Table from “Jake’s Bones”
This is a good graph but a bit hard to understand. I’d like to point out a few things that I disagree with though.
1. Fresh dead body —> Yes Dermestids/
Mummified or dried —> No dermestids
Don’t do the first, you will kill your dermestids. Not only do dermestid beetles not like fresh meat, but the moisture in the guts will attract mites and kill them. The first insect to a kill are flies, and flies will lay hundreds of eggs on the carcass and leave - maggots attract moisture - maggots will kill your dermestids. Only use dried/jerkified carcasses and skulls for dermestids.
If you have a mummified/bone dry skull or carcass, moisten it a bit by spraying it with water, THEN give to dermestids.
2. Fresh dead body —> No warm water
(I assume “washing water” means with soap? Don’t use soap). You WANT warm water for maceration, ideally, you want it to be about 70-80*F. Cleaning a carcass with cold water can be achieved- I’ve done it before - but it takes a long time.
3. Mummified —> Leave above ground in open air
This will do nothing for a mummified carcass. More often than not, mummified carcasses are found above-ground in open air and are mummified because of the air and lack of moisture.
I agree it isn’t 100% on some things but it’s good as a rough guide for the methods of cleaning available.
1. With the fresh body I think he means you can’t give dermestids rotting tissue.
2. The graph says soak in warm biological washing liquid ie. dish soap / clothes detergent so I assume he means you can’t just pop a whole freshly dead animal in warm water for it to clean up.
3. Ok no I agree completely on this point
1. Um, dermestids love fresh meat? In the wild, they are outhcompeted by scavengers, blowflies, and carrion beetles, but they can and will consume fresh tissue. I fed my colony nothing but fresh carcasses and they do quite well at eating them. Feeding fresh meat allows rapid colony expansion. I never once had fly, mite or ham beetle problems because I ensured that my starter colony was clean, and froze all of my carcasses for at least one week before thawing and feeding (but some people do well feeding raw, it’s just a risk).
The only consideration you need to take is that your carcass is the right size for your colony. With a large enough colony, you can feed entire raw (skinned) heads. For smaller colonies, you will need to remove the guts, brains—or even feed the colony one limb at a time. Serving the meat on thin cardboard and turning it once per day significantly reduces moisture and prevents bacterial rot from setting in.
A lot of beetle keepers recommend feeding dried meat, but this is really just personal preference and to keep down the smell of low-maintenance colonies. Feeding fresh will not harm the beetles if the material is not allowed to rot.
3. Dermestids can also take care of mummified carcasses, provided that you briefly soak it before feeding or otherwise provide moisture. It takes longer than dermestids eating fresh meat, but it is definitely faster than maceration. Mummified carcasses just require work to get the bones out of, despite their appearance.
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