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Dermestid Beetle Larvae

  • Larvae and adult beetle
  • We sell Dermestid larvae for your cleaning project
Current Stock:

Product Description

Cleaner Crew - Dermestid Beetle Larvae

Dermestes spp.

 For live delivery guarantee: if your temps are below 55° or above 85° the "Hold for Pickup" button must be checked above!


Use science to keep your feeder bins healthy

Dermestid larvae are a natural way to keep your insect colonies clean; they will eat dead insects, molted skins, decaying plant material and droppings.  Their cleaning habits prevents mold and bacterial growth in insect colonies.  They will not compete with your colony for resources.

We ship your Dermestid larvae with a small amount of wheat bran as food for them during their journey to you.  

Dermestids are also known as flesh eating beetles and can be used to 'skeletonize' birds and animals.  Most carcasses (even very large ones) will be skeletonized within a few days.  If you want to keep a colony on its own, you can either feed your larvae and beetles meat or you can also use Repashy Meat Pie as a convenient food and water source.

WARNING: In warmer temps Dermestid beetles can potentially gain the ability to fly so your bins should be covered with a screen to prevent escape


Q. How many will I need to clean a skull?

A.  For a small animal 500 (4 oz) are appropriate, for larger animal skull (e.g. bear/deer) 1000 would be required.   For an entire carcass of a very large animal we recommend purchasing between 1 and 2 thousand per pound.


Q. How do I care for them?

A.  Please refer to our care sheets, we also really like this sheet courtesy of Brian Anderson at the University of Texas:  Care Sheet


Q. What are these little white bugs in my colony?

A.  Too much moisture in your colony allows mites to thrive.  If they become a problem they will interfere with your dermestid's desire to eat.  


Q. Do you ship beetles or larvae?

 A.  Adult dermestid beetles do little besides breeding and laying eggs, it is the larval form of the beetle (much like a caterpillar) that focuses on eating. We ship you only larvae that are prepared to do their job for you.



Q. What is the Cleaner Crew life cycle?


 A.  The eggs of Dermestes spp. hatch in 4 days.  The larvae (the size of a pin head) go through 7-9 molts over about 5-6 weeks before they burrow into boring material where they form a pupa.  After 7-8 days, they emerge as a beetle.  Male beetles are smaller than the females.  After at least 2 months, the female beetle will lay eggs.  The total lifespan is 4-5 months.


Q. Do Dermestid beetles fly?


 A.  When conditions are optimal for the beetles they will not fly.  However when either food or water are removed at once or their temperatures are increased rapidly they can gain the ability for flight.  For that reason we recommend keeping them covered with a screened lid if in conditions that let them pupate into beetles. 

Do not remove food sources all at once without adding new food when cleaning skulls/skeletons, and if possible maintain your colony's temperature externally to prevent rapid changes.



Q. What species are these? 


 A.  Our Dermestid larvae colonies are a combination of maculatus, ater, and lardarius. Depending on the time of year, one of the three predominates our colonies.

In cooler months without a lot of decaying material available, it is lardarius that is the predominant species.

For skull cleaning, we are recommending using Buffalo Beetles (Alphitobius diaperinus), which are MUCH more hardy and breed more readily than Dermestid beetles.