HAMPSHIRE residents are being urged to give a helping hand to wildlife.

Gardeners across the county are being called upon to create habitats for insects which are a "vital part of every healthy garden".

Beetles have been deemed the unsung heroes of the garden.

They bugs have been praised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts, as they launch 2021’s Wild About Gardens campaign.

According to the two charities, providing a patch for beetles, including ladybirds, ground beetles and rose chafers, is a great way to encourage balance in the garden and boost biodiversity.

Many species are reportedly under threat from habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change.

The UK has more than 4,000 beetle species and, although a handful may eat plants, many are predators, pollinators and decomposers, feeding both the soil and larger garden visitors such as birds and hedgehogs.

Ladybirds help gardeners by eating aphids while some ground beetles feed on vine weevil grubs and water beetles keep mosquito larvae under control in ponds.

The‘Bring back our beetles’ campaign includes ideas for making Hampshire gardens for "beetle friendly".

Tips include building a beetle bank – adding a mound of soil, particularly in flat gardens, adds both shady and sunny habitat and provides shelter for lots of invertebrates.

A "dead hedge", or piles of branches and twigs can be used to beetles as they rot away

Alternatively, gardeners can create a "beetle bucket" by filling a bucket with rotting wood and leaves makes a home for all sorts of beetles and other insects

Log and rock piles, plenty of pollen-rich flowers and not cutting back dead plant stems until late winter are other good ways to attract beetles and other wildlife.

Helen Bostock, Senior Horticultural Advisor at the RHS saids: “Beetles are really cool. They come in so many shapes, sizes and colours and play lots of different roles in garden life – nibblers, pest controllers, pollinators, recyclers, and even undertakers. Like so much of our wildlife, they are under threat so we hope by shining a spotlight on them people will really start to appreciate and encourage beetles in their gardens.”