I had a client bring in two musk ox skulls that had been cleaned with beetles.
They looked good so I mounted one of them. You probably know what
started to happen three weeks later. Does anyone know how to kill
these larva beetles? I have a huge freezer to put them in but
that only slows them down. I froze them for two weeks. Help
Return to Gamehead Taxidermy Category Menu
If you can use it Borax will kill them usually in an hour. Just put some on.
Thanks I have boraxo soap that contains borax is this o.k.?
BUT I also immerse them in boiling water for about 3 minutes, drain and then freeze for about a month. The boiling process kills any and all bacteria from the beeltle cleaning process, especially if the person cleaning them did not immerse in H2O2 for a few minutes. The freezing just makes sure that everything is dead....borax has never taken care of the bacteria and smell problem from beetle cleaning. After drying the skull when out of the freezer I also run a bead of apoxy sculpt around the edges just to slow down any other things that might be happening. The way I dry them after the freezer step is to place a piece of plywood on my roof braces (structure?) (not a carpenter at all). The increased heat up at this height will surely sensure drying them out in a matter of a week.
Freezing will definately kill them. If you froze them for 2 weeks and they still weren't dead.. yer likley not keeping your freezer cold enough. If they are still alive at 2 weeks - freeze em for three! I've never had larvae alive after a week tho - thats really weird.
Whiten with 3% peroxide if you like that look. That will help kill bacteria etc as mentionned above. Even an hour will kill bacteria without whitenning the skull. Next step - Dawn. Anti bacterial grease cutting dawn. Basically ya jsut wanna wash it. It's not really to extract oils etc - its just to get the nasty smell out. Worst smelling bones I've ever encounterred was a porcupine skeleton that I macerated in a 5 gallon pail for 5-6 months. IN ITS OWN JUICES - no water! Took 3 days in peroxide and 3 washings with dawn - but now have a gorgeous clean skeleton that doesn't smell! =)
I use beetles to clean my skulls. when its time I submerse the skull in either rubbing alcohol or white gas. I've never had any problems. I've never noticed any smell afterwards either, once things dry. Hope it helps