What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Small Brown bug with white/yellow stripe
January 21, 2010
We have been finding these bugs in our kitchen and family room area. The bugs look like a beetle type, they are small dark brown almost black, with a white or yellow band on their backs. We normally find them in the morning laying on their backs on the hardwood floor. I want to spray for these and I am fearful that they are wood eaters. We live in a timber frame home from the early 1970s.
Jeffrey Feiler
South Central Pennsylvania

Larder Beetles

Dear Jeffrey,
Your wooden house is safe, but you are sharing your food.  It is time to clean out the pantry and search for the source of your Larder Beetle, Dermestes lardarius, infestation.  According to BugGuide, this cosmopolitan species will eat food stuff and museum specimens.  You may also need to check your trophy stag heads hanging above the fireplace or the bearskin rug on the floor in the den.  Generally, you need to find the source of the infestation to rid yourself of pantry beetles and general extermination is just a waste of money as it cannot target the source, especially if the Larder Beetles are in edible foods.  You should also check that bargain bag of dog food.

Thank you so much for the help. I thought they didn’t look like wood eaters, but we just moved down to PA from NH. Up there you had just mosquitoes and black flies (which ate my flesh and blood alot). Nothing else survived the winters for the most part. Southern PA has a zillion bugs, especially the annoying STINK BUG which I am convinced will survive nuclear holocaust, those things are more hearty then roaches.
Thanks Again,
Jeffrey Feiler

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34 Responses to Larder Beetles

  1. Synesthesia says:

    I was wondering what those things are… I’m overdue for spring cleaning.

  2. cheapskate863 says:

    I really must disagree with you on not eating the wood part….I just found the bar in my kitchen is infested with them and have holes bored everywhere!!!

    I am fearful that I am going to have to rip it out to get rid of them, a shame too as it is a custom made bar!

  3. Danny says:

    The pix looks like the bug I been seeing but I find them in the dirty clothes

    • mel says:

      I have the same issue….In my bathroom laundry basket. they are also a few around my garbage can…. ugh!!!!!

  4. Becky says:

    I have found these bugs here and there around my house. They are usually already dead though and never have I found one in my kitchen. I have found them in a tote full of clothes for Goodwill and in my laundry room as well as my bathroom. Honestly I have never found them on the main level in our house (a split level).

  5. Patricia says:

    I thought they might be carpet beetles, because that’s where I found them: in the carpet fibers around my cat litter box. But they look like like these photos, especially the one with the penny. Except the larvae don’t look hairy…

  6. Mary Closs says:

    To find these bugs in my home, & recently in my big bag of dog food, I had to.toss it,are these bugs dangerous to my pet’s??? Also, does this mean that somewhere in my home is the home to them,where I will find the bigger problem?.Is there a spray I can use? HELP!!!!!!!!!!

    • bugman says:

      Spraying will not help because you would need to spray things that are being eaten by you and your pets. Larder Beetles are not dangerous, but they do ruin stored foods.

    • libbie says:

      I had these bugs in my kitchen a few years back. I had been told that my roach control method of 1 part boric acid and 2 parts cocoa would work on them, too. I did find that they like cardboard and chocolate. So, I put all my food stuffs in glass and /or plastic containers that could be sealed. I made up a batch of boric acid and cocoa, and put it in an old mayonnaise jar lid. I then placed it where food could not be contaminated by it and no pets or children could get into it ( under the cook stove or the refrigerator works well). I still keep my food stuff in plastic or glass containers, but I haven’t had problems from them in a long time.
      I am told that with roaches, the boric acid makes them sterile so they can’t reproduce. So, I was banking on the same being true for the larder beetles.

  7. Sue says:

    I had the same thing happen and before I knew it I found they had also invaded my kitchen cabinets. They were so bad that they were even burrowed into the wood of my custom made cabinets, I had to tear them out and install new cabinets. It took me over a year before I finally stopped finding them. I HATE THEM WITH A PASSION!!!!

  8. Taysmilesxo says:

    Ughh… I’ve found them in my house and they make my skin crawl…. I usually just drown them in anything I have…. All I have to say is its Operation kill all =]

  9. kelsey says:

    I just moved into an apartment building…. And have started seeing them spararically I moved in April and I have seen about 5 so far aways on the floor near dirty clothes one on the windowsill behinds my bed on its back in the morning? …… I haven’t encountered any in my food and I haven’t found any together or a swarm of them…… Idk what to do tho I’ve searched my apartment and don’t see a home for them could they be coming from another apartment or through my door? Really want to get rid of them please help!

    • bugman says:

      If you have Larder Beetles, they must be infesting some stored food product. Do you have any large bags of pet food lying about?

  10. Kelli says:

    I’ve only ever found these in one particular bottom kitchen cabinet where I store my plastic containers and some glass dishes. I just pulled out all the plastic containers to throw away mismatches, and found a bunch of dead ones (about 10). No idea where they come from.

  11. Jaimie says:

    Can Larder Beetles have 4 spots? I realized one was dead on our living room floor I’ve only seen one but realized a hole in my book but can find no other bugs besides the one.

  12. Kayse says:

    I have found them in my living room and bathroom could they be living in my couch I moved my couch and found shells and larva of them underneath would it help to vaccum out my couch

  13. Sean G in ME says:

    found these near our 4 childrens beds eating snack wrappers….no food no scavengers….

  14. Anna says:

    I have these bugs in piles of cloths in my room do I need a professional ?

    • bugman says:

      Only if you are not capable of cleaning out your own pantry. An exterminator will not help unless you locate the source of the infestation, generally stored foods including bargain bags of pet food.

  15. Christine says:

    i never had these bugs in the house until i got ferrets and i found them all over my floor at the base of the cage and a lot of them but i keep the food in a sealed container but i also found them around my antique cedar hope chest and my bed no food is really kept anywhere there. i redisgned my room and never found them anywhere what do you think i should do?

  16. kanesha says:

    I have found these in my kitchen by my trash can and in my bathroom in the tub.

  17. Cathy says:

    It is May 6, 2015. I have been finding these little bugs alive and dead in my cats dish of food. I buy very expensive grain-free (Fromm -no bad stuff in it) hard cat food for my cats. I have been ordering from the same company for years and never had any problems, so I dont really think its from that. I just started seeing them this past week or two, every since it has got really warm. I have never seen them before in our house.

    Now, my husband has stuffed deer heads we have had for years, but the past winter (about, I think) he has got another stuffed animal that he really doesnt know the history of -he bought it off someone on Craigslist (yes, WHY??!!). So, could this thing be the souce? How do you find out if it is? I will be checking back for any replies. Thanks!

  18. beth says:

    I found them coming put of a basebord heater in my bathroom about 6 in all and two under my couch while sweeping. I do not have pets. I don’t have dead animals in my home either. Also my pantry consists of maybe 4 bags of what ever about 5.5 feet off the grownd in a pullout shelf kinda pantry and I have not found them in any food products after reading this.
    I basically havnt found any where I thought I might :(

  19. Jan B says:

    Mh husband worked for a bug company and he told customers to put stuff in the freezer for 24 hours if you can. Keep pet food in a plastic bucket with lid. Wash all cupboards and drawers out with soapy water. Keep all cake mixes,cereal, pasta in plasti containers. Wash all pot holders, dish cloths and dish towels before putting away after cleaning. This helped alot. Spring and fall.

  20. Elle says:

    I’ve never had a problem with these types of bugs, and am not even 100 percent sure that these are them. I’ve googled and looked EVERYWHERE and have found no help. Until I came here. I’m more than certain (other than the provided information) that these are the bugs in my house…. There are some downstairs in the basement, and very little (if at all) in the rest of the house. However, they seem to exist in my bedroom more than anywhere else. I have no food in here. But, I have a cat. He plays with them. lol…. But, yeah. They appeared about 1 -2 months after my cat came here. My cat is not dirty or infested with anything. He is fine. I’m just worried that these little things will crawl into my skin or body while I sleep. I sleep very close to the floor. :/
    What am I suppose to do?… Spray my room and stay out for a day while the bug spray does its job?… Or, search for every single one and put them in a bag and throw them outside somewhere?

    • bugman says:

      Larder Beetles do not crawl under people’s skin.

      • Elle says:

        Okay. Thanks.
        I will do my best to rid them from my house.
        They are not in food or near food….so…. judging by some of the information provided on here, I’m not even 100 percent sure that’s what they are….
        Although, they DO look a lot, if not just like, that.

  21. They do bore in to wood i recently Staines my log home had to take boards down around windows on the porch and behind boards i sprayed foam this winter in cracks well those little Black beetle with the tan stripe bored in the foam and in the log ……..Also i had a Ben full of dog food my dog passed away and the food was forgotten about what a mistake it was full of Carpet worms so they were eating very well so my Question is do they bore in wood just to lay eggs or to just make a home?

  22. Silkyway says:

    I found one of the beetles inside a sweatshirt hanging in our vacation home closet. Just the one. I am, however, starting to see teeny tiny ants, and it’s bumming me out.

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