Processing Skulls with Bugs for Taxidermy Purposes

Goat skull with horns

Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy is your source for dermestid beetle colonies and professional skull cleaning services. We utilize the most effective methods for processing skulls to carefully remove the flesh while preserving delicate structures. We also provide access to dermestid beetles for individuals and other taxidermists for taxidermy skull cleaning.

Processing Skulls with Dermestid Beetles

Processing skulls is usually done with one of two methods—boiling or using dermestid beetles. We prefer the latter because using dermestid beetles to remove the flesh off the skull is much more efficient and effective than boiling.

In addition, boiling can damage skulls and destroy delicate structures. Whereas the beetles do not affect the delicate structures, so they remain intact. Dermestid beetles only eat flesh and are the preferred method for obtaining the highest-quality skull cleaning results.

Furthermore, dermestid beetles can be used to clean skulls and bones for a wide range of animals, including:

  • Elk
  • Deer
  • Bears
  • Caribou
  • Moose
  • Rams
  • Gazelles
  • Fish
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits

Taxidermy Skull Cleaning Steps

Several steps are required to effectively clean skulls to prepare them for European mounts or taxidermy finishing.

Step 1: Remove the flesh using dermestid beetles.

The first step is to allow the beetles sufficient time to remove all the flesh from the skull thoroughly. This process can take several days to several weeks to complete depending on the dermestid beetle colony size.

Step 2: Degrease the skull.

After the beetles have completed their work, the next step is to remove any remaining grease from the bones. Grease is a byproduct of fat. If it is not removed, it can cause staining and discoloration to the skull.

Degreasing the skull can take a few weeks or longer to remove all the grease entirely. We utilize various degreasing agents that will not damage the skull or delicate structures.

Step 3: Verify the skull has been fully cleaned.

We take the time to carefully examine the skull to ensure it has been fully cleaned and all flesh and grease have been removed.

Step 4: Whiten the skull.

When creating a European mount, it is vital to whitening the skull. This process involves using whitening agents that brighten up the skull while not harming its structural integrity.

Step 5: Return the skull to you.

Once we finish processing the skull, we will notify you we are ready to return it. We verify your delivery address and provide a tracking number. We use priority mail to get the skull back to you quickly.

Buy Dermestid Beetles for DIY Taxidermy Skull Cleaning

At Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy, we also sell dermestid beetle colonies for individuals that want to try their hand at DIY taxidermy skull cleaning. Our colonies are guaranteed 100 percent healthy with no fly larvae, pests, or mites, and consist of both beetles and larvae.

We also sell our healthy colonies to other taxidermists, museums, universities, schools, youth organizations, and artisanal skull cleaning businesses.

All of our beetle colony shipments include written instructions for setup, maintenance, and growth of the colony. We also provide details on how to prepare and clean skulls. Our goal is to assist you, and help you avoid costly mistakes beginners can make.

Even after the sale, we are happy to provide additional support. We are available to answer any questions you may have. We want to ensure the success of your dermestid beetle colony and your first time processing skulls using your new colony.

Request Taxidermy Skull Cleaning or Order Beetles Today

We process skulls using our taxidermy skull cleaning services across the US and Canada as well as abroad. Please feel free to contact us at (907) 942-2847 to find out how to prepare your skull for shipment and to request a free quote.

Our dermestid beetle colonies are available for purchase online in 300+, 1000+, and 5000+ colony sizes. If you require a larger number of beetles or have any questions about what size colony to order, do not hesitate to contact us directly.

When you want the best skull cleaning results, whether you have us clean your skulls or you order dermestid beetles from us, you can count on Kodiak Bones & Bugs Taxidermy.