I am interested in getting some dermestid beetles for my taxidermy work. where is the best place to get them from ? what's the best thing to keep them in, feed them, etc ? any help would be greatly appreciated !
feel free to email me if you have some good info !
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It's warming up in most places now... the absolute best thing for you to do at this point is start saving old carcasses and road kill.
Once it warms up a bit more unless you are somewhere in the south where it's already warm), find locations to plant these carcasses in a wood frame screen covered box (large holed screen like hardware cloth or chicken wirre - not window screen). Stake it to the ground so coons and other critters dont bugger off with them... then let the bugs at it. Learn to identify dermestes and just pick them off with forceps or tweezers when you see them and build your collection that way. Not only is it more affordable, but it will also yield a colony MUCH faster than purchasing livestock. It takes months to develop a hot colony that can adequately prep osteological material from a starting culture that you purchase. By setting up carcasses in various spots, you can build up a colony several hundred strong in a little over a week. If you suspect people will tamper with your boxes, do the same thing ony use just road kill - leave the fur on it and dont screen them in. Place them in areas that it looks very natural like a true naturally dead animal.
Be sure when doing your collecting to grab them in all stages of life including very small instars (growth stages). Adults are necessary for propagation as well. Bear in mind that the larval stages do most of the eating.
For housing and husbandry practices, consult the archives for further reading - or download the information document from Carolina Biological Supply. If after that you have specific questions you can always post again or email me if you like.
On a related note - you may wish to look up 'maceration' in the archives. In many ways it is superior to even dermestid cleaning. The one draw back is that it is VERY thorough in cleaning so if you wish to do fully articualted small skeletons - it is NOT the way to go as it will eat cartilige etc. For skulls however it's hard to beat =)
Hope that helps =)
i have never once in my life seen a beetle on a carcas down here in alabama i have only seen flies and maggots so are you sure that they are even down here ? thanks
Look harder and more often as well as different times during decay.
Yes they are there.
i'm just looking for any inforamtion on dermestid bettles for personnal use as a hobby. thanks for any information.