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Beetle ?

Old 12-07-2006, 07:49 AM
Nontypical Buck
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,858
Default RE: Beetle ?

I also had a colony I ordered from a taxidermy supply store. They were pretty cheap, unless you bought a full colony. I would recommend buying a start kit a couple months before the season so you can raise a full colony yourself.

If I can remember right, the best temp is around 80 deg. So I needed a heat lamp to keep the beetles fully active. They eat about anything, I gave them hotdogs in the offseason becuase there cheap.

They prefer meat that is dried to a jerky texture. So if you just skun a head, put it in front of a fan for a couple hours to dry it out a bit. It the head is too dry, soak it for a couple days to moisten it back up to the correct texture.

I also sold mine after I made a good chunk of money, only because I was getting ready to move and my wife didn't really want them to make the move either, but here are a few pics of ones I did with the beetles.

It is pretty obvious, but the ones in front are done (including coyote) the ones in back are getting ready to go into the beetle colony.

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Old 12-07-2006, 07:52 AM
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Location: Iowa
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Default RE: Beetle ?

Here are a few more deer getting ready to go into the colony with aclose up of the coyote head to show how clean they got it.

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Old 12-07-2006, 07:54 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Columbia, Md.
Posts: 1,211
Default RE: Beetle ?

I watched an episode of "Dirty Jobs" when he went to a company that cleaned skeletons and those beeltes did an awesome job. They used fish aquariums and just put the bones in with the beetles.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:24 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Illinois
Posts: 1,704
Default RE: Beetle ?

I clean skulls using dermestid beetles. The results are fantastic but the work is difficult!

Some Highlights:
The beetles need to stay between 65-85°F - below 65 they become sluggish, below 40 they die. Above 70 they are active but above 80 they can fly.

The smell of decomposing flesh WILL attract other unwanted insects.

The beetles are very susceptible to mites in too wet of an environment. This will hinder reproduction and may kill an entire colony.

After the bugs eat the flesh you will have thousands of bugs to get out of the skull - even when you think you are done, you will have hundreds trapped - it can take hours to get them all out.

The smell is strong enough to penetrate the fabric of your clothes and will carry with you in to the house/car/etc. Your wife won't like it!

I have a dermestid beetle start up document that I've created if you are interested, PM me.

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Old 12-07-2006, 08:27 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Rural Kansas... Where Life is Good
Posts: 4,139
Default RE: Beetle ?

I've had a colony of dermestid beetles for about a year. They are a good amount of work to maintain, but they are the best way to clean a skull.
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Old 12-07-2006, 08:36 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: NW Oklahoma
Posts: 1,166
Default RE: Beetle ?

I think I'll just stay with the boiling method.
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