Dung Beetles for Africa
There are many chemical pesticides available on the market for South African farmers. Not all these products are tested for the negative effects they have on dung beetles. This has led the University of Pretoria to establish a “dung beetle-friendliness trademark.” It sets the standard in South Africa for non-target effects on anti-parasitic products for livestock. We spoke to Mr. Werner Strümpher, a core member of the Scarab Research Group to find out more about the Dung beetles for Africa project.
Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture as bio-indicators of pasture health because of their narrow habitat tolerances, their complex assemblage structure and their sensitivity to habitat disturbance.
Tunnelling by dung beetles improves nutrient cycling and soil structure, increases soil aeration and drainage and increases water filtration into the soil. By burying dung, soil fertility is increased, rapid recycling is promoted, availability of plant nutrients is increased and numbers of dung-breeding pest insects are reduced.
Dispersal of dung reduces pasture fouling, protects livestock by removing the dung, which could provide a habitat for pests such as flies and reduces water contamination and algal blooms by reducing the nutrient run-off into dams, streams and waterways.
Consuming dung reduces parasitic loads by interrupting the life cycle of some internal parasites.
For more information on Dung Beetles go to: http://www.dungbeetlesforafrica.org/benefits.html