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Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by weasel123, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I finally got a hold of an old chest freezer and I'm planning on converting it to a beetle setup.
    What are some examples that you guys have done to set these up?
    How do you heat them?
    What is your ventilation system? What type of fans do you use if so and how do you have them installed?
    Just trying to get an idea of what others have done with this. If you have pictures too, even better.
  2. This has been discussed many times on this forum. Use the advanced search link, click on "Choose a board to search in, or search all" and select only the Skulls and Skeletons board. Here are a few links to get you started:
    Leo Knol likes this.

  3. Thank you very much. Looks like I have some reading to do. :)
    Hopefully I'll post some pictures when I'm done.
  4. I'm beginning the same process right now. This will be my first beetle colony. Know very little about them except from what i've read on a few forum posts and google searches. I decided on the freezer route cause it's gets real cold around here during winter (0 thru -20F) and i'm going to be keeping them in an unheated shed so an insulated freezer with heater will be a requirement.
  5. I keep my dermestids in old chest freezers outdoors, and heat them with ceramic reptile heaters. The bugs stay nice and toasty, though it rarely gets below 10 degrees here in winter. The thing you need to watch is the humidity. When it's cold outdoors the humidity in the freezers will drop. I cover the skulls in the freezers with paper towels and lightly spray the towels with water once a day to raise the humidity. Dermestids do their best work between 30-60 percent humidity.
  6. I'm just getting started so this is probably a stupid question, but what size is best for an all-around setup? right now i have some coyote heads and a pig head to practice on (as far as cleaning/degreasing/bleaching) but i hope to do some of the local hunter's deers, bison rancher in the area, etc. Is there a standard size that folks have kind of zeroed in on that works well for the majority of projects/skulls? Should i be looking for the largest chest freezer i can find or something in the middle?
  7. Also, what system do you have in the way of ventilation Alpinist? Is the reptile heater on a thermostat or no? I have typically used reptile heat lamps in the past.
  8. icentropy - If you're planning to work on deer and bison skulls you'll need a large freezer for your beetles, especially if you think you'll have the beetles cleaning more than one at a time. If you plan to work on elk or moose you'll need to build an even larger beetle enclosure.

    weasel123 - I cut a 6x12 inch ventilation hole in two sides of each freezer and put a vent cover in each hole that I can open and close as needed. I then covered the inside of each hole with two layers of aluminum window screen with a layer of no-see-um netting sandwiched in between. I do not install ventilation fans in my freezers because it rarely gets hot enough here to need them. In your area you will need a fan in summer. Check the links I posted earlier to see how others have installed fans. Yes, the ceramic reptile heaters are controlled by thermostats. Otherwise the bugs would get roasted.
  9. that's what i figured. I was wondering how the heck folks throw a whole elk head with antlers into a freezer. I guess at that point it's time for some sort of serious metal or glass lined wood enclosure? I'm on the hunt for a non-working large chest freezer and hoping that that will suffice for a good sized deer. I don't think i'm ready for a massive custom built enclosure. maybe if i had an elk to deal with a could just leave the lid open and tarp the upper area with some sort of heavy plastic and tape. would be a pain to check on but should work right?
  10. A large chest freezer should be able to hold a couple of large deer. Craigslist is a great place to look for old freezers. Place an ad in the wanted section. You will have to compete with other folks who are looking for old freezers for scrap metal.

    Taping a tarp over an open chest freezer might be a way to make enough space for a large elk, but you would need to make sure the tarp is well sealed to keep out flies and other unwanted pests. Another option would be to cut off the antlers, clean the skull, then re-attach the antlers.