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What’s in my beetle tank?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by gnatboy911, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. gnatboy911

    gnatboy911 Member

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    Hey guys, So I had my colony for about 3 years successfully cleaning heads and such. Last winter/early spring I accidentally unplugged my heater for my beetle freezer and was pretty certain I killed all my beetles. It was well below freezing in there and there was zero life and movement even after an had the heater on for several days. I put some meat in there hoping for the best. After a couple weeks I saw a little movement. So, I kept adding a little meat here and there. It was getting eaten, just very very slowly. The population just didn’t seam to ever be growing, and still doesn’t. When I’d open the freezer beetles would scurry around like usual, just not many of them.

    Tonight I went out and did some digging and thorough investigation. I don’t think I have dermestids any more...or at least not the kind I had. Here is what I found....hopefully the pictures work.

    I did some internet research and here’s what I came up with. The full size beetles are definitely Larder Beetles...or Dermestes Lardarius. Part of the Dermestidae family but not what I started with. Dermestes Maculatus is what is used and sold by the ‘beetle guys’ and what I used to have.

    You’ll also see a picture of a small larvae. That is not the larvae of either the larder beetle, or the dermestid beetle I used to have. I haven’t found what type of beetle larvae that is yet.

    The other picture, you will see some very tiny beetles. These were alive, yet I am not sure what they are either.

    I’m starting to think I need to just clean out my beetle freezer well, cleaner, etc...and start over.

    Thoughts?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I think you are on track to clean it out and start over.
     
    gnatboy911 likes this.

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    The beetles and larva you show are dermestids of some type. The picture that shows a bunch of critters though .. I see things that are not dermestids and even what appears to be a click beetle. I agree, if you want to be really productive, consider starting over. Put red tape on the heater plug and flag it with a label with a big "NO!" on it.
     
    Chippers and gnatboy911 like this.
  4. gnatboy911

    gnatboy911 Member

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    Thanks for the replies. How would you recommend cleaning out the freezer? Should I spray it with some sort of insecticide to make sure they're all dead in there...then clean with bleach or some sort of cleaner? I don't want to screw things up for my future colony by using something in there that will stick around and kill the new ones.

    Maybe scoop out all the frass and such into a bag, then spray that with insecticide prior to throwing it out?

    I appreciate the advice.
     
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I would take the frass and just scatter it outside, away from the shop. If it's cold where you are, most in there will die. Birds and critters will appreciate the bug bonus and dumping them outside won't hurt anything. They are all local bugs anyway. As long as you don't have any cracks or crevices in your container where stray eggs could hide, I would just scrub it out really well with bleach/detergent mixed. If you wash, scrub and rinse repeat several times it should be ok (hot water). Wiping it down with a rag soaked in alcohol can't hurt either after you have it clean. Insecticide might be overkill. If you do, wash and scrub a whole lot extra.
     
  6. gnatboy911

    gnatboy911 Member

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    Good deal, thanks Sea Wolf for the advice.
     
  7. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    I believe you are correct what you have is commonly called “larder” beetles. At one point I had some and experimented with them. They do eat flesh but are not as efficient as the dermestids we use for skull/ bone cleaning. Nor do they seem very prolific.

    If you do what Seawolf says the outside animals will enjoy the feast. Good luck with your cleanup.... I went through something similar with my beetles. Just got enough raised up again to start cleaning again.
     
    gnatboy911 likes this.
  8. At least you didn’t get the damn HAM beetles like I just did worked hard getting my colony up in numbers for hunting season. Now I have those bastards. Lol
     
  9. Turf Workz

    Turf Workz New Member

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    I just found him Beatles and my colony as well. Any tips to getting rid of them? I heard they are detrimental to the dermestid beetles.
     
  10. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If what you found are Red Legged Ham beetles, the best thing you can do is hand pick out your adults and larva, get them into a clean enclosure and dispose of what is left far from your property (or burn it). Ham beetle eggs will be all through your bedding and you will never get rid of them. Somehow seal off your new enclosure (or your old one after you have sterilized it) to prevent them and other intruders from getting in.
     
  11. Turf Workz

    Turf Workz New Member

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    Thanks for the info.
     
  12. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I cannot keep ham beetles out of my colonies. I'm going to start from scratch, again, in hopes I'll have a couple of hot colonies by Thanksgiving.
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    An
    Any way to cover all your openings with fine mesh fabric to keep the crawlies out?
     
  14. HuntersUnion

    HuntersUnion Member

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    I would recommend hand picking only the adult beetles and not the larva. The larva of the beetle you have shown with the brown back looks exactly the same as a dermestid. Keep only beetles with white spotted under side. I have found larva in my kitchen and FREAKED out. They looked exactly like my dermestid beetle. I kept them in a jar with a bit of food for a few months. When they changed into beetle form, they were not my dermestids they were those brown backed beetles you posted. I thought they ate grain so I'm not sure why they would be in your tank however.
    Good luck, I am currently recovering from ham beetle myself.
     
  15. Turf Workz

    Turf Workz New Member

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    Dealing with ham beetles. I have a brand new freezer container that I don’t want to infect. Any recommendations on where to purchase new beetles for a reasonable price. I’m in Michigan.
     
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Google Kodiak Bones and Bugs. Ken's bugs are clean and he is fantastic to deal with. He is also a member on here.