I always plant them too close together due to lack of space - but some of the leaf vegetables such as Spinach and Chard are inclined to bolt in this wet weather while the Mange Tout is producing a hell of a lot of leaves but very few flowers as yet.