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Dermestid Beetles - What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Rawrrosity, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. Rawrrosity

    Rawrrosity New Member


    So I have around 600 beetles (mostly larva) which I have been a wanting to use to clean a small/medium slim bodied snake.

    I’ve been doing research online, popped them in tub with bedding and then put the defrosted snake into a card board box and put that inside.

    It’s been 3 days now and they have barely started to strip it and now it’s starting to smell. They’ve made a bit of progress on the skull but that’s it really.


    - Should I have de skinned the snake?
    - Is it now too late for them to do the job?
    - If not, how long should it take?
    - Is there anything I can do to speed it up and reduce smell? (My other half is less than impressed)
    - If it’s too late, what other options do I have? I have things like mealworms and woodlice at home but I’m under the impression they damage to bone? And I need it to stay as intact as possible

    Really important as I was stripping it for someone as a memorial display for them and now I’m stressing I’ve messed it up :(

  2. Deadfish

    Deadfish New Member

    Generally you should skin anything before putting it in with your dermestids and remove as much meat as possible before hand.
    It sounds to me like you might just not have enough bugs to tackle the poject quickly.
    The smell can be reduced a bit by drying out or freezer burning the skull before hand to limit mosture and slow decomposition
    My colony can do a coyote skull in a little over a day if thats all they are working on and probably have a good bit over 1000 beetles if that gives u any frame of reference and iv got a decent number of bugs so the speed really depends on the size of colony, how hungry they are and how apetizing the meal is. Faster isnt always better also because if your bugs are too fast and hungry without enough food they have the potential to start on the bone or cartalidge you may want to keep bones held together
    They should still be able to finish your snake i would think, it will probably just take a little if theres not enough of them and it will continue to decompose and smell. Iv never personally had bugs refuse stinky decomposing meat tho, sometimes it just takes them longer, I dont think its as apetizing
    Im no expert tho! This is just what I am thinking from my own personal experiences

  3. Deadfish

    Deadfish New Member

    I think when I did a small/medium snake I had 1000 bugs maybe a little more and it took probably 3-7 days. It was quite a while ago though so my memories not spot on. I did have it skinned and dried out a bit first.
  4. woakley144

    woakley144 Active Member

    My colony can clean a deer skull in about a week if that's all they have, usually freezer burn the head after removal of as much meat & brains as possible.....
  5. ANDY

    ANDY Well-Known Member

    Go to the skulls/skeleton section , they can answer about any question you have.
  6. Yes need to remove skin and as much meat as you can with only that many beetles, and yes not enough bugs. Mine do a black bear in 2 days or less. Hope that helps