Dubia feeder colonies, problems with dermestids, for those with insect collections

MJInsoCal

Arachnopeon
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Jul 6, 2020
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Dermestid beetles are often used as “clean up crew” in dubia colonies. And I understand the benefits.

However, for those of us with extensive pinned insect collections, these are the plague to be avoided. I worked for a couple of years at a shop that prepared and made such displays, everything from arachnids, to beetles, and tons of butterflies. As such, I’ve been in the hobby and have an extensive and expensive collection.

I can re-seal those displays, am leery about using any insecticides, make that, a hell no if I have tarantulas in the same room.

Again, yes, prob not a good mix in the same room, but this is my home office.

Truth be told, I don’t want dermestids getting out anywhere around my house anyways. And keeping them in the garage, but worrying about bringing them in and eggs or what not coming with them still has me worried.

Just got an order from a source, after dropping my last source because they had dermestids mixed in with dubias. And.. new source had even more.

I know aside from insect collections, if believe if these things get out they can infest and cause lots of problems. As in the dermestids, not the dubias.. well some risk there as well.

Any thoughts on this? Anyone else (I’m assuming for the entomologists out there this is common) that have both preserved specimens and live T’s dealing with this or other similar issues?
 
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DomGom TheFather

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I keep four species or cockroach. No cleaner crews in my bins but i do keep dermestids for skull cleaning and for fun. I've never had any escape or anything.
 

Malum Argenteum

Arachnosquire
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Dec 16, 2020
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Am I understanding correctly that you buy dubias regularly and don't want to risk the dermestids being included? The best solution would be to get a 'clean' batch of dubias one time only and raise them yourself. Cheap and easy, and a great use for carrot ends and such.

I don't keep beetles in with my dubia colonies (nor did I when I raised mealworms) simply because I don't like them in there -- no real reason, just didn't prefer to have them and didn't see benefit. Some people may like them, but they're not necessary.
 

Smotzer

Arachnoking
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my house is filled with my pinned insect collection it’s very easy to have no risk of deremstid devestation. I also have had dubia and hisser colonies at the same time. Very simply do not use cleaner crews and start a colony that has no demestid larvae and produce all your feeder needs in houseThere are people here who sell roaches here on AB and will work with you on ordering a clean batch. And you can easily contain them.

I too had worried about this and my collection, but you almost have to be super careless to have something tragic happen.

if you have any further questions for me I will help.
 

MJInsoCal

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 6, 2020
Messages
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Very much appreciated. The what I should do... as others have said.. use a clean starter group, and breed me own at this point. The should you really worry, what are people's experiences I'm getting here and appreciate as well. One question, is there any sort of pest strips, etc.. that would deter dermestids and you would feel comfortable using in the same room as the tarantulas? My general belief is that is a tall order. But we can put small amount in the insect collections and seal them relatively well. I'm a tad reluctant to fully seal any but the cheapest boxes, as in the case of for whatever reason one of these getting knocked down or bumped, and I have to repair, you would have to destroy the case to repair the specimen.

Smotzer, are springtails also a concern with damaging insect collections?

Many thanks


Am I understanding correctly that you buy dubias regularly and don't want to risk the dermestids being included? The best solution would be to get a 'clean' batch of dubias one time only and raise them yourself. Cheap and easy, and a great use for carrot ends and such.

I don't keep beetles in with my dubia colonies (nor did I when I raised mealworms) simply because I don't like them in there -- no real reason, just didn't prefer to have them and didn't see benefit. Some people may like them, but they're not necessary.
I've started a colony, and wanted to feed it, give it more of a boost. Definitely agreeing with you. w
my house is filled with my pinned insect collection it’s very easy to have no risk of deremstid devestation. I also have had dubia and hisser colonies at the same time. Very simply do not use cleaner crews and start a colony that has no demestid larvae and produce all your feeder needs in houseThere are people here who sell roaches here on AB and will work with you on ordering a clean batch. And you can easily contain them.

I too had worried about this and my collection, but you almost have to be super careless to have something tragic happen.

if you have any further questions for me I will help.
 

MJInsoCal

Arachnopeon
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Jul 6, 2020
Messages
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RoachCoach

Arachnolord
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Sep 2, 2019
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Lol. Just invest in some Alphitobius diaperinus. I learned the hard/expensive way. In a roach bin the A. Diapernius will wipe out quite easily any and all Dermestidae species you got in there. They will leave the roaches alone and also hunt mites/mite eggs/mold/poo and stink. Dermestids require a more controlled environment compared to A. Diapernius. Dermestidae will absolutely smoke an A. Diapernius colony of the same number in consumption volume, but that's pretty much where it ends. A. Diapernius is by a large margin the best bin cleaner insect there is. They will not however clean an animal skull anywhere nearly as fast as Dermestidae. Both are very easily contained though. Both larvae size can make it out of a bin that has humidity on the sides. They each have their jobs. Keeping Dermestidae out of shadow boxes and specimen shelves is actually pretty easy. Just know their weakness.
 

MJInsoCal

Arachnopeon
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Lol. Just invest in some Alphitobius diaperinus. I learned the hard/expensive way. In a roach bin the A. Diapernius will wipe out quite easily any and all Dermestidae species you got in there. They will leave the roaches alone and also hunt mites/mite eggs/mold/poo and stink. Dermestids require a more controlled environment compared to A. Diapernius. Dermestidae will absolutely smoke an A. Diapernius colony of the same number in consumption volume, but that's pretty much where it ends. A. Diapernius is by a large margin the best bin cleaner insect there is. They will not however clean an animal skull anywhere nearly as fast as Dermestidae. Both are very easily contained though. Both larvae size can make it out of a bin that has humidity on the sides. They each have their jobs. Keeping Dermestidae out of shadow boxes and specimen shelves is actually pretty easy. Just know their weakness.
Any recommendations for keeping them out of shadow boxes? We used primarily card board based boxes, glued shut, with a piece of vapona in them. Trying to avoid vapona in that room, and glueing anything shut. But looks like I may have to.
 

RoachCoach

Arachnolord
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I guess it all depends on your facility layout. Usually people with bone cleaner colonies don't have a problem with them escaping the cleaning bins as they are usually sealed to keep the stink at bay. I keep diatomaceous earth at the base feet of all my grain feeders shelves to keep the mites out. Use a strip of 2" packing tape around the inside of the Dubia bins with Vaseline on the tape to keep anything from escaping. If it gets too gunked up from the dust(frass) they kick up all day, just rip that strip of tape with the Vaseline off and reapply. The easiest way to keep the typical Dermestidae out would be to keep everything fairly dry and have them in gasketed containers. If you aren't cleaning bones for specimen exhibits and just keeping Dubia for feeders I would highly suggest to switch to A. Diapernius.
Edit: I would also like to add if you have any pets that have secondary access to the room with the insecticides, you definitely switch to A Diapernius and no chemicals.
 
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