Dung beetles are natures poo solution. They have evolved around the world to make sure that the poo animals leave behind is incorporated into the soil as fertiliser so that plants can thrive.
Sexytime – natures greatest motivator…this is where the poop comes in.
For dung beetles, your dog’s poop is their honeymoon suite. And the soil beneath it? Their babies nursery.
When animals digest their food, their bodies don’t use all the nutrients that their food holds. These nutrients end up in the poop – which is perfect food for the dung beetles. The adult beetles squeeze the juice out of the poop for their food, like a protein shake. The solid leftovers become the food for the babies.
Dung Beetles lay eggs. Unlike chicken eggs, dung beetle eggs don’t have a yoke sack to keep the little bubba beetle nourished while it grows. So they roll a little ball of poop and lay their egg inside it instead. when the beetle larvae hatch, they eat the poop until they reach their adult stage.
Dung beetles dig an underground nest for their eggs, to keep them safe from predators and the temperature more consistent while they develop. Unlike turtles and crocodiles that dig one big hole, dung beetles dig a tunnel with lots of separate chambers for their eggs.
These tunnels aerate the soil and help water and plant roots penetrate keeping the soil moist and the plants strong.
As the dung beetle babies grow, they eat the poop that they were buried in until they are ready to emerge as adult beetles and find poop of their own.
Different species of dung beetle prefer different animals poop – in the same way that you prefer one flavour of ice cream over another. We have found species which like to eat dog poo.
What is the dog poo problem?
The dog poo problem is real. When we ask people, “What’s the worst part of being a dog owner?” the answer that comes back, is poop. No matter how good your dog is (and they are all good dogs). But even if your dog is an angel of the canine species, and has never chewed shoes, or undies, or the actual walls of your home. Or spent their days digging frog ponds all over the yard. Or watched you intently during romantic moments with your partner, or humped a guest during an important dinner party. Or barked at nothing at 4am until half the neighbourhood was awake and angry. If your dog has never even dreamed of doing any of these things. All dogs poop.
If cleaning up your dogs poo, is your favourite part of dog ownership (no judgement) but, you’re an outlier. Most people hate it. Mostly because we (humans) didn’t evolve to pick up dog poo. We can do it, obviously, but it’s not our evolutionary imperative. So really, we’re just not very good at it. We chuck it in the bin and make it someone else’s problem. but that’s not really a solution, it’s just out of sight out of mind.
Dog poo constitutes about 4% of the waste to landfill each year. Usually wrapped in non biodegradable plastic contributing to both methane production and plastic waste. It doesn’t seem like a lot when thinking about one dog, but put them all together and it is estimated that 100 tonnes of dog poo is dropped in Sydney alone each day.
Dog poo left to rot in yards and parks is a breeding ground for flies and parasites as well as being annoying and unsightly, it is one of the top complaints to councils around the country.
Poo is great for the soil,when dung beetles bury it but terrible for waterways when they don’t. As soon as it rains, dog poo left to rot ends up in our waterways, depositing nitrogen, phosphorous and trace nutrients leading to algal blooms and faecal coliforms (germs) into the marine ecology.
How do we fix the poo problem?
Dung beetles bury organic matter (your dog’s poop) deep into the soil, creating better quality top soil in your garden naturally. The components of commercial fertilisers, are mined or created artificially, drawing heavily on our planets finite resources.
The tunnels that dung beetles dig break up poor quality soil which helps plant roots and water to penetrate deeper into the ground.
This combination of deep root systems and good water penetration means that your garden will be better protected during extreme heat and drought.
The best part about using dung beetles is that there’s no need for you to do anything! Dung beetles bury 70% to 95% of a poo within 3 days, all by themselves. There’s no need for you to manage a separate compost bin or add heaps of plastic waste to landfill.