It has certainly been a challenging, confusing and somewhat disappointing year for our breeding program. Those who received bubalus in August 2021 have not reported any hatchings at all. In light of this, I recently wrote to Greg Dalton, the breeder and supplier of our beetles, to ask whether we should continue placing a fresh dung pat in to see if any beetles emerge.
He suggests we still put 1 kg of fresh dung fortnightly until the end December. Make sure dung has been stored 3 days before putting it out as at this time of year the small summer beetles will very quickly find their way to fresh dung pats and these will hopefully have drowned after 3 days. Better still collect fresh dung early before the sun is up and the beetles are awake.
Grass is growing like crazy and we still need to keep this down in the tents so we can observe any beetle activity.
Those who received bubalus this spring are reporting that they are still consuming dung and most people are on to the second lap of their tents. Last year we found dead beetles in the tent towards the end of December and that dung burial ceased in early January. But who would know this year? It would be good if you could please take note and record when this happens. Beetles will then have laid their eggs which hopefully will hatch early next spring. Thank you to all who have been part of this breeding program. Hopefully you are willing to hang in there for another year in the hope that the delayed hatching of bubalus may result in a bumper year next spring. If you do not want to continue and have tents you would like to return please let me know and we can arrange to pick these up.
Those who received vacca in January 2022 have had very mixed hatchings this spring.However my vacca started hatching yesterday on the 12th December. This hatching is part of the vacca lifecycle and these F1 beetles are the result of the breeding process. These newly hatched beetles will only feed, not breed, and then remain in the ground until re-emerging next spring so feed them up well.Luckily I had just cut the grass and put fresh dung in the tent but was not expecting any action for a couple of weeks as last year they did not hatch till early January.
Greg Dalton from Creation Care has made the following suggestions regarding newly hatched beetles.
- Catch,count and transfer to another tent (more work but better data)
- Feed in the same tent and wait till spring 2023 to release. (Less work and less information
but still gets the Beatles through till spring 2023.)