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Are my beetles in a bust cycle?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Hungry Bear, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Hungry Bear

    Hungry Bear New Member

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    I have had my colony going for about 8 months. They have been eating deer skulls in about 3 days. The last one I gave them took a little longer. I thought maybe because it was not as fresh as some of the others. I then gave them a coyote that had some freezer burn on the muzzle, they took almost a week to clean that. I even misted with ammonia and water although at first I think I had too much ammonia in the spray bottle. There are no signs of mites but seem to be less beetles than before. I did an advanced search and found a few posts about the beetles going through bust cycles. Does what I am experiencing sound like that? They are kept in an an aquarium in a chest freezer with 2 thermostat controlled ceramic heaters which keeps them between 79 and 81 degrees. The humidity varies between 15 and 25% as the freezer is in an unheated garage. I mist them at least twice a day to try to keep the humidity higher. I read on one post to increase the temp to close to 85 (aquarium is covered with screen so they cant fly out) so i did that and added a tub of water outside the aquarium to try to increase the humidity. Is there anything else I should do? Thanks for any input.
     
  2. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    You seem to be doing everything right. You can try to put several layers of paper towels to cover the skull. Spray the paper towels and wet them so they hold water but do not drip water. The paper towels should dry out throughout the day. This may help the smaller nymphs stay in a more humid environment. Make sure you do not wet the entire tank as it may cause mites or other unwanted inhabitants.

    In my dermestid enclosures I use plastic containers with one side cut down and a ramp to allow the beetles to climb in and out. This will catch any dripping ooze that may otherwise contaminate your bedding.

    My original post on this method:
    http://www.taxidermy.net/forum/index.php?topic=377250
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    "Look through the frass and see if you have a lot of larva that are active. You might find a lot that are getting ready to molt and not moving. If so, it's in a cycle and you should soon have a lot more. I think you would see this in a colony where the bugs are all the same age. They will all do the same thing at the same time.
     
  4. Hungry Bear

    Hungry Bear New Member

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    Well things looked better this morning. Temp was 84 and humidity at 30%. Tons of movement and they had made a good dent in a deer skull I gave them last night. I did put a damp papertowel over the over the skull so that probably helped.

    Loki, Thanks for the input. I looked at you link and I like that idea. I am going to have to try that with the mesh and ladder. I have to search for a weasel skull they carred off.

    Sea Wolf, over the weekend when I looked there was not much movement which had me worried. Late yesterday I noticed more movement and much more this morning. There were also a bunch of little larva about 1/8 to 1/4 inches.
     
  5. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Glad to hear - the link I provided in my last comment showed pictures with the lid off when it's cold out and the humidity is low I drop the plastic lids back on the containers with the damp paper towels so it holds more moisture longer. The key is having enough moisture that the little ones are happy but not so much that they stay wet. Also keep in mind humidity in the air also traps heat better.