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Dermestid Shriveling Up?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by MadeInUSA, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. MadeInUSA

    MadeInUSA New Member

    I have a couple different colonies going and my newest acquired colony is doing something odd.

    This one was a split colony (I split in half) from a colony I purchased; I decided to keep these like pets -- they are in a 10 gallon aquarium, with heat pad, and care fresh (that paper pulp) bedding with cotton balls and some styrofoam pieces for pupating. Planned on adding decor later on as well, but wanted to keep it simple. I keep all of my colony between 75-85 degrees during the "cool" season and during summer have kept them up to 100 degrees (and they thrived!!!).

    The other half are just on the paper pulp and doing awesome, breeding, thriving, etc. This includes my other colonies. The only difference between all my colonies and this one are that they're in rubbermaid or a chest freezer, versus an aquarium.

    The ones kept as pets had a lot of beetles, they bred and most died (which I understand is the normal thing, lots of beetles, then lots of larvae at different intervals) and a ton of larvae showed up. As the other larvae are nearing pupation to adults, they would shrivel up and die instead. And it seems like it the pupae take a lot longer to turn into beetles; I pulled out some of the pupae and they shriveled up or did not 'hatch.' The only thing I can think of is that I'm not feeding them enough (scared of mites) until I am sure everything is good to go.

    No mites, no lice, no ham beetles, etc.

    Am I just caring way too much (because these are 'pets' and I just watch them) and paying too close attention or is there something going on? I've only had this colony for about 1 1/2 months. They are sprayed / misted once a day, sometimes twice, and only 2-3 times a week.

    All food is thawed out, frozen, dried out and fed.

    My other colonies are thriving. This one seems slower.

    Addition: I have been spraying ammonia on some food items, which I rarely do for this, but don't really fuss with ammonia on any other colony -- just the generic clear ammonia you get at Walmart.
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    if the other half of the colony is doing well, then what is the difference between the two?it sounds like the humidity isn't high enough.

  3. MadeInUSA

    MadeInUSA New Member

    Sea Wolf, that may be it. They are in the house and I'd like to keep the stench down so they definitely don't have as high humidity.

    The only difference is that I add more cotton balls, mist a bit less, feed more dried food (and a tad bit less than what I would feed the rest, though this is a small colony) and they live in an aquarium and I use more ammonia spray (on the food items to help them eat) then the rest.

    But I don't think humidity would be that big of a difference by only 5 - 10% off, would it?

    Than again, I also sit and pick nit every little bug.
  4. SemiRetired

    SemiRetired New Member

    I think Sea Wolf may be right on about the humidity being to low...add the fact you are also restricting moisture in food to reduce odors. As far as having a house 'pet' , you can ventilate that aquarium. If I'm not mistaken Sea Wolf has house colony that is ventilated. If you do a search in the archives for apartment colony or ventilating an colony in apartment. I reread that post a while back...an aquarium pump was used there and small computer fans can also do the job.

    One other thing, the bugs will eat what they need if it is not dried out...if it were me I'd also drop the ammonia. That is a by product of protein metabolism and it will stimulate the bugs to feed but is it necessary? There are far more healthy things to use if necessary.

    Hope this helps.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    To be force fed ammonia over and over probably is also not doing them any good. I only use it on the rare occasion that they won't eat something. Care for your *pets* the same way you have your others. Or put them back in with the good half and just call all of them pets.
  6. MadeInUSA

    MadeInUSA New Member

    LOL! I think the lack of humidity must be it.

    I only spray ammonia on the harder to reach stuff, super dried tissues, so definitely not overusing that.

    Darn, and here I thought I was going to be able to keep these buggers as awesome house pets without too much stink!

    I took them outside on the porch and will be keeping them there and raising up humidity and figuring out a ventilation system to cull down smell :) More than anything I was scared of stink and mites (caught the mites for the first time in about 8 years). All in all, it will just be trial and error! Someday I'll have an enclosure where you can keep it in the livingroom in a nice glass enclosure ;) without the stink!
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I found that every time I fed dry dog or cat foods, I got mites. Why dermestids as pets? How about Madagascar Hissing Roaches? They are big enough to be handled and are very cool. :)
  8. MadeInUSA

    MadeInUSA New Member

    I already have three types of roaches ;) Madagascars hissers (I believe short-horned) are one of them! HOWEVER, them boogers climb the glass (and while I knew this, I wasn't expecting them to reproduce quite yet; only knew they had babies when I noticed some on my walls and they did not look like the other species!!!). And I plan on more someday!

    Just really like bugs, I suppose. Figured if I'm spending as much time watching and overseeing them, it would be fun to have 'em in the house; it's getting too cold and much easier to toss 'em into a tank in the house than trot out to the work sheds from across the yard! You would really like the plan I drew out for their enclosure when I first was scheming... didn't turn out the way I wanted! Ha!

    I was just going to try dog or cat food again ;) BUT mine never fared well on it; they just usually shriveled up and didn't grow (though didn't really die)