Pro Hunter Tips: What to Know When Buying Dermestid Beetles for European Mounts

Hunters from America and throughout the world favor European mounts, as they offer an inexpensive way to present and preserve your trophy. As the name suggests, European mounts became popular in Europe at a time when it was extremely difficult to preserve the animal in its own skin.

Centuries ago groups of hunters would clean the muscle and tissue from the creature’s skull and leave it exposed to the elements to be bleached by the sun.

To this day, European mounts are still one of the most popular ways of displaying trophies, and the option has even become popular in today’s interior design trends.

Even though this method of presenting trophies has continued through time, the methodology behind cleaning bones has changed. When trying to achieve a trophy that offers a clean, stylish, and classy appearance, there are two primary methods used by hunters: (1) dermestid beetles, also known as European mount beetles, and (2) boiling the skull.

Whether you are a veteran hunter and an experienced outdoorsman, or you are new to the sport of hunting, you will likely have some questions that revolve around the best way to clean trophy skulls.

Kodiak Bones and Bugs taxidermy offers high quality 100% healthy dermestid beetles for hunters in a colony setting, or in special batch sizes, that will last for decades to come, if properly cared for.

Dermestid Beetles For European Mounts

Dermestid Beetles for Hunters




Attagenus brunneus is a carpet beetle in the family Dermestidae. Dorsal view of isolated skin beetle on white background.

European Mount Beetles VS. Boiling the Skull

As an avid hunter you have likely read some various pros and cons to using both European mount beetles, and boiling the skull. However, using dermestid beetles has far more benefits than boiling. One of many reasons why hunters opt to have their European mounts cleaned using dermestid beetles is to preserve the details in those fragine, honeycomb patterned bones in the nose and around the eyes. High quality Euro mount skulls will always have these portions in pristine condition. Dermestid beetles won’t cause these brittle, sensitive bones to break or warp the way boiling does. A dermestid beetle colony from Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy will maintain the paper-thin cluster of nasal bone and those small bones around the eyes that boiling and hand-cleaning can damage. In order to have the best European skull mounts, it is critical to use beetles as opposed to boiling.

All you need to do is examine a European mount that was cleaned by a dermestid beetle colony versus one that was boiled, and you will instantly notice a difference in bone structure integrity.

How Long does it Take Dermestid Beetles to Clean a Skull?

Clearly, boiling is the faster method when it comes to removing flesh from a skull. However, any serious hunter looking to display a pristine European mount will not be focusing on time but instead on maintaining the integrity of the animal’s bone structure. Dermestid beetles will take a bit of time to completely remove all the flesh, and this time will be based on the size of the skull, how much flesh was previously removed by the hunter, and the number of beetles used. For a large skull, dermestid beetles can take up to a few days to a few weeks to remove every last bit of flesh. Avid hunters will usually maintain large dermestid beetle colonies so they have more options; they can select the size of the colony to use based on the size of the skull. When you call Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy our experts are standing by to learn about your trophies and lend a professional recommendation on the beetle colony size that would best suit your hunting profile, while giving you ample room to evolve so that you can be equipped to handle bigger trophies, and more frequent ones.

What Hunters Need to Know When Selecting a Dermestid Beetle Colony

As a hunter you rely on beetles capable of being highly efficient and producing in doing their natural job. This means you need a dermestid beetle colony that is 100 percent healthy. When speaking with a seller you will want a guarantee that your beetle colony is void of fly larvae, mites, or other common pests that can invade colonies. Sellers like Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy house beetles in modern, purpose-built enclosures that are extremely tight ensuring that no invaders can get in.

When investing in a dermestid beetle colony you will also want to ask the seller to tell you what kind of quality control efforts they employ to ensure a healthy colony ideal for hunters that demand the highest quality European mounts. If you buy from a seller that doesn’t have a quality control strategy in place, you run the high risk of buying dirty beetles that will quickly die, infect your existing colony, or perform poorly when cleaning skulls.

Finally, you will want to invest in dermestid beetles from a seller that offers detailed instructions on how to start a new colony, integrate new bugs into an existing colony, and educate you on the overall care for the bugs. As a hunter, your skills revolve around tracking and shooting your trophy; you are not expected to know how to care for the beetles that clean European mounts. However, when you partner with a dermestid beetle provider like Kodian Bugs & Bones Taxidermy, we will be your partner and guide, teach you how to raise and care for a thriving colony, and as a result your hunting skills will evolve into a whole new arena of expertise.

It is also critical to make sure you receive after-sales care. You will likely have questions, and whether shortly after your purchase, or years down the road, you face unforeseen challenges in caring for your beetles. This is why you want a provider that will always be available by phone or email to take your calls and answer your questions while giving expert advice.

Your Hunting Trophies Deserve Perfection, Call Kodiak Bones & Bugs for the Healthiest Dermestid Beetle Colonies Today!

A European mount is judged by bone integrity. Forget about boiling the skull; not only is it messy and smells, but you will likely destroy the intricate colony of bones in the nasal region and around the eyes. Kodiak Bones & Bugs offers the healthiest dermestid beetle colonies on the market, along with white glove customer service and someone on hand to answer all of your questions and give you the guidance and tools you need to be successful. Call today, and learn how our beetle colonies can elevate your European mounts into museum-quality pieces.