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Importation of 2 winter-spring active dung beetles for southern Australia
Tunnelling and burial of dung by dung beetles improves water penetration, soil aeration, and movement of nutrients to the root zone, resulting in improved soil health and pasture growth. The lack of dung beetles in late winter and early spring represents an annual loss of 17-25% of that benefit in the main cattle grazing areas of temperate Australia. Two European dung beetle species, Onthophagus vacca and Bubas bubalus, were imported to fill that gap.
Refinements to rearing methods were investigated to eliminate causes of mortality and premature adult death, reduce the generation time to allow extra generations to be reared before release, and synchronise the beetles' life stage with the season at time of release. Temperature, photoperiod and other conditions were altered as more was learned about the success of different rearing methods.
Beetles were released in 2014 at five sites across southern Australia. Some were used by Dr Doube (Dung Beetle Solutions) to commence a field rearing program at three sites in SA. It is likely that beetles will be recovered within in 3-5 years and be present in sufficient numbers for collection and redistribution in a decade.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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