The first releases have now occurred! These were in Gore on the 26th Sept. 2013 followed by a release in Wairarapa on the 8th Oct. See our media page for coverage.
The proposed introduction of dung beetles into New Zealand is a long term project. The project has been extended, with support from MPI through their Sustainable Farming Fund, to June 2014. Mass-rearing of dung beetles is currently being undertaken at Landcare Research’s facilities in Auckland and Lincoln.
A Technical Advisory Group (TAG), with representatives from a wide range of organisations with an interest in dung beetles, was established to oversee an experimental release and associated research and monitoring programme.
All the trials have now been completed and the TAG has meet. The trial results and public health review can be found on our Trial page. The discussions from the TAG meeting have been presented to the DBRSG committee. We are now working with our science provider, Landcare Research, to develop a release strategy, monitoring and on-going research programme.
Post Release Monitoring and Child Education
Planning is now turning to post release monitoring (subject to review by the TAG). The DBRSG is in the initial stages of setting up a web based GIS system, so farmers will be able to click on their location and find out what beetles are suitable and available.
The same mapping system can also be used to track the spread of beetles. Our group really likes the competition run by Landcare Australia and their national science agency (CSIRO) called The Great Australian Dung Beetle Challenge. It was set up as a way for kids to learn about their environment while being involved in a real science project that helps scientists to map the distribution of dung beetle species. This website has more details on how the children entered.
Later in the year we would also like to talk to some NZ schools about the Queensland Government’s Dungbusters Education Module which contains a wealth of information for teachers and introduces students to the important functions that dung beetles perform.
Dung Beetle Availability
It is not yet clear how many releases of dung beetles will be offered and made available to the wider farmer community. Further details will be posted here when they are known. In the interim contact Andrew Barber so you can be added to our mailing list, which will also form the first priority list for receiving beetles.