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15 November, 2021

Landcare releases dung beetles

Over 6000 dung beetles were released in the Clifton area by Clifton Landcare Group last week.

Simon Gore releasing dung beetles.

Randolf Olsen, Clive Strong, Simon Gore and Edwin Metzroth were on hand to release the dung beetles.

Dung beetles remove cow dung, which can fowl waterways and dams leading to toxic algal blooms as well as creating tank pasture and fertile breeding sites for pests and parasites.

They mitigate the potential damage caused due to cow dung  by tunnelling it under the ground or rolling it away in balls, which is then buried underground.

The project was jointly funded by Clifton Landcare, landholders and a TRC environmental grant.

Each colony comprised over 2000 young, hungry beetles from three main species, day fliers Euoniticellus intermedius, Liatongus militaris and night fliers Onthophagus gazella.

In grazing paddocks and catchment areas, dung beetle activity has a wide range of benefits, from aerating and deepening top soil to providing habitat for earthworms and increasing rain water penetration.

Research out of the United States has shown that dung that is well buried, such as by dung beetles, retains much more nitrogen.

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