THE NEW BEETLES IN LENNON'S HOUSE

By Stuart Winter
LONG after his music has faded, John Lennon’s old house is still buzzing to the sound of The Beatles… or rather beetles.

Yards from the bedroom where the budding songwriter practised under a poster of his hero Elvis, there’s a whole lot of rustling going on.

This time, the noise is being made by scurrying insects that have turned the famous semi where Lennon was raised by his beloved Aunt Mimi into a flourishing wildlife refuge.

Scientists discovered a fascinating array of creatures last week during a biodiversity audit at the property given to the National Trust by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono in 2002.

While the Liverpool semi, named Mendips, has become a national monument with a blue plaque, few of the thousands of visitors each year realise there is a fabulous array of beetles flourishing in its gardens.

To the rear, the 100ft garden is awash with apple trees and holly, laurel and rhododendron bushes which are host to five different types of bee, speckled wood butterflies, three species of ladybird and bullfinches and goldfinches.

John was raised by his Aunt Mimi

And a tiny wood mouse has taken up residency in the compost heap.

But it was the discovery of so many real beetles that made National Trust ecologist Peter Brash’s biodiversity audit so poignant.

Peter, 38, was born the day after The Beatles officially split but Lennon has always been a hero to him.

He said: “It was a real privilege to go to the house and step back in time and see the rooms how they were.

“The garden is not particularly large but the survey revealed three different types of ground beetle, rove beetles, ladybirds and lots of garden chafers [maybug beetles].

“I also came across a wasp beetle, a striking insect that is yellow and black. They love dead wood and there is a dead cherry tree which is a wonderful wildlife resource.

“I don’t know if John Lennon was ever aware of what creatures existed in the garden. I think he was more into his music and girls. The Beatles sang Blackbird and Rocky Raccoon on the White Album but as far as I know there were never any songs about speckled wood butterflies.”

Lennon’s parents separated in 1945. He was to live with Aunt Mimi for the next 18 years.

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