Benefits of using dung beetles

Dung beetle and worms. Photo credit: Lucy Hyde

Dung beetles can improve soil condition on your property. Photo credit: Lucy Hyde

Sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s architects’, dung beetles are a desirable part of a healthy landscape and can significantly improve the overall health of your soil.

They benefit your property by breaking down organic material, transporting nutrients from the surface to the subsoil, improving water infiltration and reducing runoff.

Dung beetles also reduce flies and odours by physically removing dung from the soil surface. This also helps to control dung-borne parasites.

Flowing on from the benefits of dung beetles to your soil are broader catchment-wide improvements in water quality.

If you’re thinking about using dung beetles, it’s worth considering how many cattle would be needed to support a viable dung beetle population. This factsheet by Professor Bernard Doube will give you some indication.

Buying dung beetles

Please contact your local Natural Resources Centre for more information on using and purchasing dung beetles.

Find out more

See this series of short videos presented by dung beetle expert Bernard Doube about:

  • how dung beetles benefit the soil
  • their behaviour
  • their use and management on properties
  • how to obtain beetles for your property.

An introduction to dung beetles

This first in a series of three videos explains the importance of dung beetles in pastures. Adelaide dung beetle expert and breeder Bernard Doube explains how animal dung impacts pastures: preventing grass growth, fouling pastures and watercourses and spreading disease. We learn about the species of dung beetles which have been established in Australia, their seasonal activity, and the many benefits they bring to pasture by improving soil nutrient levels, water permeability and grass growth (6 min 35 sec).

Establishing your dung beetle population

How and when to introduce dung beetles to a property. Types of soil which are favourable for dung beetles, numbers needed to establish on a property. Purchasing, storing, releasing and monitoring dung beetles (6 min 59 sec).

Managing threats to your dung beetle population

Threats to dung beetles, including predators, climate, chemicals. Monitoring dung beetles on your property, timing of chemical treatments for livestock and pastures to minimise the impact on dung beetles (4 min 40 sec).

 

Funding partners

Australian Government, National Landcare Program, Regional Landcare Facilitator logos

This project is supported by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges