Dung Beetles

Seasonal gap of Dung Beetles in this region

Dung Beetles

Seasonal gap of Dung Beetles in this region

Capacity to Deliver -


The issue

Feedback from livestock producers in the region identified what they thought was varying activity of dung beetles throughout the year. The benefits of dung beetles has been well researched, with their ability to rapidly bury dung pads, reducing fly numbers in the summer and reducing the infective stages of gastrointestinal parasites for livestock, particularly in the pasture growth phase of late winter and spring, along with substantial soil benefits. Landholders were keen to implement a monitoring process that could confirm which beetles were active and when, and if there was a gap of beetles, what they could do to fill it.

The solution

With funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program, Holbrook Landcare implemented a monitoring process for landholders. Producers were provided with a dung beetle trap to put out in their paddocks once per month to see what beetles were active (or not) on their farms.

Holbrook Landcare partnered with CSU's Dung Beetle Ecosystems Engineers (DBEE) project to distribute a new species of dung beetle from Morocco and also monitor dung beetles through a more rigorous process adding to CSU's dung beetle project data base. The Onthophagus vacca was imported to Australia to fill the identified spring gap of dung beetles in this region. 

The impact

The impact of the dung beetle project has had multiple benefits for local producers. The monthly monitoring process for livestock producers enabled them to identify which beetles were active on their own property and when they were active, helping identify periods of dung beetle inactivity. Partnering with DBEE has enabled the set up of 2 dung beetle nursery sites in the area for the newly introduced species Onthophagus vacca, which is active from late winter to mid summer, coinciding with the identified dung beetle inactivity period. Although it may take several years for the benefits of this beetle to be noticed in the paddock, this new spring active species could mean that dung beetle benefits will be consistent throughout the year.


This project has been driven by producer demand for increased dung beetle activity on their farms. Working with DBEE gave producers access to the latest dung beetle research. Holbrook Landcare was able to run a series of workshops in the area, increasing producer and community awareness around the benefits of dung beetles both environmentally and productively.

Producers were keen to be involved with the monitoring process, although at times did need chasing up to put their traps out each month. Producers were very keen to host a dung beetle nursery site on their property, however due to limited availability of the new dung beetles species, we were only able to set up two nursery sites in the area at this stage. 

Key facts

  • Active dung beetles result in improved soil nutrition, increased water permeation and reduced fly and parasite numbers.
  • Dung beetle tunnels result in greater water retention in the soil, less nutrient run off, improved root penetration and increased soil aeration.

Project Partners