Bug Problems

Submitted by Adams Taxidermy on 10/1/1998. ( amtaxi@aol.com )

Never before have i had a bug problem untill recently.While mounting a corsican ram, i noticed bugs coming from the base of the horns. I took the time to boil the skull in lysol, but i still seem to think they are coming from the skull. Would anyone have any suggestions on what my next step should be? I,m considering bug proofing the shop, but i know that bugs are a constant nightmare to most taxidermist.Now that the ram is mounted is there a way to stop the bugs from future damage?

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Bug Problems - A Solution?

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 10/2/1998. ( ArtistExpr@aol.com )

I must start this answer with a couple of questions. 1: When you boiled the skull, did you remove the horns from the core? - and - 2: Why did you "boil the skull in Lysol"? At best, Lysol is a "bacteriacide" - it kills germs and prevents mold-growth, nothing more. Where possible (and with these animals it is possible), the skull-boiling step must be followed-through with removal of the horn-sheaths from the bony core. Obviously you realize that you only need to immerse the skull portion in the boiling water. It further helps to protect the horns by wrapping them with several layers of aluminum foil - from the tips right on down to the base. After boiling for 20 minutes to half-hour, remove the horns and skull from boiling water. Using a short-bladed knife, such as a curved-tip paring knife, insert the tip up under the juncture of the horn and the core all around the base, and loosen-up the connective tissue. Go as deep as you can, be as thorough as you can, and be careful NOT to snap the blade. When done return the skull to the boiling water for another half-hour, more or less. You may have to add more water to the pot to replace what has boiled away. If so, go ahead and put the skull in anyway and let is sit until the water returns to a boil. With the water again boiling, the addition of Sal Soda (Sodium Carbonate) to the boiling water will do much to aid in 1: cleaning and degreasing the bone during boiling: - and - 2: will assist in "facilitating" removal of the horns. This stuff causes the water to froth like crazy and boil-over, so do always boil outdoors. I use a camping-type, propane-fueled cooking burner/stand. The second or third attempt to remove the horns may do the trick. Wrap a towel around the horns, and carefully but firmly POUND the horns around the bases, working up toward the tips, with either a mallet or hammer. A mallet is preferred. Another way is to throw them down hard, onto either very hard ground or the flattened top of a tree stump. After a few hits the horns should "pop" off their cores. If not, more boiling is needed. What can you do for a head that is already mounted and "oozing" bugs? You can either contact Miller's Trophy Restoration and find out how much their de-bugging service is, or you can try this. Re-soften the top of the scalp around the horns by wrapping towels wetted with a solution of water and Rittel's "Ultra-Soft", until you can undo the stitches and open up the scalp. Remove the "infested" skull and horns from the mannikin, and proceed with the previously outlined steps. While the boiling is going on, de-bug your studio. The only way these kind of bug problems can be overcome is to not let them come in, in the first place. These kinds of bugs can be prevented by proper procedure. The only bugs I have trouble with around my studio are spiders - Eeeyyyucchh! I HATE spiders. I know - they're helpful. But they're sooooo, creepy-crawly!!! But as to the "infesting" kind of "flesh-eaters", I make sure they never get a foot-hold. This means boiling ALL skull plates (deer, etc.); not letting "meat" lay around in garbage pails; cleaning-off my fleshing beam after each use and giving it a thorough scrubbing-down after the season; and finally, wiping up any and all blood spills when they happen. You have to be vigilant. Especially if you are located in a high-humidity, high-bug content area! Well, once again I've given a long-winded answer, but I truly hope it helps. Best of luck to you. John.


"Oh - One More Thing"...

This response submitted by John Bellucci on 10/2/1998. ( ArtistExpr@aol.com )

First off, here is the phone numbers for "Miller Trophy Room Preservation & Restoration": (704)436-2001 and (704)436-9977; Fax (704)436-9166. Also, be aware that in the McKenzie Taxidermy Supply catalog #23, there are several products sold exclusively through them from the above Miller's. They are "Miller's In-Shop Bug Proofer", for buildings and NOT TO BE APPLIED DIRECTLY TO MOUNTS as it may cause staining. "Miller's Horn Treatment", applied to HORNS ONLY - up into the cores. "Miller's Deodorizer", by washing strong smelling skins in a solution of water and this product, odors are eliminated. Contact McKenzie for ordering and more information. Good Luck. John.


Yuck bugs

This response submitted by John Creager on 10/2/1998. ( Taxidermist118@hotmail.com )

Follow John B's. instructions, I go one step further after removing the sheath and cleaning thhe skull and cores, I use a large drill and remove by drilling, and cross drilling the cores. Then insert a allthread rod and pour lots of resin and bondo mix into the cores trimming as you go, never had a bug problem doing it this way. Good luck and let use know how it goes. John


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