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Wednesday, July 31 2013

Warning! Warning!

Gross and disgusting alert!

Each time we go to the ranch, we take four dogs with us. Since snake season is upon us, we concentrate their potty breaks to one mowed area near the cabin. All other fun for them is had from the back of a 4 wheeler or in the pond. Now one would think that this would mean a build-up of dog poop. After all, in south Texas, the poop stacks up fast.

But guess what?

No poop!


It's like the Poop Fairies swoop in and steal it! 


I KNOW!!!!

Where have the Poop Fairies BEEN all my life?!!

Warning! Gross!

(Okay, you were warned . . . )



I've heard about these little guys for years but finally observed them up close and personal last week. Apparently we have lots of dung beetles at the ranch. I kid you not. Within MINUTES of a dog poop hitting the ground, these little bugs are hard at work, rolling it into balls and rolling off with it. Within a hour the dog poop is GONE!

It takes a bit longer with horse poop, but you get the idea.

Dung beetles make a major contribution to agriculture. Not only do they whisk away the poop before harmful insects have a chance to lay eggs, but they bury it in the ground, thus improving the soil. After spending a weekend observing these little workers, it further reinforces my tendencies to avoid pesticides. This is certainly not a bug that I want harmed.

Long live the Poop Fairy!  Long live the Dung Beetle!

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:22 am   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
I haven't decided if my office job is more like running a treadmill (bust my tail, but go no where) or like the dung beetle (move "dung" around)....
Posted by Eric on 07/31/2013 - 09:58 PM
My husband and I just moved from living in the city of Abilene, TX to 20 acres in the country, 20 miles west of town. I have 3 med sized dogs. One day while sitting on the porch, I noticed my oldest dog sniffing at something. What caught my attention was that he suddenly startled and jumped back. In alarm, I started to investigate. As I walked over, I suddenly thought, "Dang, it looks like a rolling ball of poo. What the heck?" I too was jumping back in alarm, thinking I'd lost my mind. But, when I looked closer, I discovered one of these amazing beetles busily rolling and tumbling off with his "prize." The smile that spread over my face would have been quite the picture.
Posted by Shelly L Castille on 08/01/2013 - 09:31 AM
Shelly, from what I've been reading about them, you're lucky to have them. Apparently recent use of pesticides (ivermectin) have hit the dung beetle population pretty hard. They are trying to reintroduce them because the dung beetle is such an important part of the ecosystem.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 08/01/2013 - 07:27 PM
Eric, I've had those days too!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 08/01/2013 - 07:28 PM
Where does one go to get them. I don't use chemicals in my dog's yard and I'd love something to poop scoop my yard (preferably BEFORE the dogs get back out to do it - now talk about gross!) but wonder if the black clay goop that passes for dirt in my part of North Texas would allow them to dig out their dens. Or mud huts or whatever they live in.
Posted by Virginia on 08/02/2013 - 11:01 AM
Virginia, my North Texas soil is sandy but I imagine they would do fine in your area. The research I did on them seemed to indicate that the problem was widespread use of pesticides. Our new ranch is pretty remote and the human activity there pre-dates the pesticides. That's why we'll have to be really careful worming our critters. You might contact A&M to ask about reintroduction programs.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 08/03/2013 - 10:45 AM
I imagine that a lot of folks would be willing to buy some of these, I know I would! I sent the link to my sister who recently had a birthday and told her I had another idea for a birthday gift for her. She thought it sounded great too!
Posted by Sharon on 08/04/2013 - 08:44 PM
Thanks. As it happens I have a friend in Fredericksburg that works for the USDA monitoring the invasions of insects crossing the border that might be harmful to livestock and wildlife in the US. They also live on a small ranch with all kinds of livestock.She offered to ship me enough beetles to "seed" my yard. Now I need to see if she has something that can control chiggers!
Posted by Virginia on 08/05/2013 - 04:44 PM

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