Method 1: Visual Search
1. Go to one of your GPS mapped soil sampling sites in a pasture field (or create a new sample site in the Soilmentor app while you’re out in the field).
2. Look around, and find a pile of dung close to your sample site, and break it apart in the tray (wearing gloves), looking for beetles. Remember to count them as you go – this is what you’ll record in your Soilmentor app. It might be helpful to put the beetles to one side in the tray.
3. Look for tunnels at the interface between soil and dung – these can be large enough to poke your thumb in to (likely a Geotrupidae tunnel) or as small as a pencil width (Onthophagus similis, Colobopterus erraticus).
4. The insects that don’t move while you’re breaking up the dung will likely be dung beetles – they are slow moving and tend to play dead!
5. You can gently dig burrowing beetles out with a trowel – it’s advisable to note the direction of the tunnel and carefully dig it out from one side to prevent collapse.
6. The more times you use this method, the better you will get at spotting beetles! Some smaller and darker species are easy to miss.
7. When you’ve finished counting, record the number you find within ‘Dung beetle count’ in the Soilmentor app.