Why Do the Best Hunters Use Dermestid Beetles for Hunting Trophy Cleaning?


If you are a hunter and your hobby expands into European mounts, then you know first hand that the preparation and cleaning of animal skulls are critical skills looped right into the overall skillset the best hunters will have mastered. According to a June 2020 article by ‘Rod and Rifle’, the six core hunting skills required for obtaining a hunting trophy that will be rendered into a European mount includes marksmanship, mental toughness and physical fitness, navigation skills, observation and patience, bushcraft, and first aid. That said, when creating flawless European mounts, taking the same level of consideration and care into garnering the best results possible should be on the forefront of every hunter’s conscience. This article is intended to help outdoorsmen of all levels learn why the best hunters choose to buy dermestid beetles for cleaning European mounts, as opposed to boiling. 


First Things First: What are Dermestid Beetles?

Dermestid beetles, also known as skin beetles or dermestidae, belong to the Coleoptera family of beetles. They are also commonly known as carpet beetles, larder beetles, hide beetles, leather beetles and khapra beetles. Worldwide there are between 500 and 700 species and they range in size from 1 to 12 mm. Dermestid beetles are scavengers feeding on dry animal and plant matter such as skin, flesh, feathers, hair, and pollen. In fact, some species of dermestid beetles have even been known to chew through violin cases to feed on the bow hairs. 

Human beings have two main uses for dermestid beetles: they are used in forensic entomology to help criminal investigators solve cases by examining the decayed carcasses on which they fed, and they are used to clean animal skulls for hunting trophies and art projects.

Hunters Use Dermestid Beetles to Get Higher Quality European Mounts

You may have heard the old saying, “the devil is in the details”, and when it comes to the quality of a European mount, the quality of skull details is everything. The nasal and ocular cavities are made up of tiny little honeycomb-shaped networks of tiny, fragile bones, some of which are the thickness of hairs. When boiling skulls, these fine bones can become ruined and devalue the European mount as a whole. But the best hunters with the most experience in preserving hunting trophies know that using dermestid beetles is ideal because these little creatures eat away every fragment of flesh and hair, including every fragment within these fine bones, cleaning them entirely, while preserving their integrity. 

No Extreme Odors when You Use Dermestid Beetles to Clean Hunting Trophies

Ask any hunter who has boiled hunting trophy skulls if he is allowed to do the task near the house, and he will likely tell you that his wife makes him do it on the far edge of the property. Boiling skulls creates a rancid smell that can consume a garage, workshop, and if done in the yard, the smell can even penetrate homes and cause a real stink. However, skulls placed in a proper container with a dermestid beetle colony won’t put out any extreme odors. Indeed there is a distinct smell, but it pales in comparison to the odor set off from skull boiling. In fact, with the right container the odor will only be detected, briefly, when the lid is removed. 

Skull Cleaning with Dermestid Beetles Requires Significantly Less Work

Boiling a skull is time consuming; you have to get the right temperature, maintain it, continuously still the skull around in the boiling water, and then treat it. This takes several hours, and is quite dull. However, experienced hunters that create European mounts know how easy skull cleaning is with dermestid beetles. You simply cut away as much flesh as you can, and leave the skull in the container with the beatles. In other words, you simply set it and forget it. Deer skulls (based on the size) can be cleaned in less than 24 hours, while larger skulls, such as a bear skull, can be cleaned within a few days. And all the flesh and hair will be cleanly stripped without you having to touch a thing.

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Experienced Hunters Choose Dermestid Beetles for European Mounts Because they Leave the Skull Looking More Natural

Hunters often have to bleach skulls after boiling them because the moisture, steam and heat causes the bone to yellow. Since hunters want their European mounts to look natural, they will bleach the skulls to get that natural, white color. The problem is that most bleaching attempts backfire and instead make the skull look fake: something made from plastic. 

When using dermestid beetles to clean European mounts, the skull maintains its natural white color with a clear grain, and a flawless appearance. 

Call Kodiak Bones & Bugs for Healthy, High Quality Dermestid Beetle Colonies Today!

The best hunters in the country use dermestid beetles to clean their hunting trophies, now is the time for you to see the results for yourself. When you give us a call we will engage in a free consultation to determine your needs when it comes to dermestid beetle colonies for sale, and set you up with the right colony, the right equipment, and give you all the tools you need to maintain the healthy, disease-free beetle colony. In no time you will see the huge difference in quality when using dermestid beetles as opposed to boiling your European mounts, and you can rely on us to answer any questions you might have. Call today, and begin the crucial transformation needle to improve the quality of your prized hunting trophies today!