What Are Those Piles of Sand???

Is it a mole, is it a gopher…

No- it’s really a beetle! A species of dung beetle at that! Florida is home to Peltotrupes profundus, also known as the Florida deepdigger scarab beetle. This member of the family Geotrupidae is endemic to Florida and is one of many earth-boring dung beetles. Adults dig a tunnel as deep as 10 feet deep, stock it with decaying plant matter and raise their young.

Picture of small piles of sand in a lawn.
Distinctive sand piles created by adult Peltotrupes profundus beetles. Photo by Lyle Buss.

Most noticeable during the winter in Central Florida (primarily from January to February), the small piles of sand the beetles generate are frequently mistaken for other soil dwelling organisms. Residents commonly believe they have a problem with moles, gophers or mole crickets. The piles of sand do not have entrance holes on top (as ground dwelling bees do) and are smaller than average gopher sand piles.

Photo of Peltotrupes profundus beetle.
Adult Peltotrupes profus beetle. Photo by Lyle Buss.

Florida deepdigger beetles do not damage turf or landscape plants and are not generally considered pests. Controls are not recommended and the tunneling period is usually short.

Watch our short video of what these sand piles look like in the landscape:


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Posted: January 20, 2021


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