click on 2nd bear for larger view




we have been getting many calls from people who have bought beetles from E-bay and wanted our advice. They thought they were getting a good deal, but the nature of these calls were concerning other bugs/parasites that were also in their beetles when they arrived. We know of 2 e-bay sellers who's beetles are infected with mites. You may not notice the mites unless you look with a dissecting scope or good Magnifying Glass. Colonies with mites will survive for awhile, but will not make a long-term sustainable population. We guarantee our bugs are mite free. If you are looking to buy from other sellers, ask them if they guarantee their beetles are free of these parasites.

Because ADULT beetles (egg laying) are necessary to immediately build a population, make sure you are getting plenty of adults when you buy bugs. Many businesses will sell you mainly small larvae which will not increase your colony size until they reach adulthood and lay eggs. This could take up to 2 months before you have any new hatchlings in your colony.
Many businesses will tell you 100-300 beetles and larvae are enough to immediately begin cleaning skulls. This may be true if you were cleaning mice skulls, but to clean big game animals, you need thousands of beetle larvae. To attain numbers this high it takes time to build your colonies. Do not be fooled by people claiming you can build a working colony in a few weeks from a handful of larvae. Getting adult beetles is the key, and even if you started with 500 adults, it would take a month before all the baby larvae were big enough to eat large volumes of meat.
The number one reason people buy their beetles from us is that we continue to help and support our customers whenever they have a question about beetle care, skull cleaning, degreasing, whitening and mounting.
We have been cleaning skulls with Dermestid beetles for 15 years, and have experience with virtually all game species. We do a LARGE volume of skulls and have the answers to your skull taxidermy questions.

All of our beetle customers get a 10% discount on our whitening products and on our skull metallizing services

Most people boil skulls until the meat literally falls off. While cooking, the melted fat soaks into the bone. This results in greasy yellow skulls. Using beetles eliminates this problem.

The dermestid or carpet beetle belongs to the family Dermestidae. Dermestids feed on dry-moist animal material. There are many species of Dermestid beetles that are native to N. America and will invariably show up at a carcass. Domestic colonization of wild species has proven to be very difficult at best. The species most easily colonized is Dermestes maculatus. These beetles undergo complete metamorphosis; that is, egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. The complete life cycle lasts about 45 days per generation. Adults (beetle looking), lay eggs which are too small to be seen with the naked eye. A few days later very small larvae hatch out which begin looking for their first meal. The larvae continue eating and molting 8 times before they reach about of an inch in length. This growing/molting period lasts about 30 days. It is the larvae that do the majority of the cleaning. The large larvae then find a quite spot and pupate. As they pupate their last outer larvae skin falls off leaving them somewhat yellow in appearance. 7 days later out comes an adult. Within a day or two the adult is laying 4-5 eggs a day and the whole process begins anew. The adults live for about 3 months

Once a dermestid beetle colony is well established (2-3 months), a deer skull can be cleaned in a day or two. Colonies can become extremely productive. The bear skull pictured above was cleaned by the beetles in less than 24 hrs.

Easy containers are plastic bins bought from large department stores. These bins last a year or so and cannot be beat at roughly $10 each. Heated sheds or heat lamps can keep your colonies warm during the winter months.

Maintenance is at a minimum to keep the colony healthy, the only drawback is the smell that a colony can create. A discrete location or some ventilation is a must. The beetles perform best at 70 - 80 degree temperatures, so keeping them warm is a must. They do not go dormant if temperatures drop below freezing, they die.

There are 2 options for purchasing dermestid beetles:

When you purchase our #1 "STARTER KIT" we will include:
1. An assortment of 200+ live adult beetles,larvae, and pupae. We guarantee a minimum of 50 adults which are necessary to begin new colonies.
2. Plenty of bedding material that the beetles prefer to lay their eggs in.
3. 2 pages of instruction on how to construct/maintain your colony.
$55.00 + $12.50 shipping/handling

When you purchase our #2 "SUPER STARTER KIT" we will include over 1000 bugs!:
1. An assortment of Over 1000 adults,larvae, and pupae. Equiv. of over 5 #1 kits (over $100 savings)
2. Plenty of bedding material that the beetles prefer to lay their eggs in.
3. 2 pages of instruction on how to construct/maintain your colony.
This Kit will get you cleaning skulls in 3-4 weeks.
this option is will also enable you to start multiple colonies at once.
$230.00 + $16.50 shipping/handling

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Allow up to 7 business days for arrival (very cold temps will delay orders, we will e-mail you if your order is delayed)

We cannot ship out of country (sorry Canada)
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#1 Beetle Kit   $67.50
Standard Beetle Kit with 200+ beetles/instructions/bedding
Over 5 #1 Kits. For speedy colony generation or multiple colonies

Money Order or Personal Check to:
Skull Taxidermy
1208 Kentucky St.
Deer Lodge, MT 59722

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