Looking for a book on Dermestid Beetles - Please help

Submitted by Lydia on 1/19/01. ( bygrace@libby.org ) 208.137.111.144

If you know of any book on Dermestid Beetles or a taxidermy book with a good chapter on the beetles please e-mail me. I have been unable to find anything. Thanks so much for your help.

Return to Category Menu


Look into the original literature

This response submitted by Stephen on 1/19/01. ( stephen.rogers@home.com ) 151.201.62.1

While there are a number of textbooks that summarize methods of cleaning skeletal material of vertebrates, all of the perhaps 25 basic techniques, to get a good summary of the ways to run a dermestid colony you must go to the original scientific literature. Your local library should be able to obtain copies of the papers cited below, or you could travel to the local college library which should have most of the Journals listed in this small subset of relevant articles I list below. You would be best educated by visiting an operating colony - one that is run professionally, perhaps at a University Museum or active Zoology Department.

Good Luck!

Borell, A. E. 1938. Cleaning small collections of skulls and skeletons with dermestid beetles. Journal of Mammalogy, 19:102-103

Hall, E. R. and W. C. Russell. 1933. Dermestid beetles as an aid in cleaning bones. Journal of Mammalogy, 14: 372-374

Hardy, R. 1945. Dermestid beetles for cleaning shulls and skeletons in small quantities. Turtox News, 23(4):69-70

Laurie, E. M. O., and J. E. Hill 1951. Use of dermestid beetles fro cleaning mammalian skeletons. Museums Journal, 51:206-207

Matthiesen, D. G. 1989. The curation of avian osteological collections. pages 71-110, in Notes from a Workshop on Bird Specimen Preparation, Stephen P. Rogers and D. Scott Wood Compilers. Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

McComb, N. W. n.d.(ca. 1965?) Preparing skeletons using dermestid beetles. Connecticut Valley Biological Supply Co., Inc., Southhampton, Massachusetts. 8 pp.

*Russell, W. C. 1947. Biology of the dermestid beetle with reference to skull cleaning. Journal of Mammalogy, 28:284-287.

Sommer, H. G. and S. Anderson. 1974. Cleaning skeletons with dermestid beetles -- two refinements in the method. Curator, 17:290-298.

Storer, R. W. 1988. Preparation of bird skeletons. Bird Collection Newsletter, 1:1-5.

Tiemeier, O. W. 1939. The dermestid method of cleaning skeletons. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 26:377-383.

Valcarcel, A., and D. L. Johnson. 1981. A new dermestid repository for skeleton preparation. Curator, 24:261-264.

Vorhies, C. T. 1948. A chest for dermestid cleaning of skulls. Journal of Mammalogy, 29:188-189

All these references, save one, were taken from the Taxidermologists' Handbook.

The Taxidermologist


or you can

This response submitted by Kristoph on 1/19/01. ( skinme2@aol.com ) 205.188.208.236

call Carolina Biological Supply, they sell both the beetles and a booklet


Thanks so much for the great help!

This response submitted by Lydia on 1/20/01. ( bygrace@libby.org ) 208.137.111.204

Fantastic information - thanks so much!


Return to Category Menu