Dermestid beetles, also flesh-eating beetles, are popular among taxidermists, naturalists, hunters, and hobbyists. These small insects are known for their ability to clean bones, fur, and feathers of any flesh, making them a valuable tool in preparing specimens. However, keeping dermestid beetles as pets or for work requires proper care. In this article, we will go over the essentials of dermestid beetle care for hunters and other related professionals.
The first step in caring for your dermestid beetles is to provide them with a suitable habitat. A plastic container with a secure lid is an ideal housing for these insects. The container should have a size of at least 10-20 gallons and ventilation holes drilled into the lid. The beetles need a place to live, so you will need to provide them with a substrate to burrow in. This can be done with a mixture of peat moss and vermiculite or a mixture of sawdust and wood shavings.
Dermestid beetles are very sensitive to temperature and humidity. They need a temperature of around 70-75°F and relative humidity of around 70%. You can maintain these conditions by using a heat lamp and a humidifier. If you do not have these items, you can place the container in a warm, moist area such as a bathroom or basement.
Dermestid beetles feed on various materials, including carrion, plants, and wood. You can feed your beetles by placing a piece of meat, such as a chicken wing or a piece of liver, in the container. You can also provide them fresh greens, such as lettuce or carrot tops, to keep them healthy. It is important to keep the food fresh and to remove any leftovers promptly to avoid attracting mold or other harmful organisms.
Water is also essential for the beetles, but they do not need much. A small water container can be placed in the container, but it should be kept clean and refilled regularly. You should also avoid over-watering as this can cause mold and bacteria to grow.
When handling your dermestid beetles, it is important to use caution. Although they are safe, they can easily become stressed if handled too roughly. When transferring them from one container to another, it is best to use a scoop or spoon to avoid crushing the beetles.
If you are looking to breed your dermestid beetles, it is important to provide them with the right conditions. They need a temperature of around 70-75°F, relative humidity of around 70%, and a food source. You can breed your beetles by placing a male and female beetle together in a container. The female will lay eggs in the substrate, and the larvae will hatch and begin to feed.
In conclusion, caring for dermestid beetles requires providing them with the right housing, temperature, humidity, food, and water. They are easy to care for and can provide hours of entertainment and educational opportunities. Whether you are using them for hunting, taxidermy, natural history, or as pets, it is important to follow these guidelines to keep your beetles healthy and happy.