A Dermestid's Work Never Ends

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The News & Observer is running an article on the use of Dermestid beetles to create European mounts. With European mounts costing far less than a traditional mount, Dermestids have grown in popularity over the last few years.

A beetle lives about 30 days, Allen Edberg says, laying eggs every two to four days. The beetles can clean up a deer skull in about a day and a half, Edberg says. He finishes it by applying a paste of hydrogen peroxide. He charges $55 for a European mount. The average price of a shoulder mount is about $525, said Randy Bowe of Bowe Taxidermy in Duluth.


Dermestid beetles have been

Dermestid beetles have been used to clean skulls and skeletons for a long time by the scientific community (universities, museums, laboratories, etc.).  Other than maintaining the beetles, they are relatively hassle free and they can clean fragile specimens without damage (imagine trying to boil and scrape the flesh off of a bat or lizard skeleton!).

The nuisance factor isn't there with using the beetles as it is with other methods of skull cleaning.  The taxidermists around this part of the country have stopped offering european mounts for a couple of reasons, the biggest being the odors associated with the cleaning.  The best taxidermists in this area work in residential areas where to smells create issues with the neighbors - not to mention the problems with attracting neighbors pets to the "B-B-Q".

Having tried my hand at cleaning skulls and doing my own european mounts a couple of times, at $50 to $75 I'd just a soon have it done by a pro and save myself and family the hassle.

numbnutz's picture

These beetles sound like the

These beetles sound like the way to go if you want a Euro mount done. I would assume there not very expenive to buy. Seems like a little bit less messy than boiling a skull. I dont know how practicle it would be for a one time use but something to look into for sure, thanks for the article.

jaybe's picture

It sounds like those ought to

It sounds like those ought to be some pretty healthy and happy beetles - for as long as they live, anyway! Get born, start eating meat off a skull, procreate  and die. Not bad.

 Makes for a nice looking mount, too!