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Beetle Question

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Beast+Bone, Nov 15, 2021.

  1. Hey guys, I’m new to beetles. Just got an order of a little over 2k beetles from Ken at Kodiak Bones and Bugs (highly recommend him if you need any beetles) anyways, like I said I’m new to this and got my enclosure set up and put the beetles in when they arrived. Temp is set about 77 degrees and humidity tends to stay between 40-50%. I think I over estimated what the beetles would be capable of right away and dropped in a deer skull. It was skinned, eyes and brains removed and as much meat as I could get off without trimming it for hours. So it’s been in for about 4 days now and they are working on it but not as fast as I thought they would. (I think I need more beetles). My question is now the skull is starting to dry out and I saw on here you can soak it in water and ammonia to try to motivate the beetles. Is this ok to do with a new colony? And if so is there an general ratio to follow? I used the advanced search and saw the ammonia thing come up quite a bit but could find a ratio. I really appreciate Anya device. Thanks a lot!
     
  2. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Turn up the heat to 85 and your beetles will go into overdrive!
     
    Beast+Bone likes this.

  3. Oh really? Flying isnt a concern at that temp?
     
  4. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    It’s not the beetles that eat it’s the larvae, highly temps and 75 humidity levels, will have them eating, breeding and going crazy.
     
  5. Ok great, I will turn the heat up a bit and try to get the humidity up. I was worried about too much humidity and getting mites and mold. So should I still rehydrate the skull with water and ammonia?
     
  6. 13 point

    13 point Well-Known Member

    I wouldn’t rehydrate
     
  7. Ok awesome! I will crank up the heat as soon as I get home. I really appreciate the info. Do you have suggestions on getting the humidity up? I’ve been putting wet paper towels in there and putting them into the skull. There is a raised area the beetles can’t get to I could put a bowl of water on or something???
     
  8. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    It takes a temperature of around 90 before they fly. My beetle house is air conditioned to keep a bridle on the in the summer months.
     
  9. Man I got the temp up last night and still working on g string the humidity up but I’m already noticing more activity on the skull! Thanks a lot for the help guys I really appreciate it!
     
  10. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I think they will clean up your skull without rehydration. I put gator skull in my box and forget about them. Sometimes it takes a month for the to eat all the dry skin off them, but they get it clean eventually.
     
  11. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    By the way…this is what a properly prepped skull looks like. Spend 5 minutes carving Off meat and fat after removing the brains, eyes and bottom jaw. It will greatly expedite skull cleaning. Freezer the trimmings and feed them when you don’t have skulls. Keep good records. My colony cleans a skull per day. You can see that I removed 6 ounces of trimmings. It makes all the difference in the world A95E6E1D-1D64-48BB-A256-2CEA61C30019.jpeg CC8306EB-779C-4311-A6BF-63E12628BBFB.jpeg E84EA391-A625-4125-8A68-8D813C532480.jpeg AAD1B961-000D-46BA-92EA-FCCBCAF4D50A.jpeg
     
    Beast+Bone likes this.
  12. That’s really cool! Do you have any idea how many bugs are in your colony? I noticed a pretty big difference in the skull from yesterday to today just with bumping up my heat a little but the skull has been in for about 6 days total now. Do I need to worry about it getting rancid? It doesn’t really smell spoiled when I lift the lid and they are far more active today than they have been in the past 6 days so I think they are happy with it.
     
  13. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    As Joey said, turn up your heat a bit and clean your skull properly. The more work you do to get the flesh off, the less the beetles have to and they will do a good job getting into the tight areas that you can't reach. Save all your scraps and freeze as well. Saves you trying to scrounge up food for them if you don't have a head to put in there. You can even let the meat dry out a bit in the freezer and they will still eat it. To high a humidity will bring mites so keep an eye on that. Trying to feed them dry dog or cat food will do the same in a jiffy. If you can get a few small heads like squirrels, put those in there with the brains still intact. A little bit of brain material seems to help them grow but something like a deer it has to be removed or it will putrefy into a mess from hell. Any sort of specimen you feed them, put it in the freezer for several days before feeding. This will eliminate any undesirable hitchhikers like maggots or worse.
     
    joeym likes this.
  14. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    I tried counting them once, but gave up, LOL!!! My colony has been invaded by red-legged ham beetles for a year or better. Somehow, the colony persists. The hams seem to migrate to already cleaned bone material. Hopefully, I'm keeping them in check by removing skulls and bones within a week of introduction. Everything goes back in a freezer for a few days, then on to a degreasing solution.
     
  15. So my skull is still in with the beetles…..is this too long? The beetles seem to still be working on it so I’m assuming I should just leave it alone until they are already done?
    I also noticed something else today related to the skull. I took it out to check and see how much material was left on it and I noticed on what would be the roof of the mouth a long crack. This deer had two broken antler tips when it was killed ands it’s front teeth on the mandible were broken also…..do you think this crack could have happened when the teeth and antler were damaged (maybe hit by a car and survived?) or in the beetle enclosure? It hasn’t been dropped or anything but didn’t know if bone cracking was something that could happen?
     
  16. steve torna

    steve torna New Member

    24
    11
    Montana
    It is likely that the "crack" you are seeing is actually a suture (junction where two bones come together). Once processed and while the bone remains saturated with liquid, simply place rubber bands tightly around the skull until the sutures are closed and allow the skull to dry with the rubber bands in place.
     
  17. I don’t think it’s a suture. I’m talking about the crack on the left side of this skull
     

    Attached Files:

  18. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    Looks like a fracture from trauma. Typical of most roadkill creatures
     
    Beast+Bone likes this.
  19. That’s what I was thinking. That combined with the other signs of trauma. This deer was killed by my brother this deer season. It’s amazing what these animals can live with!
     
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Would say those cracks came from a very large boot to the head. If that animal was alive and walking around when your brother killed it I'm impressed.