Related ATTRA Publication:
Dung Beetle Benefits in the Pasture Ecosystem
Researchers at the University of Bristol found that farms across southwest England that used certain pesticides for parasite control in cattle had fewer species of dung beetle. Although scientists have known for decades that pesticide residue in manure could kill dung beetles, this is the first study to show that long-term use of the pesticides has negative impacts on dung beetle populations at the landscape scale. The study found that synthetic pyrethroids were less damaging to dung beetles than macrocyclic lactone pesticides, but farms that used them still had smaller populations of certain types of dung beetle. This biodiversity loss could have serious economic implications for farmers in terms of loss of services including dung decomposition, nutrient cycling, soil fertility, and preventing disease transmission.