How to get beetles
on to your farm
Our experts are uniquely qualified to assess the beetle species best suited to your land. We will help you choose the best solution, based on a number of variables: soil types, climate and the kind of livestock you’re farming.
Supply & Demand
While we are importing more species and establishing a new breeding centre to meet demand, the breadth of species will be limited for some time. However, we have enough of the hard-working high fecundity beetles to get you started.
Contact Shaun Forgie or go straight to our order page to start the process.
Order your beetles
Simply complete the Order Form and we’ll be in touch
with our recommendations. Beetles are sent out when each species is at its peak abundance. New season orders generally start being sent out from Dec./Jan., and then progressively after that as new species emerge.
Dung Beetle Release
To maximise establishment success refer to our getting started document.
Make your farm
dung beetle friendly
Dung beetles are suitable for all livestock farms types (i.e.
beef, dairy, sheep, deer, alpaca, goat, horse), and all farming
practices (i.e., conventional farms that use drenches, organic
farms, biodynamic farms).
However, before you seed your farm with a starter colony,
there are some pre-requisite Management Practices that
should be implemented 24-48 hours prior to receiving
dung beetles. See our Getting Started document.
Active constituents in drenches can linger in dung for
several weeks. These can have varying degrees of toxicity to
dung beetles, depending on the method of application.
Dips, pour-ons and injectables result in the highest doses
absorbed into animals; in turn, these result in the greatest
concentration of residual chemicals in dung. The drench
type is also very important, as indicated on the table. Also see our blog on drench use.
|Likely to be toxic
|Unlikely to be toxic
Most macrocyclic lactones (MLs) particularly for the first 1-2 weeks after application – these are HIGHLY LIKELY to be toxic to beetles. The exception is Moxidectin.
“Cocktails”: combinations of drenches used to counter acquired resistance in target pests. These are of unknown toxicity and depend on the component drenches.
Moxidectins (related to MLs) applied at recommended dose rates.
Synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) can cause increased mortality and reduced breeding.
Some Imidazothiazoles used for Antihelminthic drenches including Salicylanilides and Closentel.
Benzimdazoles used for Antihelminthic drenches.
Tetrahydropyrimidines used for Antihelminthic drenches.
Some Imidazothiazoles used for Antihelminthic drenches including Levamisole and Nitroxynil.
Carbamates including Carbaryl and Carbaril.
Tips to limit
Switching to less harmful chemicals and sticking to the recommended dosage rates is highly recommended to give your beetles a greater chance of establishing healthy colonies.
However, if using higher risk chemicals (e.g. MLs, SPs) can’t be avoided during peak beetle activity (Spring-Autumn) there are other ways to limit the beetles’ exposure to concentrated
toxins in dung.
Simply reduce the frequency of drenching treatments.
Identify high-burden sub-groups:
Isolate and treat only specific groups of livestock (e.g. yearlings) and specific pest(s) that have reached the highest burden in that group rather than treating the whole herd at once.
Identify a ‘quarantine’ pasture:
Farms with newly established breeding colonies of dung beetles in the centre of their farm may benefit from isolating the treatment group(s) to a ‘quarantine’ or outlying downwind paddock well away from the initial release area, where dung beetles may be less likely to find them during the critical period following treatment with a high-risk chemical.
Best grazing practice:
Help reduce reliance on drenching through farming practices that reduce pasture contamination by the infective stages of livestock gut parasites, such as a cross or rotational grazing.
Natural pest control
“Over time, as dung beetle populations thrive, parasitic reinfection of
stock will decline and the need for drenching should decrease.”
How long does
Bear in mind that there are no absolutes in nature. From the day you release your dung beetles to when they become detectable (as an indication of establishment), a vast number of variables are at play, including drench type and frequency of use, soil conditions, seasonal conditions, dung quality/quantity and numbers of beetles released.
It’s important to note that it could take several years before a species is encountered again once released, and several more years before its impact becomes noticeable.
UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS HOWEVER, THE FOLLOWING TIMINGS APPLY:
Average establishment for all species permitted for New Zealand.
For the species permitted in New Zealand the average was 3.0 years* from the time of release. The larger lower fecundity species will take longer to establish.
Noticeable environmental and economic benefits in 4-6 years.
Once properly established, beetles breed rapidly. Environmental and economic benefits will start to be noticed after 4 – 6 years.
Full carrying capacity can be reached in 9-11 years.
Full carrying capacity is a function of the quantity of dung available and is usually reached in 9 – 11 years.
In 2008 Edwards provided a review of all species released in Australia and those that established versus those that failed to establish.
(see Table for species applicable to NZ). For the species permitted for New Zealand, the average was 3 years*.
Post Release Monitoring
Planning is now turning to post release monitoring.
We have a map showing many of the releases across NZ.
We really like the competition run by Landcare Australia and their national science agency (CSIRO) called The Great Australian Dung Beetle Challenge.
It was set up as a way for kids to learn about their environment while being involved in a real science project that helps scientists to map the distribution of dung beetle species.
Here in NZ Dung Beetle Innovations and an international award-winning science and technology educator Chris Clay, have teamed-up to use dung beetles to switch young minds onto the wonders of science.