The Dung Beetle and the Control of Flies in Australia

Well, it was the natural progression from Wednesdays post called Flies in Australia: How Bad Is It?

There was a time in Australia, so I’ve heard, when the fly problem was very bad. Very very bad. Thanks to one little critter the situation has improved dramatically over the years and Australians most certainly have fewer flies pestering them now than they did in the past.

So, who is this little critter?

The dung beetle

The dung beetleWhilst I would like to acknowledge CSIRO for supplying the above image, all Australians should also be thanking CSIRO, which stands for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, for introducing the dung beetle into this country.

Yes, the people who brought Wi-Fi to the world (yes they did) are also responsible for bringing the dung beetle to Australia.

The Australian Dung Beetle Project began in 1965 and over the following 20 years many species of dung beetle were introduced into Australia from South Africa and Europe.

The result?

A reduction in the population of bush flies in Australia by something like 90%! I think it would be fair to say that the dung beetle is almost certainly responsible for making the Australian cork hat obsolete.

So here in Australia we love the dung beetle, we think it’s doing a fantastic job. But what exactly is the dung beetles job?

Famous comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore once released an obscenity riddled album as ‘Derek and Clive’ and one of the sketches was called ‘The Worst Job I Ever Had’. It was only after watching this fantastic video that I realise it is indeed the dung beetle who has the worst job ever…

But it’s certainly a job that all us Australians really appreciate and we take our hats off to the dung beetle, quite literally.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Katie May 20, 2015, 12:59 pm | Link

    Love these little critters. Bonus is they digest our dog’s poo and turn it into dirt – keeping our lawn spotless

    • BobinOz May 20, 2015, 9:30 pm | Link

      What more could you possibly want from a little critter 🙂

  • Kamma April 22, 2015, 3:51 pm | Link

    Wait, an introduced animal that’s actually doing good in Australia? Surely not!

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