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The Ultimate Guide to Raising Dermestid Beetles

Although they may not be seen as appealing, Dermestid beetles, also known as flesh-eating beetles, are fascinating creatures for those who value their distinct characteristics and contributions to the ecosystem. These beetles are frequently utilized in taxidermy and forensic contexts, helping to remove the remaining flesh from bones by eating it. Dermestid beetles for cleaning skulls are particularly popular among taxidermists. In this post, we will explain how to cultivate your own group of dermestid beetles.

Providing Food For Your Beetles

Although dermestid beetles are famous for their ability to clean bones, eating only bones can result in insufficient nourishment. These beetles need to consume a diet that is high in protein and fat, making fresh raw meat the best food option for them. Remember, maintaining a diverse diet improves the general well-being of your group. You can offer ingredients such as chicken, beef, fish, or even carrion, as long as they are fresh and not starting to decay. Avoid cooked meats and processed food since they can harm the beetles’ well-being.

Establishing the Proper Setting

Establishing a perfect environment for your dermestid beetles to have a thriving colony is essential. A beetle can live in an aquarium, terrarium, or a large plastic container as a suitable home. Although dermestid beetles can handle different temperatures, it is recommended to keep their environment at a constant temperature of 70-80°F for optimal breeding and feeding conditions. Avoid direct sunlight on the enclosure and, if necessary, employ a low-wattage heating pad to reach the desired temperature.

Watering Without Getting Wet

Dermestid beetles obtain moisture from their food but may require an additional water source in arid conditions. Utilizing water crystals or water gel for feeder insects can be a great way to provide moisture for your beetles and prevent mold growth caused by dampness.

Selecting a Housing Substrate

The beetles will reside and reproduce in the substrate. Dermestid beetles favor loose and dry materials that allow burrowing and breeding. Combining natural materials like wood shavings, dry leaves, or coconut coir makes an excellent foundation for your beetles’ habitat. It is important to keep the substrate dry and prevent any moisture that could promote the growth of mold, which can be harmful to the beetles.

Taking Care Of The Colony

Regular upkeep is necessary to keep a colony in good condition. Ensure the enclosure stays tidy by getting rid of old food to prevent it from rotting and be on the lookout for any indication of mold or mites, as they can greatly harm your colony if not addressed. A thriving dermestid beetle population will reproduce quickly, so don’t worry if you see more of them as time goes on.

Expanding the Colony

It requires some time for a dermestid beetle colony to develop to a size suitable for tasks such as bone cleaning. The rate of this increase is influenced by temperature, food supply, and the initial size of your beetle group. Nevertheless, when well-maintained, a dermestid beetle colony can endure for many years, offering a continuous supply of effective bone scrubbers.

Bottom Line

Breeding dermestid beetles can be a fulfilling pursuit, suitable for those passionate about biology and entomology or requiring them for tasks such as taxidermy. It allows you to witness a seldom-seen part of the natural world from the comfort of your home. By being patient and meticulous, you can guarantee your dermestid beetle colony’s long-term health and success. Remember, every beetle breeder must start somewhere, and your journey is only starting.