If you are maintaining a dermestid colony in heat extremes, it is critical you address the requirements of your bugs during high heat periods.

Handling High Temperatures

Dermestids can routinely handle high temperatures. However, my experience has shown that at temperatures of 100 degrees or greater, air movement becomes an increasingly important factor in keeping the bugs alive. If your colony is located in an area that cannot be cooled during extreme temperatures, a fan blowing over the top of the enclosure will alleviate some of the heat stress resulting from extreme temperatures.

Air Circulation Tips

If you have a chest-freezer type setup, a small fan can be placed inside to circulate air, or if equipped with the vent system, this might be operated more frequently. While you don’t want to be whipping up tornados in the frass, don’t be afraid to have a decent flow of air; you won’t give the bugs a chill.

Watering in Extreme Heat

In addition to air movement, the colony will likely need additional water during periods of extreme heat. If you have been routinely watering your dermestids, you may have to simply increase the frequency. If you have NOT been watering your colony, they are very likely heat-stressed and might greatly benefit from occasional watering.

Monitoring and Adjusting Water Needs

If you are not seeing signs of heat-related mortality, it may not mean you are out of the clear. Heat stress is far more likely to cause mortality of the tiny newly-hatched larvae, and higher temps and lower humidity will also very quickly desiccate the eggs, resulting in mortality.

Effective Watering Method

I advocate the “paper towel” method for watering dermestids. Lay a paper towel atop the frass and spray the towel with several pumps of water from a spray bottle. If the dermestids are thirsty, they will quickly ring the towel, drinking. Repeat this as often as necessary, letting the dermestids demonstrate how frequently they need watering.

Avoiding Overwatering

If you have a good grip on water needs, you may also simply spray the surface of the frass. However, I caution you to NOT put too much water into a dermestid colony, as mold and mites can result from overly damp condition.

Buy Your Own Dermestid Beetle Colony

Caring for dermestid beetles in hot climates requires careful attention to air movement and watering. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your colony remains healthy and productive even during extreme temperatures.

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