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Thread: Help, My Beetles are Hurting,

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Help, My Beetles are Hurting,

    I came back from recent hunting, been blowing out of the North,

    and my Dermestid Beetle colony has been out in the garage,
    They were not moving at all, like they were frozen in place, still all over the Blacktail rack, skull I had in there but not moving.
    I had a gunsafe heater/defroster in there to try to keep it above 70F but moved them to a larger container and I think it got too cold.

    I warmed them up, and a few started moving, but they have this white stuff under their bellies and now i am wondering if I gave them a salty Skull to work on as the recent Blacktail rack had sat out on the top of the house of the boat for a couple weeks on return from out west, may have got pretty salty, didn't soak it just stuck it in there for them.

    They haven't been very aggressive on that, after cleaning up a Bear and Fox skull really nice.

    Any ideas, what should I do for them? They're in a warmer spot now and I'm feeding them hotdogs, pulled the Deer skull for now.
    I have an Elk skull I want to introduce but maybe need to let them recover a bit?
    Here's some shots of my set-up and the bugs in happier days
    I'll do a thread on this later but any ideas for a better setup?





    So also I'm soaking the Deer skull, it's only about thirty percent finished, hoping to save them and set them back at it, it's really dried out now, hard to imagine them going after it, should I soak it then try again after drying for a day or so?
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  2. #2
    Member HuntKodiak's Avatar
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    Al, have you contacted Ken Hansen? He's a friend of mine and runs Bones & Bugs Taxidermy here in Kodiak. His phone number is 942 2847.

    I'm sure he'll help you figure out what went wrong. He's been cleaning skulls with his bugs for many years.

    Periodically I take him some waste styrofoam and empty coffee cans. I think he uses the styro foam for the larvae to bore into and molt into beetles, and plastic coffee cans make for good shipping containers. He sells bugs too should you need to re-stock.

    Ken also posts some good on his web site, http://www.bonesandbugs.com

    Mike

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Thanks Hunt, yeah Ken is who I bought my Beetles from, I'm gonna call him first thing Mon morn.
    Thanks for the phone #, saves me having to find his card from somewhere in my stuff.

    he's an excellent guy by the way for others out there interested in trying this out, pretty fun and Ken will give you all the info you need.
    I just need some advice on how to keep them outside, (they are a bit smelly) and thought some forum members might have ideas on how they are using Beetles without a heated shop outside to keep them in which I imagine Ken has for his business.

    I have them inside now (the church basement if you can believe that)and they are warming up and seem to be all alive, hoping to find an idea for outside storage til they work my Elk skull now.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    KR, how much does a guy have to invest to start a colony like that? Also, how much 'supply' do they need to keep going strong?

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    It's actually stunningly cheap and easy to set up, Can't remember exactly but I think it was $30 or very close to that to get a starter amount of Beetles, (around 3-500 bugs). Then you need a tupperware (slick so they can't climb out) container big enough for your skull to sit down in, I made a screen top for nothing, had screen laying around tho you hardly need that as they won't be able to climb out of your container.
    Ken advised me that using an aquarium they will climb the silicone in the corners and out they go (which is true, I tried it, for about fifteen minutes)

    Then used some shavings from a little Chainsaw work for medium (an inch deep or so), few scraps of styrofoam for their germinating or whatever they do in there, they turn from larvae to mature beetles, inside a hole they bore in there, but any styrofoam will do, your last computer packing or something similar

    Throw in a split and dried out hot dog for their first few meals, and they start reproducing right away. Insert air dried for a few weeks Skull,

    It's virtually a freebie, and they are reproducing at a great rate,
    I'll do a thread on my project soon with details of Bear and Fox skull they worked for me so far, Very Impressive, fun for the kids, bit smelly, not as bad as Rotting it off in your back yard tho, believe me. They flat out polish it off, no trying to spray or blow out the liquefied Brain Tissue, they chow it all.
    I've had em since July I think and they have been happy with about three hotdogs total, in between one Black Bear, One Fox, skull, two Bear leg bones that had a little scrap on them, and are about a third of the way through a Deer skull.
    Not much maintenance, keep em warm (70F-80F), toss in a moist papertowel now and then to keep hydrated, they take care of themselves beyond that.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    One thing to remember with beetles is they will destroy your trophies, if they escape and get to your bear rugs, mounts ect....


    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    So you're good to go if ya keep 'em contained? Sweet! I look forward to the info thread!

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    So ow do you remove the antler so that it will fit in the tote?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Well, this tote is the one I used for the Black Bear and Fox skulls, stuck two bear legs bones in there for kicks, fit fine, this is just after introducing to the Beetle Colony, I'll post results later, Really Came out Nice, I'm soaking all this stuff (after end of Beetles stage) product in Soapy water now for another week or so to remove all oils from skull, but those Beetles just about brought all that blood out of the jaw there completely, amazing



    then for the Blacktail rack I have I moved them to an old trash can, just put the saw chips medium in there, actually poured the whole colony in there and they were fine with that as I hung the Gun Safe Heater pictured above also in the can to keep the heat up.
    As mentioned, they may not have kept warm enough so now I am putting together a larger tote to get the Deer finished and moved nside.
    For the Elk rack I hope to get them working on I am thinking I'll just use screen material taped tightly to the base of the rack and use a small tote, just large enough to fit the skull (top half for euro mount) hopefully they'll not escape.

    I did get a tip from DieNqvrs, (fairly expert guy on all this), that you can drill a pilot hole (for repositioning the rack to skull later) then cut them off, do the beetles on skull thing, then reattach with screws through the old pilot holes.
    I'm a little nervous about that so hoping to pull it off without removing.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  10. #10
    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    One thing to remember with beetles is they will destroy your trophies, if they escape and get to your bear rugs, mounts ect....
    Yiikes I hope that is not first hand information.

    I have heard that the colonies can be smelly, has anybody noticed that to be an issue?
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    YES, Moosehead, they are Definitely smelly, couldn't have them in your basement unless you wife is Tough then when they are starting on a skull, stuff like Brain matter comes draining out and whewwwww, it ain't pretty but tolerable outside, for a while. Then they will chow that stuff pretty quick and it goes back to just about as bad as a wet dog.

    and it is true, you can't have them escaping, they're meat eaters and your leather stuff all over might go missing or get real thin. Hard to imagine that kind of escape but you won't be having them in your house once you get a whif of your colony anyway.
    Gotta be an outside heated shop or something. But it's not hard to contain them as they can't climb slick plastic at all. I've had no problems at all.

    That's the reason for my original post, How are guys doing this, as you gotta keep them warm ideally 78F or so to keep them working. I had mine out in an unheated shop, Kodiak temps of 50F or so with a gunsafe heater/dehunmidifier in there and they really shut down when it dropped to less than 65F in their little home.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  12. #12
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Kodiak, I'm surprised you're not letting sand fleas do the work for you. Sounds like the beetles are lots of fun, though.

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