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Dung Beetles

Dung Beetles

Updated 23 November 2018 12:32pm

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EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT on dung beetle packages for farmers in the Wellington region

We are moving closer to improved water quality and soil health by launching the first region-wide release of non-native dung beetles in New Zealand, in partnership with Dung Beetle Innovations.

Any farmer in our region can now access discounted dung beetle packages to release on your land.


24 hours, 7 days a week, improving your farm and our environment. And paid in dung.

This is why…

100 million tonnes of waste is produced by the cattle, sheep and horses in annual production in New Zealand each year.

The introduction of livestock 170 years ago to our lands, is damaging our water quality and soil health. It is an ongoing challenge as nutrients build up.

 We don’t have the supporting agents to disperse this waste. But it turns out one answer is right under our feet.


The 40 million-year-old solution

Dung beetles are a natural answer to rebalancing our environmental impact. They tunnel through and bury dung. This allows air to circulate around it and for the nutrients to be mixed into the soil.

There are three types: the dwellers live in the dung, the rollers roll the dung, and the tunnellers burrow through the dung and into the soil.

Our 15 species of native dung beetles are hard-wired to forest living, and aren’t designed to disperse livestock waste.

The species being introduced to New Zealand are tunnellers – the most effective at burying dung.

Research conducted abroad and locally proves that introducing dung beetles is a practical, sustainable, and cost-effective way to reduce farm waste problems.

Test releases have already been carried out in New Zealand. The first ever non-native dung beetle release in the north island was in the Wairarapa.

The benefits

"Dung beetles are able to aerate soil, improve the nutrient cycle and help manage water absorption and dispersion… the potential benefits are amazing!” – Scotty Macdonald, Wairarapa farmer

  • More available grazing pasture
  • Decreased maintenance time
  • Improved soil health
  • Improved water quality
  • Parasite and pest reduction
  • Government and EPA approved

Order your dung beetles now and save 20%

There are two packages available through the Greater Wellington and Dung Beetle Innovations partnership programme to any farm in the Wellington Region

1. Whole Farm Package

Includes four species of dung beetle in four colonies. Designed for a farm approx. 150ha in size, providing coverage for most of the year.

Was $6,000 - Now $4,800 (a saving of 20%)

2. Single Species Package

Includes one species of dung beetle in one colony, active for approximately 4 months. Suitable for smaller farms.

Was $2,000 - Now $1,600 (a saving of 20%)

If your farm is a priority catchment approved farm in the Lake Wairarapa area you can receive a 50% discount

Farmers in the ‘partnership catchment’ – in the area surrounding Lake Wairarapa – can access 50% discount on these packages. Get in touch directly with our team if this applies to you –

Order your dung beetles now




Tick the GWRC partnership programme box that’s relevant to you.

Want to know more about dung beetles?

Find out more, including how the dung beetles are reared in New Zealand, the quirks of each species, and the research in favour of their introduction, on Dung Beetle Innovations’ website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What sort of farms are dung beetles suited to – beef, lamb, dairy etc.?

Non-native dung beetles are suitable for all livestock farm types.

Is it safe to introduce non-native species?

MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund undertook years of research into the risks, costs, and benefits of introducing dung beetles to New Zealand. The findings were then submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, who gave approval for their introduction.

Dung Beetle Innovation’s website says this: “Exhaustive research, presentations, negotiations, and workshops were conducted in order to satisfy the concerns of all stakeholders: government, EPA (formerly ERMA), upholds approval, iwi, farmers, environmentalists, academics and the general public.”

More research to support the introduction of non-native dung beetles can be found on their website and research supporting the benefits can be found here.

Should I do anything to prepare before receiving a package of dung beetles?

Before you seed your farm with a colony there are some management practices that are recommended to be carried out 24-48 hours before receiving your package. More information can be found on the Dung Beetle Innovations website.

How long before I can see results?

There can be no guarantees when it comes to nature. There are many factors at play when you release dung beetles onto your land, including things like drench type and frequency of use, soil conditions, seasonal conditions, dung quality and quantity.

However under ideal conditions you can expect to see something along the lines of:

1-3 years 4-6 years 9-11 years
The average time taken for all species permitted to be in New Zealand to establish at a site after release. Noticeable environmental and economic benefits. Once established beetles breed rapidly. Full carrying capacity is usually reached at this time, when the dung beetles are functioning optimally with the quantity of dung available.

How can I encourage the dung beetles to establish on my land?

There is a selection of great top tips available on the Dung Beetle Innovations website. These mostly relate to limiting the exposure the beetles have to harmful chemicals.