"Dung beetle" is the common name for beetles that are members of the Scarabaeidae family. These beetles breed, feed, and tunnel in dung deposited on pastures. (You have them if you see many “holes” in your cow pats). Through their activities, these beetles break up and bury the dung pat. This dries up the pat and removes it as a breeding site for pest flies. Hence, Dung Beetles are most efficient in reducing numbers of flies if the beetles disperse and bury the dung within a few days of its deposition before the flies can finish their development. Dung Beetles have been known to reduce Horn Fly and internal parasite populations by more than 90%.
Tiny Mites (1/32” or less in length) are found practically everywhere, including the breeding sites of the Stable Fly and House Fly. Predaceous Mites, such as those in the family Macrochelidae, can be important natural enemies of these pest species. By feeding on eggs and young maggots, one Mite can kill up to 36 House Flies per day. In field studies, calf pen manure and outdoor piles of dairy cattle manure produced up to 67% and up to 45% fewer House Flies, respectively, when Mites were present than did adjacent areas where Mites were killed with the application of pesticides.
Mites are among the first predators to colonize manure because they disperse by phoresy; i.e., they “hitch-hike” on other insects. Hence, flies arriving to lay eggs in new breeding sites also may be carrying predacious Mites that will feed on these eggs.
Mites can be best used by conserving their natural populations. Keep manure dry with good ventilation and good drainage. This will promote the growth of Mite populations, Leave behind a small residue of old manure when cleaning out barns, to provide a source of Mites to colonize the fresh manure.
Dr. Bill ClymerFort Dodge Animal Health, Dr. Roy EllisPrairie Pest Management, Dr. Kevin FloateAgriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Dr. Robert M. Miller, DVM, Dr. William QuarlesBio-Integral Resource Center. All illustrations 2006 Dr. Roy Ellis.
© Spalding Laboratories. All Rights Reserved.