noun /ˈCHärnl/

"A Charnel House" is a vault or building where human skeletal remains are stored. They are often built near churches for depositing bones that are unearthed while digging graves. "The Charnel Box" is my custom enclosure for bone cleaning.


Custom bone cleaning services are available using dermestid beetles, maceration, & other techniques. Have your large/small mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles cleaned to your liking. The cleaning process is dependent on the desired outcome.

• Full Cleaning: only bone left
• Partial Cleaning: tendons, cartilage, or hair remaining

• Hand Cleaned: small or delicate specimens (days)
• Dermestid Beetles: enclosed environment (days-weeks)
• Maceration: boil, chemicals, or soak (weeks – months)
• Natural Habitat: outdoor cage, buried, manure (months)

• Coloring: chemical whitening, natural, or custom
• Articulated: reconnected and posed
• Fully Separated: loose bones or mounted/labeled
• Finished Display: artistic or scientific

• Large: $100-200
• Medium: $50-100
• Small: $25
• Add-ons: Vary



10,000+ BEETLES

The dermestid beetles live in a 4ft x 2ft enclosed box. The temperature is set at 88ºF year round. They live on flesh, eggs, and water. 


BUGS 6.0

The colony was re-producing, but very slowly despite consistent temperature, food, water monitoring. It made most sense to do a thorough cleaning and work on a fresh restart. The frass had accumulated and the box hadn’t been cleaned in 7 years. The new bugs arrived in the mail I could immediately tell a difference with the clean environment. They are thriving on the usual hard boiled eggs and water.


BUGS 5.0

Damp conditions in the frass created an environment as to which the bugs couldn’t reproduce. A colony of thousands went down to less than a dozen over the period of a few months. My mistake was not changing out the bedding after completing a great deal of bone cleanings over the past year. I removed 90% of the saturated frass, then added new cotton balls and cardboard for fresh breeding. A new colony arrived in the mail within a week. Ken at Kodiak Bones and Bugs has been my preferred buyer of beetles for 7+ years: Upon delivery, the weather in Colorado turned cold, so I kept them snug as a bug in the house before transferring them into the bug box. I found great success and ease in feeding my bugs hardboiled eggs.


bugs 4.0

A colony of small green metallic backed beetles slowly moved into the bug box. The dermestid beetled eventually stopped breeding and died off.


bugs 3.0

A frozen dog went into the bugs for a couple of weeks. A regular inspection showed that there was a small maggot gathering under a section of bones. Could have been caused by premature thawing or box infiltration. Instead of clearing out the infected 4″x4″ section, the box was completely cleaned out over the winter.


bugs 2.0

Around 6pm, I picked up my first raccoon and spent the evening prepping the carcass. It was late at night when I put it in the bugs without the mandatory 48 hour freezing period. Due to the excitement, it had slipped my mind. A week or so later, I lifted the lid and my jaw dropped and body froze. There were millions of maggots covering every inch of the bug box. As I stood there in shock, they slid down as a white/brown chattering sludge off the top lid and sides. I shut the lid, unplugged it, and let it sit in the winter cold for a month before attempting to clean it out.


bugs 1.0

When a heavy rain storm came through town, the rain trickled through gaps in the freezer lid and shorted out the temperature regulator. The heat lamp then ran full blast for a few days and literally cooked everything inside. It was a scene of scorched black bug carcasses.



The dermestid beetles live in a 4ft x 2ft enclosed box. The temperature is set at 88ºF year round. They live on flesh, eggs, and water. 


BOX 2.0

The current beetle enclosure was constructed from scratch based on the information gathered over the years.

• Wood: $100
• Ventilation pieces: $40
• Tape, insulation, caulk: $80
• Heating element and monitoring system: $90
• Watering spray bottle: $6

Total= $316


BOX 1.0

The first dermestid beetle enclosure was constructed from a used chest freezer. Small additions were added for electricity, breeding, ventilation, temperature control and security.

• Broken chest freezer: $40
• Ventilation pieces: $20
• Tape: 10
• Heating element and monitoring system: $90
• Security lock: $12
• Watering spray bottle: $2

Total= $174