The Country Diary of a GenX Woman

Dung Beetles at Work

Jan13 007I have never seen so many dung beetles in one pile before.  It was the only offering in the paddock and it looked like they were queuing on the grass waiting their turn, with more flying in constantly.

When the sea breeze starts in the afternoon, our covered deck area is like the dung beetle super highway and you hear constant  clicking noise as they fly into the side of the house and patio posts just following the scent upwind.

According to Jim Heath, in his brilliant book on bush flies and dung beetles : ” Adult beetles have mouths that can only suck juices from dung. Jan13 004They can’t live on anything else — even if they’re starving. (The beetle larvae have mouths that can bite and tear, but they can only feed on dung. If you take them out of a dung pad, they die quickly.)

They breed in dung.  They feed on it.  They grow up in it.  The only time they aren’t actually living in it — or ‘working’ in it — is when they’re flying around looking for a fresh mass of it.  Dung beetles not only help cut the fly population. They also help fertilise the soil: they bury the dung before it loses its nitrogen to the air.”

Comments are closed.

Inspired by The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady