Vetmec & Dung Beetles

One of the unintended and unwelcome consequences of the introduction of domestic cattle in Australia was the proliferation of bush flies and the introduction in Northern Australia of the Buffalo Fly. Both of which are dung breeding insects.

In the 50’s it was found by the CSIRO that Dung Beetles could provide a solution by burying dung pads and hence reduce fly breeding sites and hence fly numbers. Dung beetles through their burying activity have also been found to reduce the number of worm larvae on the pasture. This activity also replaces nutrients in the soil as well as aerates the soil.

It is important therefore, when treating cattle with products such as the ‘mectins, that we don’t get unintended effects on beneficial insects such as the dung beetle.

Much has been made the “mectins\” effects on the dung beetle and dung disappearance and of some ‘mectins being better than others when it comes to dung beetle safety. This issue was taken up by the National Regulatory Authority (now the APVMA) in 1998. After  a thorough review of the possible effect of all the ‘mectin (ML) products on dung beetle, the NRA concluded that there was no clear evidence to demonstrate that any of the ML products have a long term detrimental effect on dung beetle populations or dung disappearance rates in the field under Australian conditions.

Therefore, based on this very extensive review as well as the results reported in many published papers we are happy to conclude that the use of Vetmec under normal field conditions will not have a detrimental effect on Dung Beetle populations or activity.

“….. their was no clear evidence to demonstrate that any of the ML products have a long term detrimental effect on dung beetle populations or dung disappearance rates in the field under Australian conditions.\”

NRA May 1998