This beetle was once found in Dorset, but has not been seen there since the 1920s. It has also been lost from the East Anglian coast, where it was last seen in the 1930s. At present, this species is known only from a few sites in west Norfolk and west Suffolk. Recent surveys discovered new sites, bringing the total number to 5 across both counties.
Harpalus froelichi inhabits the margins of agricultural fields, where it is found in sandy soils; it is also known to live in coastal sand dunes.
Classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain. Factors thought to be responsible for the decline of this species include the use of herbicides and seed-cleaning techniques, as well as the loss of suitable habitat, often as a result of agricultural intensification.