The dung beetles can be shipped to most states. A few states require a permit. They will be packed in wood shavings in a plastic jar. Do not allow the container to get hot.
RELEASING THE BEETLES When you receive beetles, you should let them out as soon as possible. Late afternoon is a great time. You can scatter them around the edges of some fresh manure piles. Don’t put them on top or on hot sand, as they are more likely to fly away. Let 20 to 30 go in the grass around the edge of each pile. You can spread them out in different pastures. If you want to sprinkle them into your hand, it’s OK, they don’t sting or bite. You can wear latex gloves if you want. If they act dead, just wait a few minutes. They will start wiggling and get going as soon as they adjust to the change in temperature, light, and space. I always send 10% extra in case a few ..... don’t wake up.
LIVING AT THEIR NEW HOME They do well in dry conditions as long as there is fresh manure around. They may be less active in extremely wet weather. You can check to see if they are working by looking at your dung piles. You should see holes in the top of the piles as well as holes in the ground under the piles. Sometimes the pile will have a solid crust, but the beetle activity can be seen by lifting the dried top, revealing tunnels and sand castings underneath. You should also see sand castings where the beetles have tunneled and pushed sand up around the edge of the manure or up into the middle of the pile. As long as they have good, fresh manure, they will stay around and repopulate.
When using chemicals for deworming, fly control, or flea/tick treatments, you may want to rotate treatment of groups/animals so there is always some dung that is “appetizing” and safe.
Most beetles will be less active in the winter and more active in the summer. Research is not available for determining the number of beetles needed per animal or per acre.
It is possible to tell the difference (boy vs. girl) on some of the beetles, but you can’t tell on some of them without a good microscope. In the end, if they are in the same location (100 acres or more) they will find each other. They fly great distances to find poop and to find each other. Don’t worry about pairing them up male/female.
The Copris minutis male has a single short spike in the middle of his head.
The Onthophagus taurus male has 2 long sweeping “horns”, like a longhorn bull that go back from his head towards his back. That’s why he is named taurus.
The Onthophagus gazella male has 2 short spikes on his head.
If you catch beetles, you may want to take a closer look or take pictures. You can put them in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes. This really slows them down so you can put them on a sheet of paper and get a picture. Be careful, once they warm up, they will fly away. I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve had to chase a flying beetle around in my house!
I always send 10% extra to cover any losses in shipping. But, these guys are very tough. A couple of days on the road won’t hurt them. I have sent beetles many, many times with very few deaths. They can drown if they are trapped in water with no way to crawl out. They will die in extreme heat. They will die if exposed to chemicals, such as dewormers and other pest control. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR DUNG BEETLES!