DERMESTID BEETLES - Time to collect

Submitted by Raven on 06/25/2004 at 18:26. ( ) d150-166-254.home.cgocable.net

Just thought I'd remind anyone interested in doing osteological preparation via dermeste usage.. now is the time to get out there and start flipping road kill. Sure you can buy starter colonies if you like, but they are SO expensive. I am rebuilding my colonies again and acquired a small amount today for that purpose. Out of curiousity I priced the quantity of larvae I have - and as best I can figure - I scooped up about $40 US worth of larvae in under 2 minutes.

When collecting wild stock - be sure to quarantine your harvest. Keep your new stock in a separate enclosure from existing colonies. Also follow the number 1 rule of humidity control.. keep your substrate dry and your specimen wet. Keep relative humidity at or just below 50%. Keep sustrate less humid. With a dry substrate - mites cannot propogate. A month in quarantine should be sufficient - if in doubt - quarantine longer. You can also manually remove any mites present via small pins and magnifying glasses etc if you have the time, patience and meticulous hand required. If you do detect a large quantity of mites - consider finding a new 'coon or groundhog to find an uninfected source.

When identifying larvae - the optimal specie so acquire is "Dermestes maculatus". ID the adults by looking for small beetles with a uniform dark colour and light bellies. Larvae will be hairy, up to 3/4 inches in length, overall reddish brown above, light underneath, with a lighter stripe running the length of the body dorsally. This particular specie when in adult form cannot fly at temperatures under 80-85 degrees, making it easy to work with the colony under air conditioned or cooler temperatures.

I had a few minutes and just answered another beetle post and having just acquired new stock today I thought it was a good time to remind all you budding entomo/osteo prep folks to start looking for these pricey little critters under your favourite roadside casualties =)

Have fun bugging! 8)

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Thanks Raven

This response submitted by Scott on 06/26/2004 at 00:40. ( ) 170.224.224.134

As usual, your info is very helpful. I was just getting ready to order some more beetles from Conn. Valley since mites killed my other colony. I have two questions. I know dermestid beetles are in roadkill in N.Mex., Neveda, and places like that. I live in a desert environment in CA. Are they here as well? There are times around here where there are health warnings against shooting, or going near carcasses of fur bearers because the fleas and ticks carry lyme disease and sometimes bubonic plague. How do you guard against that?


Everywhere

This response submitted by Raven on 06/26/2004 at 08:52. ( ) 24.150.166.254

Even though you may not have Dermestes maculatus, you will have SOMETHING! They are even in the interior of Australia! Every place you find animals in non-arctic terrestrial environments willhave some sort of flesh eating bug to go along with bacteria. These thigns clean up carcasses and without them the world would be a very messy place ;) Most palces do have D. Maculatus tho and they shoudln't be too hard to find. These 'hide beetles' may be confused with 'larder beetles'. The adults of larders have a whitish band through the middle with 3 spots on each wing covering. The larvae have backward pointing spurs on the very tip rather than the forward pointing ones of the hide beetle. I've never used the larder (or lard) beetles for osteo prep, but have read about other people who have.

Also - don't be concerned with convention. If you find bugs eating a carcass... they are flesh eating bugs - make sense? LOL! So even if it's unconventional, grab some up and experiment with them. I've used fly maggots before to great effect (though they tend to be messy eaters). Ants can also produce OK results, especially if you tempt them by adding sugar to the water when misting the meat to keep it moist (a lil tip to pass along - one of my own ideas).

As for safety stuff? If you a concerned about it - be sure to cover any areas of exposed skin to prevent bites. Work upwind of the kill to prevent breathing in bacterial spores or insect detritus. When at home - try to work outdoors with a fan set up to blow stuff AWAY from you and again - keep covered up etc.


Everywhere

This response submitted by Raven on 06/26/2004 at 08:57. ( ) 24.150.166.254

Even though you may not have Dermestes maculatus, you will have SOMETHING! They are even in the interior of Australia! Every place you find animals in non-arctic terrestrial environments willhave some sort of flesh eating bug to go along with bacteria. These thigns clean up carcasses and without them the world would be a very messy place ;) Most palces do have D. Maculatus tho and they shoudln't be too hard to find. These 'hide beetles' may be confused with 'larder beetles'. The adults of larders have a whitish band through the middle with 3 spots on each wing covering. The larvae have backward pointing spurs on the very tip rather than the forward pointing ones of the hide beetle. I've never used the larder (or lard) beetles for osteo prep, but have read about other people who have.

Also - don't be concerned with convention. If you find bugs eating a carcass... they are flesh eating bugs - make sense? LOL! So even if it's unconventional, grab some up and experiment with them. I've used fly maggots before to great effect (though they tend to be messy eaters). Ants can also produce OK results, especially if you tempt them by adding sugar to the water when misting the meat to keep it moist (a lil tip to pass along - one of my own ideas).

As for safety stuff? If you a concerned about it - be sure to cover any areas of exposed skin to prevent bites. Work upwind of the kill to prevent breathing in bacterial spores or insect detritus. When at home - try to work outdoors with a fan set up to blow stuff AWAY from you and again - keep covered up etc.


Thanks Raven

This response submitted by Rob on 06/27/2004 at 06:35. ( ) 216.96.110.131

I often wondered if the small brown beetles I have seen on roadkills were the famed Demestid beetle.


Thanks Raven

This response submitted by Rob on 06/27/2004 at 06:40. ( ) 216.96.110.131

I often wondered if the small brown beetles I have seen on roadkills were the famed Demestid beetle.


beetles

This response submitted by D mcgarey on 06/28/2004 at 23:12. ( dave1970mc@aol.com ) 205.188.113.186

How do you keep these beetles at home Aquqrium w/lid? and what do you feed them when your not using them? also how many do i need for a colony?


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