Dung Beetles Aid in Reducing Flies and Gastrointestinal Parasites in Pastures
Dung beetles are important insects for pasture ecology and soil health. They move manure into the soil, thus increasing organic matter, improving soil structure, increasing water infiltration and providing essential nutrients for grass growth. As the majority of cow/calf and stocker operations are pasture based, and with the increased interest in finishing beef on grass, and grass-based dairies, there has been renewed interest surrounding the importance of dung beetles in pasture ecology. There are hundreds of organisms that call a manure pat home. Some organisms are not beneficial, but many of them are. Dung beetles are in the Scarab beetle insect family, and are known for their digging abilities. Dung beetles exist everywhere there is fecal matter. The beetles are attracted by the smell, and can find a new cowpat within seconds. Dung beetle adults can fly, and, depending on the species, they fly at night and/or during the day. An interesting fact is that certain species of dung beetles prefer certain kinds of manure. There are about 90 species of dung beetles in North America.
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