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ammonia smell in beetles

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by HWF, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. HWF

    HWF Member

    What does an ammonia smell in your encloser mean?
    Thanks, Hunter
  2. wacbravo

    wacbravo TEAM WAC

    As frass builds up in the enclosure, so will the ammonia by-product it gives off. It should not be over-powering though. If the smell becomes too much, its likely time to do some "house cleaning". Regular maintenance of the tank will keep this from happening again. For now, go in and remove as much frass and debris from the tank as possible by sweeping them into a corner. Let the pile sit a bit so that bugs inside have a chance to climb out, then dispose of the pile. Also remove any substrate that has become too damp and dirty. Some other factors that might cause ammonia buildup in the enclosure include too much moisture and rotting of the skulls before the bugs finish them. Both of these variables should be addressed as they attract critters harmful to the colony.
    Best of luck,


  3. will the ammonia smell kill the beetles?
  4. mugsoy

    mugsoy New Member

    I doubt it. I have been in some beetle rooms that would just about knock you over.
  5. wacbravo

    wacbravo TEAM WAC

    Not directly. The ammonia byproduct may actually play an important part in the location of food for the beetles in the wild. Consequently, the scent may also attract unwanted and potentially harmful insects to the beetles. Further, the smell itself is a sign that something is not under control with the colony, be it moisture, cleanliness, etc. These things can directly affect the health and longevity of your colony.

    Bottom line, though, a well maintained colony should not produce a smell that would "knock you over". If all requirements of the colony are in check, the odor should be minimal. Anything more and such requirements need to be analyzed for lacking and adjusted accordingly.
  6. mugsoy

    mugsoy New Member

    As I'm sure you know, wacbravo, not all beetle rooms are well maintained. My own is relatively odor free. (As if it's perfumed!)

    I haven't been in its beetle room in a couple of years, but a major museum (that shall remain nameless) more or less dumped its specimens in a roomful of aquariums, some of which were filled nearly to the brim with frass. It was gag inducing, and the ammonia smell was very, very strong. It was definitely not a place to be Sunday morning after a few drinks Saturday night.

    MY WAY RANCH Let'er Buck

    Some off the bat caves in Texas have amonia levels so high, the guys that harvest the fertilizer where respirators. Just a bit of trivia for ya. Mike
  8. kycooner

    kycooner Set'em Up Josie

    speaking of ammonia,somehow my spray bottle got mixed up with some homemade glass cleaner (ammonia and water) water my critters for 2 weeks for i noticed it,so i can tell you definetely ammonia won't kill the bugs.