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Dermestid Beetles

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Dermestid Beetles

Old 10-25-2007, 10:33 AM
  #1  
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Default Dermestid Beetles

I have recently been thinking about starting a dermestid beetle colony to do skull cleaning. I was going to use an old deep freeze to keep the beetles in, along with a heat lamp and wood stove in the winter. Does anyone have any experience using beetles, and if so, any tips?
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:47 AM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

Don't keep them in the house... the smell is quite putrid. Also, it takes months to start a good colony, sometimes over a year. This is because when they send you the beetles, they send you mostly adults, but it is the larvae that does most of the chomping, so it'll take them a while to produce enough to get a good fast system going. Be careful who you order from, some of the beetles from less that reputable places could contain mites or other parasites that kill the larvae. It is best to use two containers I found, so that way you can sort of dump them all in the other one when you need to clean out your main container. It will need to be cleaned once every couple of months or once every couple of weeks depending on how many skulls or bones you plan on cleaning.

Be sure to plan for when you're not going to be cleaning skulls also. Feeding them roadkill or the neighbor's wild cats seems to work
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Old 10-25-2007, 11:09 AM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

I plan on keeping them in my garage with a couple of vent tubes run outside. I also plan on cutting a hole in the lid of the freezer to put a light as a source of heat. Is it a good idea to find a kit that contains a good mix of adults and larvae. Also how many beetles would be needed to get a good start before the end of this season?
Oh yeah, will they eat hair and all if I give them roadkill?
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Old 10-28-2007, 09:40 PM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

Hey Leland,

I have a skull cleaning business in Northern Michiganand have been employing dermestids for a couple years now. Contrary to what some people say dermestids don't smell as bad as you think. The beetles produce frass which is their left over larvae casings, excrement, andbedding waste. It looks like saw dust and some say itsmellsmusty like sweat (I personally don't mind the smell).That is the only smell that should be identifiable when cleaning prepared skulls. To properly prepare a skull you must remove all of the skin, eyes, brain, and as much meat as possible. This is where alot of people get lazy and don't remove everything they should. Brainssitting in 80 degree heat doesn't take long to funk up. If you can take care of a gold fish you can handle dermestids. If you are really serious about getting a colony started Ianswerany questions you have!Just email me, good luck! DREW
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Old 10-28-2007, 11:10 PM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

It is also very important to keep them fed but not overly fed as it will slow down the process a little. If they start getting too hungry they will try to go elsewhere. But they are very basic to take care of. Providing that you have perpared the skull correctly and that you have enough larva, they can clean an average bear/deer skull in a day or so. Good luck!
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Old 10-29-2007, 06:29 PM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

ORIGINAL: Drew307

Hey Leland,

I have a skull cleaning business in Northern Michiganand have been employing dermestids for a couple years now. Contrary to what some people say dermestids don't smell as bad as you think. The beetles produce frass which is their left over larvae casings, excrement, andbedding waste. It looks like saw dust and some say itsmellsmusty like sweat (I personally don't mind the smell).That is the only smell that should be identifiable when cleaning prepared skulls. To properly prepare a skull you must remove all of the skin, eyes, brain, and as much meat as possible. This is where alot of people get lazy and don't remove everything they should. Brainssitting in 80 degree heat doesn't take long to funk up. If you can take care of a gold fish you can handle dermestids. If you are really serious about getting a colony started Ianswerany questions you have!Just email me, good luck! DREW
I'm female, so that sweat smell gets to me I prefer my place to not smell like armpit and/or corn chips
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:19 PM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

That's prettyfunny huntingirl89! I grew up in Detroit, soI guess that smell doesn't get tome from all those years of taking cabs and smelling allthe stinky arab cab drivers! I'm still laughing!!!!!
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Old 11-27-2007, 11:43 PM
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Default RE: Dermestid Beetles

I wouldnt be giving them roadkill (infested and rotten) meat!

I'd get them from Dermestid Inc out of Cali. Best bugs, good prices. www.dermestidbeetlecolonies.com
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