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Sos - Red Legged Ham Beetles In My Bones!

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Katie T, Aug 15, 2022.

  1. Katie T

    Katie T Member

    I come to you all again to ask for your knowledge because I am in the verge of throwing out my bones.

    I got some beetle-cleaned bones, and they are INFESTED with red legged ham beetles! Will freezing for a week kill them, larvae and eggs and all? Or should I toss the bones??

    thank you!
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I would not toss them, no. If they are full of bugs it's obvious that the cleaning process is not done. Get a 5 gal bucket and fill it with warm water with @ 1/4 cup of Dawn detergent in it. Add a couple of cups of straight ammonia and dump in your bones. You really need to keep this heated to 115 degrees 24/7 to get the grease and oils all out but, even if you just let them sit in this for a week you will know that all the bugs and their eggs are dead. Rinse well in hot water and they will be fine. If they are not completely clean, they will just attract more bugs so it is a good idea to finish them all the way. I would also avoid using that person again. You don't want them loose in your home either. If this is something you bought online from someone, don't buy again unless you are set up and prepared to drop them into a solution like this as soon as they arrive.
    Robert Baker and Katie T like this.

  3. Katie T

    Katie T Member

    Well I’m glad there is at least hope! Unfortunately I have already taken a lot of time to paint them, is there a way to kill them without soaking them in anything? Someone else said putting them in a black trash bag in direct sun for 4-6 hours would kill everything, do you think that would work? I also didn’t notice the bugs for a while so I bought pheromone traps for the house, not cheap…
  4. PA

    PA Well-Known Member

    Greetings Katie,

    The bones you bought may not have had the red-legged ham beetles or eggs on them. Your house or the neighborhood could be supplying them. That said, freezing them for a week, then thawing a couple days and then re-freezing them will assure you no eggs or adults/larvae survived during the first freezing.

    As Sea Wolf said though, even if completely cleared of bugs and eggs, because the bones are not adequately cleaned, they will potentially draw in more species of various pests that will be attracted to the grease or tissue that remain within your bones.

    You never specified which bones you have. Long bones of larger mammals often have very heavy quantities of fat within them. Peroxide can clean the surface and appear clean, but over time the grease/fat will leak out and soak the outside again, even if painted. To be thorough, you either have to macerate or drill holes into the marrow and degrease over long periods of time to remove the fat. There is no other way.
    Sea Wolf, Robert Baker and msestak like this.
  5. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    In addition .. if the bones are full of grease, even if you really cleaned the surface before painting, as the grease from underneath makes its way to the surface the paint will bubble, discolor and peel off.

    And no, putting bugs in a black bag in the sun for 4 to 6 hours just makes warm, toasty and very active bugs. It isn't going to kill anything. As PA stated, if you have already painted them, do the freeze / thaw cycle.