CSIRO beetle rearing update

27 April 2021
Valerie Caron and Patrick Gleeson, CSIRO Health and Biosecurity

Bubas bubalus was imported to Australia in 2011-2015 by CSIRO and has proven to be a challenging species to mass rear. As a result, B. bubalus has not yet successfully established in Australia.  CSIRO has now successfully reared B. bubalus in cages located in a shaded greenhouse. In 2019, the operation dramatically expanded as part of the larger mass rearing effort supported by the DBEE project. Soon, larger cages were built using plastic Megabins and the shade house was refurbished to exclude pest animals including birds and foxes.

This investment by the DBEE project has recently paid off as the rearing of B. bubalus in the 2019-20 season was very fruitful, allowing exchange and transport of beetles to other mass rearing facilities in NSW and WA. The CSIRO mass rearing facility now houses 15 separate rearing cages, eleven of these are for B. bubalus, one for French Onthophagus vacca and three for Moroccan O. vacca. In spring 2021, larger numbers of beetles are expected to emerge and will soon be distributed to the program. 


Dung beetles Bubas Bubalus
Figure 1: B. bubalus dung beetles at CSIRO


Dr Valerie Caron and Patrick Geason
Figure 2: Project leader Dr Valerie Caron and Senior technical associate Patrick Gleason at the CSIRO Black Mountain ACT quarantine and mass rearing facility. 



Numerous beetle species
Figure 3: Numerous beetle species reared in vermiculite and sand media under controlled environment conditions



B bubalus
Figure 4: Bubas bubalus dung beetle



hoop houses
Figure 5: Outdoor hoop houses to proliferate

Dung beetle rearing team photo
​​​​​​Figure 6: Dung beetle rearing team photo