Once you bag that trophy elk, another battle begins. This involves the insects that will see the resulting mount as an opportunity to eat, reproduce and nest. You will always need to be vigilant about this, and also know that if one trophy shows the signs of insects, it is likely the infestation exists throughout your trophy room. To give you an idea of the extent of the issue, here are the common species that might invade your taxidermy in Cody, WY:
- Common clothes moth: The same moth that ate your mom’s sweaters will also find your bearskin or elk head an ideal place to have babies. Adults do not eat, as they survive on the sustenance they took in as larvae. The small, white, rice-like larvae create lines in the hair of your trophies and cause it to fall out. If it is cold, they will burrow further. Keeping cedar around your trophy room can reduce their numbers, but it won’t completely prevent them from appearing.
- Fur beetle: The appropriately named fur beetle enjoys your trophies very much when it cannot find a place to nest outdoors. With the freezing weather, they prefer to come into your warm home, and when they find your animal mounts, they are suddenly in heaven. You will not see signs of the larvae until they are larger, and even then, they are very good at hiding. Not only do they enjoy your trophies, but they will also nest in wool blankets and furniture.
- Furniture beetle: Found all over the world, furniture beetles are often black and yellow with white bellies. There are many places they love within your home: clothes, furs, wool, hair and preserved horns. They even invade and chew on antique book collections, so if you have original signed editions from Fred Bear, watch those as well as your trophies. These bugs also reproduce very quickly and in high numbers: a female will lay 50 eggs which will hatch within two weeks, wreaking havoc in your trophy room.
- Carpet beetles: Fortunately, you do not have to worry about carpet beetle larvae, as they tend to hatch in spring and summer. They are larger, at one-eighth of an inch, with hairy bodies. They also enjoy carpets, wool and, of course, your animal trophies. Insect control measures taken in winter can prevent an infestation by spring.
As you likely noticed, these insect species cause damage in their larval stage. Once they reach adulthood, they either stop eating or subsist on plant-based food. However, that does not mean your trophies become useless to them. They will nest their own offspring in your trophies and cause further damage.
Bug bombs can control the onslaught, but if your trophy room develops a serious problem, you may need to call an exterminator. If you take this step, arrange for another place to store your trophies, as some insecticides can ruin them as bad as the insects themselves.
For taxidermy needs, even restoration after a bug infestation, contact Nature’s Design Taxidermy in Cody, WY.