Newswise — August 17, 2020 - Dung beetles are underground soil health vigilantes that can make serious waves in any natural or agricultural ecosystem. The Soil Science Society of America’s (SSSA) August 15th Soils Matter Blog explores dung beetles and their benefits to livestock farmers all around the world.

“As their name implies, dung beetles eat dung, and they prepare their breeding ground in different ways,” says blogger Jordyn Bush. “Tunnellers” will tunnel underneath a pile of manure and slowly bury particles of the dung in the soil. The females lay their eggs in the buried droppings. “Tumblers” will collect manure into balls and roll them to their desired location before burying them. “Dwellers” will find a dung pule and simply start their brood.

Dung beetles provide many benefits to livestock farming. For one, many livestock pests breed in manure piles, and by working to distribute and bury the manure, dung beetles are removing the pests’ habitat. Having a healthy population of dung beetles in a pasture ecosystem can reduce the survival of internal parasites as well.

As far as soil health goes, there is a positive correlation between the number of dung beetles present in a system, and the organic matter in the soil. Many soil inhabitants benefit from the nutrients left in the soil once beetles emerge from the nest as adults. To learn more about dung beetles, read the entire blog post: https://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/2020/08/15/what-is-a-dung-beetle/

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The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a progressive international scientific society that fosters the transfer of knowledge and practices to sustain global soils. Based in Madison, WI, and founded in 1936, SSSA is the professional home for 6,000+ members and 1,000+ certified professionals dedicated to advancing the field of soil science. The Society provides information about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling, and wise land use.