Feather Creek Taxidermy employs thousands of Dermestid (Dermestes maculatus) beetles to carefully and thoroughly clean all tissue from the skulls and skeletal remains of our client's treasures. Dermestid beetles are a naturally occurring species of scavenger beetle. Our beetles pose your trophy no ill effects once you take it home. The processes at our facility remove the beetles from your skull, degrease, and whiten it. The end result is completely clean, sanitary, beautifully white, and sealed. Your display piece will last ages. Why use beetles over boiling?
Don't get us wrong, we have boiled skulls for years and years to clean them. Those smelly cold nights of a humid fleshy garage on a cold fall night, the brains blasted out in our basement country shower...gross. But it can be done and every skull Tyler did boiled turned out amazing. But we heard from many taxidermists that used beetles that the process was less work on us, but was it worth the cost? Was it worth the beetle maintenance? When we finally decided to start up our business officially after building our new shop and deciding to buy our beetle colony, we were nervous. Beetles require maintenance, you can't just leave them be. They are picky little creatures. Even after placing our first skull in with them we were like, man boiling them so much quicker, pressure washing out the brains and so forth - is this wait worth it? Let me tell you loudly - YES!!! With my animal science background most people don't realize how many tiny bones exist in an actual skull. If you have had your skulls boiled for years and it never done any other way - how would you know?! Until you let beetles clean it! I can remember us spending HOURS trying to pick at the meat inside a deer skull. Tedious work! Tiring. Boil, pick, boil, spray, pick, boil and pick some more. There was always a slight smell because no matter how good you did, there was still tiny bits of meat deep inside those bones, which sadly trying to get it out always resulted in bone loss. The bones would shrink, feel dry, joints didn't look always good and so on. Many times if you didn't prep correctly the boiling would cause the antlers to lose color or even shrink around the base.
Beetles on the other hand! Amazing. Just amazing. They are able to get into the places you could only dream of reaching easily. No backaches, no hand cramps or eye glasses to see super close. They clean so efficiently and safely that up until this first skull we did with the beetles I was FLOORED at how well they preserved the tiny bones of the nasal area. The bones there are paper thin and always are damaged during boiling and spraying. Not with the beetles! I saw more detail on this skull than I had EVER seen in my career as a science teacher. The bones stayed intact, they didn't shrink, no gluing involved. We didn't have to rubber band the nose so that the joint on top of the nose stayed together. It just stays together now. The skull looks so clean and white. If you want your skull truly preserved in all aspects down to the tiniest of bones, beetles are the best. Makes sense that this is what all the professional museum and natural history people use!
PS - We cannot feed our beetles rotten meat! If your skull is rotten or beginning to rot and there is any question to this, we do offer an additional service for extra fee. Some skulls we can make safe for the beetles, others cannot ever be in with the beetles. Insects, bacteria and fungus are the biggest killers of beetles and we are VERY careful about making sure none of those things enter our beetle tank that could kill off our entire colony!