Cleaning Skulls With Dermestid Beetles

Preparing Skulls for a European Mount

Dermestid Beetles are experts at cleaning skulls, but there are a few minimal tasks that you will need to do before feeding your deer head to them, if you want a professional looking European mount.

This beast was harvested by 14 year old Connor Crew!

Obviously, you need to skin the head. But it is much better to also go ahead and take off any and all excess meat, as this will help the bugs in cleaning it faster, and slightly minimize the smell!

Do not leave a lot of neck attached to it either. Cut most of the neck off with a reciprocating saw, making sure you do not cut into the back of the head by cutting too close.

The eyes will need to be removed, as well as the tongue.

Many people also remove the lower jaw, but I don't. When the beetles have completely finished cleaning the skulls, the bottom jaw will simply come off when you pick it up.

Do not take a fresh kill and plan on cleaning it up and immediately throwing it to the beetles.

Dermestid Beetles prefer meat to be somewhat dry, so at the very least, you will want to put your skulls in front of a fan for a few hours.

Do not leave them outside for other bugs to get to, as you can bring disease into your beetle colony and lose all of your bugs.

Our preferred method is to get the deer skull ready for the beetles, then throw it into a deep freezer for a couple of weeks before feeding it to them.

Simply set the deer head into a grocery bag and freeze. No need to try and wrap it up nicely, as the bugs prefer the meat to be a bit freezer burned.

I always allow the head to then defrost either inside of my fridge (depending on the size of the antlers) or on a table for several hours before placing it into the tank.

If for any reason, you do not have time to remove the eyes and tongue before freezing your deer head, they will still remove easily when you thaw it, but absolutely skin the fur off before freezing it or you are just asking for a mess!

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