Dermestid Beetles Taxidermy

Dermestid Beetles For Skull Taxidermy

It might sound like something straight out of Indiana Jones movies, but dermestid beetles are known for their use in taxidermy because they pore over every surface of a carcass, eating all the skin, flesh and cartilage in one swarming mass.  If you’ve ever seen a perfectly picked clean carcass in the wild, you can bet an animal like this beetle went to work on it.  Where bigger predators and scavengers take big bites of whatever animal they’ve made lunch of, it’s the creepy, crawly dermestid beetle taxidermy bugs who can do the detailed work of gleaning all the organic matter from the nooks and crevices of bone for European mounts.

A good-sized colony of dermestid beetles taxidermy bugs, can clean a deer skull in three to five days. Using dermestid beetles is preferred to other methods loosening skin and flesh from the bone, for those who are looking to prepare skulls and bones for display, like museums or avid hunters creating a trophy.  This method is often referred to as “skeletonize”-ing an animal.

Preparation For Skull Taxidermy

Prior to giving the beetles the skull you must properly prepare it for them to be able to easily eat through the flesh. You’ll want to remove the large pieces of meat, such as the eyes, tongue and brain.  Then set the skull in front of a fan for a few days to help dry out the meat.  It is ready when the remaining meat on the skull starts to resemble jerky and appears dried out.

 What Dermestid Beetles Will and Won’t Eat

Dermestid beetles aren’t locusts or animals that will eat anything. They can be picky.  Dermestids typically won’t eat feathers, fur, skin, most organs, or dried blood.

To keep your colony alive when you don’t have pending taxidermy needs, Dermestid beetles can eat just about every kind of meat, including hot dogs, as long as it is dried out a bit.  The beetles don’t need a lot of water, but spraying the colony lightly with a spray bottle of room temperature water every few days is recommended.

Keep the colony in a secure, inescapable aquarium or space. If you live in a colder climate, you also have to take care to keep your beetle colony in a warm space, and may need heating devices, like lamps or mats.

 Dermestid Beetles for Museums

A particular species, Dermestes maculatusfor, is broadly favored by American museums because they are deeply limited when it comes to flight. For obvious reasons, not flying away is key for museums looking to work with a colony of beetles.  That particular species cannot fly if thetemperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but can still reproduce and thrive at normal indoors temperatures _ generally, in the 70s _ for most museums.

Summary: The Dermestid Beetle Taxidermy bugs are being put to work more each day for many uses. Take care of your beetles properly and they will bring you great satisfaction.