Tutorial#1-What is the best Species of Dermestid Beetle To Choose?
There are over 1000+ different species of Dermestidae in the world, and many of them occur world-wide, there are many different kinds that I've seen used for various things. From keeping them for fun [like most of us do] or using them to clean out cricket containers, or even cleaning skulls. This leads me to a question you must ask yourself:
What do I plan on Doing With a Dermestid Beetle Colony?
Once you know what you plan on doing you can find a good species for your current situation. If you are looking to clean skulls then I'd recommend a Dermestes species, mainly these three:
Dermestes maculata [First Choice] [Hide Beetle]
Dermestes atar [Second Choice] [Black Larder Beetle]
or Dermestes lardarius[Probably my last choice, sorry but they just don't seem to get into big colonies fast enough for me]
If you want to clean out crickets or something similar then I'd recommend either a Dermestes species [they are virtually the best species in general no matter what you plan on doing] or something along the lines of Attagenus, Anthrenus or even Trogderma, Caution: Beware Trogderma granulium though as these are a serious pest and are as far as I know Illegal to ship anywhere!]
Either Dermestes lardarius or Dermestes atar [First Choice!]
Attagenus unicolor [Common Black Carpet Beetle] or Attagenus polio [The white spotted black carpet beetle] [Secondary Choice]
Anthrenus scrophulariae [Common Carpet beetle] or Anthrenus flavipes [The Furniture Carpet Beetle][Third Choice, mainly because they breed slower then Attagenus or Dermestes]
Now if your just looking to keep a few colonies for fun then any species that you can easily find is fine, many different species haven't been kept [as far as I know] so you could very well be the first person to document them, which would be cool, I know many people who keep the common species of Dermestes, such as Dermestes lardarius, Dermestes atar and of course the famous Dermestes maculata, as they are used by skull cleaners world wide. The less common ones are Anthrenus species, but I have seen some people keeping them.
They eat more fabric products and hair then other species so they like a diet high in Keratin.
Of course the even less common species are Attagenus genus, as far as I know, I am the only one that keeps that particular species. Attagenus likes protein as well as a bit of keratin in it's diet. Their life-cycle is about 3 months or less depending on Temperature and Food availability.
Which-ever species you choose I am sure you'll enjoy it! If you have any questions feel free to ask!