Spring-active dung beetles

Spring-active dung beetles for southern Australia

One of the major gaps in the seasonal distribution of introduced dung beetles across southern Australia is the absence of species that are active in spring. As a consequence, unburied spring dung locks up nutrients that could benefit pasture production and the environment (e.g. water quality) and allows spring breeding of the pestilent bush fly in numbers of regions of southern Australia.

In 2012 a CSIRO–MLA program introduced two European spring-active dung beetles to the quarantine laboratories in Canberra, where they were reared and then released to field locations in WA and NSW and to Dung Beetle Solutions in South Australia. The predicted distributions of these two species across southern Australia is presented in the maps on the right (images courtesy of MLA).

In SA, in association with Creation Care (an environmental services company), both species have been reared in field cages since 2014 and numerous releases of Onthophagus vacca have now occurred across southern Australia.

Spring beetle rearing tent, Victoria

Spring beetle rearing tent, Victoria

workshoppers in Victoria October 2017

Spring beetle workshoppers in Victoria October 2017

The beetles are being reared by Creation Care and a limited supply of both species is currently available. They are usually supplied in ‘on-farm nurseries’ in which a small number of beetles are put into a cage and bred there for future release on the farm.

If you have property in southern Australia and moderate to large numbers of cattle, sheep or horses, please register your interest in an on-farm nursery of spring-active beetles by contacting Greg Dalton at Creation Care:  Call: (08) 8536 3075 |  Email: info@creationcare.com.au.