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Science & Technology

The Dung Beetle Gets Its Due At BugFest

The work of dung beetles is not sexy, but it has a monumental impact on our ecosystem. They break down feces, recycle nutrients and help control the spread of disease.

Sorenson holds up a beetle.
Credit Courtesy of Clyde Sorenson
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Courtesy of Clyde Sorenson
Clyde Sorenson with a hercules beetle.

North Carolina is home to 30 species of dung beetle whose diverse behaviors are celebrated at this year’s BugFest at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Host Frank Stasio speaks with Clyde Sorenson, an entomologist at NC State, who shares the economic and ecological importance of the dung beetle and his recent discovery about synchronous fireflies that glow in unison.

Kelly Oten of the North Carolina Forest Service joins the conversation to talk about a species of beetle that’s causing some ecological problems: the emerald ash borer. It’s a beetle variety that is ravaging ash trees across the state. The museum’s 24th annual BugFest takes place Saturday, Sept. 21 in downtown Raleigh.

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