Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 5, 1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The horn fly is a widely distributed pest of cattle that reproduces by laying eggs in fresh cattle manure dropped on pasture. Maggots hatch from these eggs and feed on the dung for 3-4 days before turning into the pupal stage, the stage from which adult flies emerge. Adult flies bite cattle and feed on blood that oozes from the wound. Horn flies cause reductions in milk production and weight gain in dairy and beef cattle with annual losses estimated to be in excess of $876 million. These dung-breeding flies, which were introduced into the U.S. about 100 years ago, have recently become resistant to several insecticides commonly used for their control. There is a definite need for improved integrated pest management practices (IPM), including both chemical and biological control, to protect livestock from these biting flies with reduced dependence on chemical pesticides. Dung-burying beetles compete with immature horn flies for the same food source (cattle dung) and thus have good potential as biological control agents to complement IPM programs directed to the control of this pest. This manuscript describes the current distribution of a South African dung-burying beetle that is established in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Information on the establishment and distribution of this exotic species of dung beetles will aid in determining if it will become established in other states.
Onthophagus depressus is a South African species of dung beetle that was first collected in the United States in 1937 near Vidalia, Georgia. A decade later and 550 km from the original Georgia collection site, specimens of this species were collected near Lake Placid, Florida. It is not known how or when this South African dung beetle entered this country, or why it was found inland at two widely separated locations in two different states. Onthophagus depressus has been slowly increasing its range of distribution in Georgia and has now been captured in 27 Georgia counties. A new state distribution record was established for South Carolina when specimens were collected in three South Carolina counties.