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Thread: Beetle Colonies

  1. #1
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Beetle Colonies

    Does anyone have the contact information of anyone in the Anchorage area that has a beetle colony? I've heard of a guy in Peters Creek but haven't been able to come up with a phone number. I'm looking to get some moose skulls cleaned up so they would have to be set up for that, any help would be appreciated, thanks!

  2. #2
    Member Roger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Sunshine Alaska


    Buy your own colony do it yourself . For as little as $15 for 100 beetles or 1000 of the little guys for around $50 that will do deer and bear size skulls until the colony grows.But you can buy 2000 of them for moose for aroun $100 Drop me a P.M I'll tell you where to get them if you want to do it yourself..

  3. #3
    Member stevelyn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Fairbanksan in Aleutian Hell


    One of my buds and I are going to experiment with sand fleas to clean up his wolf skull and a fox skull I took this year.
    Now what ?

  4. #4


    sea lice works perfect if the skull is fairly fresh. Not good on freeze dried skulls

  5. #5
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Anchorage, Alaska

    Default Dermestid beetle colonies

    I would research this very carefully before you commit. We had a discussion a while back about this (do a search for dermestid beetles) and the general tone from folks who have done it is that it is very challenging. I've never done it, but it appears that there's a LOT more to it than just dumping some bugs into an aquarium and watching them work.

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  6. #6

    Default I have beetles

    I have a colony of dermestid beetles. They are a fun hobby. I have had good luck with mine. I am currently making a larger dermistorium for them to live so that I can clean trophy moose/bou skulls. I think there are more efficient ways of cleaning skulls, but for the absolute best quality skull there is no other way. The Smithsonian museum cleans all their specimens this way! I would recomend that if you use the sea lice method beware of the risks. I used to clean skulls this way, it works, but the sea is an unforgiving place and there are risks associated. The teeth are another concern. The teeth will fall out no matter what method you use, make sure not to loose the teeth. Anyhow, just a couple of things to think about. PM me if you want to discuss this more.
    Pick A Spot

  7. #7


    IMO, it is not worth having your own colony unless it can generate some income. They need to be kept warm constantly to be active and reproduce, but not too hot or it will kill them. They need a certain amount of air circulation, if it gets damp they will die. To keep a colony consistently in the 80s means providing a heat source or keeping them in a very warm place in the house. If you do the house thing and allow the necessary air circulation then you end up with a stinky house. These are the same beetles that severely destroy hides, horns, mounted heads, and certain fabrics. Have one of the attracted errant flies distribute the eggs on your Muskox mount and you're gonna have a huge problem.

    You need a large active colony to get the job done quickly and its a very stinky proposition. If the colony is not big enough then things start to rot and it makes the material wet. A few years ago I killed off the entire colony, after caring for them all winter in the house by putting them in the shed and having it get too hot. It was frustrating because I put a lot of time and energy into creating an environment to grow the colony. For me it is better to let somebody else deal with them.

  8. #8


    No familiarity with the species but years ago Outside, we used to find an ant's nest and would stake a deer rack with the whole skull to it and in a matter of a week or two, it was picked clean. Brains and all, no evidence of tissue. No ants here though.


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