Dermestid Beetles, Flesh Eating Beetles

Dermestid Beetles

Get The Food Facts about the Flesh Eating Beetles

 The Dermestid Beetle, can sometimes be known as the “Flesh Eating Beetle,” or “Carpet Beetle.” The Carpet Beetle doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies like that of  Flesh Eating Beetles. But don’t worry, it’s not like that movie, “The Mummy,” where they throw people in the box of bugs to have their flesh eaten off in a matter of seconds. These misunderstood flesh eating beetles have a lot of valuable qualities to taxidermists, museum curators and scientists.  Here are some facts about the Dermestid flesh eating Beetle that you won’t want to miss.


Do Dermestid Beetles Only Eat Dead Flesh?

No, they don’t! This would be an excellent time to bring out the explanation as to why these little guys are referred to as Carpet Beetles. Only in North America might you find Dermestid Beetles in your home.  Natives to this country, these guys could invade your home if they have found a tasty treat near, under or inside your house.  When was the last time you checked those mousetraps? If beetles infest your home, you may find damage to your Grandma’s old books in the attic, or holes in your linens. And in many cases, they will begin to snack on your carpet, hence the name, Carpet Beetles. There is also danger to anything leather or the fur coat in your closet. Making regular checks for dead animals around your home should keep them at bay.


How Much Can Dermestid Beetles Eat?

From the moment the flesh eating Dermestid beetle is hatched, it begins to eat. They eat, and eat, and eat for much of the remainder of their lives:  About 5 months.  It is said that a colony of these beetles can eat the flesh off a dead skull in about three days. Which is why they are used for many forensic cases when a bone is needed for evidence, these critters can clean a bone better than harsh chemicals.

 Flesh Eating Beetles, Can the Dermestid Beetle Eat Other Things?

As we have learned previously, Dermestid Beetles do eat other things. But can they survive on our bed sheets or old books alone? No, these little guys need protein from meat to survive. Some that own colonies of these beetles have been known to feed them hotdogs or lunchmeat if long-dead flesh is unavailable.  These were animals at one time, so they could be considered dead flesh, right?

These skeleton-cleaning maniacs have been used by top scientists to delicately clean flesh off lab skeletons.  And as mentioned before, Dermestid Beetle colonies are often used in museums to eat flesh from many artifacts about to be displayed. Even the average hunter has grown a colony of beetles to assist with the taxidermy of their kill.  Many believe that the beetles clean bones better than boiling the bones. This common practice of boiling the flesh off bones is effective, but can give bones a yellowed look and a greasy feel.  That is why Dermestid flesh eating Beetles are chosen for the job.


  1. Whoa! I never knew there really were flesh eating beetles!