Connect with us


A Beginner’s Guide To Flesh Eating Beetles



Dermestid beetles, also called flesh eating beetles, are essential in the natural decomposition process. This guide offers an overview of the biology, behavior, and care of these intriguing insects for those interested in learning more or using them for tasks like skeleton cleaning.

Understanding Dermestid Beetles

Dermestid beetles are part of the Dermestidae family and are well-known for their skill in cleaning carcasses through eating flesh and other soft tissues. This makes them extremely useful for museums, taxidermists, and forensic scientists who require bone cleaning without causing harm. Dermestes maculatus is the most frequently employed species for that objective.

Natural Habitat and Behavior

Dermestid beetles are commonly found in a range of habitats such as forests, grasslands, and urban areas when in their natural habitat. They do well in arid environments and are commonly found in bird nests, animal burrows, and sometimes even in human residences with dried organic matter. The lifecycle of these beetles involves a full metamorphosis, beginning as eggs, developing into larvae, and then maturing into pupae prior to becoming adults. The larvae are very hungry, eating dried meat, skin, feathers, and hair with enthusiasm. Adults also consume decaying organic matter but are more active and have the ability to fly.

Setting Up a Dermestid Beetle Colony

Beginning a colony of dermestid beetles can be satisfying for individuals engaged in bone preparation or research. Here is the way to begin:

Enclosure: To avoid potential breakouts, select a sturdy enclosure, like a fish tank or a sealed plastic container. Install small mesh screens to ensure proper airflow.

Substrate: Utilize a dry material such as shredded paper, wood shavings, or Styrofoam as a substrate for the beetles to crawl on and undergo pupation.

Temperature and Humidity: For best results, keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 degrees Celsius). Maintain a low humidity level, approximately 50%, to avoid mold and mite infestations that could harm the colony.

Food Source: Offer a consistent provision of preserved meat or animal bodies. At first, small dried fish or chicken pieces are appropriate. As the colony expands, bigger carcasses can be added.

Cleaning: Consistently clean up frass (waste from beetles) and any leftover food to keep things tidy and avoid smells.

Care and Maintenance

Keeping a healthy dermestid beetle colony requires careful consideration of multiple factors.

Feeding: Guarantee an ongoing food provision. If their food supply is limited, Dermestid beetles may resort to cannibalism.

Temperature: Sustained warmth is essential for quick reproduction and activity. If necessary, use a heat lamp to maintain the necessary temperature.

Ventilation: Good ventilation stops mold growth and promotes a thriving community.

Pests: Watch out for mites and other pests. In case of infestations, make sure to clean the enclosure deeply and think about adding new beetles to revitalize the colony.

Bottom Line

Dermestid beetles are both interesting organisms and highly beneficial in a variety of scientific and practical uses. By comprehending their requirements and actions, you can effectively care for a colony and support research, education, and preservation efforts. Regardless of whether you are a hobbyist, a professional, or just curious, these beetles provide a special opportunity to observe the complex processes of nature.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *