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.

Daniel,
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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66 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:

    Hello.
    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.

  23. cathy says:

    hi my grandmother had these in her bedroom she always had stored food we haven’t seen them in a long time but every once in a while we see one in our kitchen/bathroom sink/tub and on the floor of the bathroom can they be dormant for a while then come back out? my gram has been gone for 3 years
    her room was all redone new floor/paint

  24. They are coming in my kitty’s cat food I am fearful that they are going to harm her???

  25. Hunter says:

    I found this bug in my bathtub and it was eating soap ?

  26. HeidiAnn Geiger says:

    OK, so, HOW do you actually get rid of them? The nest is inside the door of my refrigerator. They come out around the seal where it is not really firm. The come out in the evening and go back there in the morning early. I kill a number of them, (3 to 5 or more) larger and small, on the door almost every night and morning. Short of throwing away the frig, how would we get rid of them? We’ve tried all kinds of natural and commercial pesticides. 😛 Please help!

  27. cee says:

    I have 5 or six inside a light fixture ..the only way they can get in or out…I’m guessing is from the electrical in the ceiling….what concerns me is 6 of them inside…and why…wonder what’s in the ceiling

  28. Cheryl says:

    I just moved into my apartment 3 months ago. Its only me and I keep it immaculate. I clean all the time and bleach the floors. My cabinets are immaculate. I do not keep much food in the apt so where do you think these beetles are coming from? I find them in My kitchen near the garbage pail and in my bathroom on the floor. I caught one trying to scurry under the calking at the bottome of my tub. I was able to kill him. I do find them dead and some alive. They lay on their backs also. If they are not in my food, where could they be coming from? I live on the second floor. Could they be coming from the apartment below me or on the side of me? Do they bite? How can I get rid of them? I feel sick now thinking about it.

  29. ashlee says:

    Ugh i just found one in my sock drawer. I hate bugs more than anything and the thought there could be more makes my heart pound. I guess i better check my cabinets?? I do have a cat but we keep his food in an airtight container.

  30. Travis K. says:

    I’m not sure, but this sounds like the bug I’m dealing with. They climb in the animal’s water bowl and die. Climb in to lights and die. Lay on the Windows in evening for the sunlight. They just let you kill them and are very slow. About the size of a flea. I can’t find where they are coming from. I had a package of older spaghetti noodles and dumped them into the water and about 100 fell in to the water. Hoped one I got rid of that they’d be home. Nope…. Getting frustrating!

    • bugman says:

      They may be infesting some other packaged food in the pantry.

    • Cathy says:

      I believe that I read somewhere that if they are in foodstuffs (pantry), they may be in it all. At the least, go through it all, maybe throw away all opened stuff. Clean off all shelves and make sure stuff that’s put back has none in it. Put stuff in containers, maybe, or ziplock (the big ones) bags.

      I’m pretty sure I read once they find a food supply then it’s harder to get rid of them, and you have to check everything and get rid of all the opened stuff.

      • bugman says:

        That is generally what we advise.

        • Cathy says:

          : ) Well, another thought if you still have problems with them after you clean and “red” out the pantry.

          Sprinkle FOOD GRADE DE (diatomaceous earth) around. I did this AFTER I did the cleaning out, so I don’t know if it helped, but it can’t hurt. I haven’t had any since doing both these things.

          Look up about it (DE) -but it has to be the FOOD GRADE and NOT the kind for swimming pools -that is the dangerous kind.

          Also, be careful you don’t breath the dust (though no one has died from that), as it could irritate your lungs -so don’t put it down/around with a fan on, or window open on a windy day!

          And you can always wear a dust mask (though I didn’t and I had no problem).

  31. Autumn Werner says:

    Wow soooo many infestations. I’m SO glad I’m not alone in this fight to get rid of the larder beetle FOR GOOD! Ever since it’s started to get warmer like since the beginning of April I ‘ve been finding them mostly in our bedroom among dirty clothes and a few in the kitchen and bathroom and I’ve been trying to guess what type of beetle they might be and if they’re harmful or just annoying and creepy as anything lol. Well at least I know now and can try to find out where the larder beetles hideout is. For now will spray, vacum them up and sweep clean everything out. Do a complete week spring cleaning and hopefully after that they’ll never come back :) NEVER EVER EVER! lol

  32. J. H. says:

    Dealing with these. Found potential food source from fallen dog food. Got that cleaned and hoping it will help. I did find out accidently that roach/ant bait traps work well against then. Found many dead by them.

  33. Kim says:

    I have found only 2 or 3 in my house, but my windows are covered with them. They are all over the outside of my house. Why are they hanging out on my screens. We just sanded our deck and are getting reaDy to stain. Could that be the reason.

  34. Katie says:

    If I get rid of the food in my pantry or put it in airtight containers will they leave by themselves?

    • bugman says:

      They most likely will not leave, but depriving them of a food source will prevent a new generation from perpetuating and plaguing you.

  35. Andrea says:

    I have found a couple tiny bugs that look like this dead in my room and something has been biting me usually while I sleep but I have checked and sprayed for bed bugs and didn’t find any could these be it or is it something else

  36. Stacy says:

    What if you find these in the kitchen and bathroom? I have a large bag of cat food, but it’s in a resealable bag. I’ve just checked it, not really well, but it was sealed (ziplock) and I couldn’t find anything. There are no holes in the bag either. Would or could this still be a problem? I’m going to go through my kitchen as well, but I need to know about this food because this is how I buy it.

  37. Thomas Squires says:

    so now I know that these things are not only my problem … I bought a bag of economy dog food for my 2 big dogs and opened the bag and poured out a bowl full of these things and they scurried everywhere … had them for around a month or so and they are almost gone now … the larvae crawl into the rug fibers and then grow and presto … more beetles and more larvae … clean up very well and they will be gone … I used a full concentrated fast orange organic liquid , and it does destroy them … if you find a mature beetle , it will have probably left larvae in the area… look very closely and you can find them , squish them /bleach them/ clean that area very well and the infestation will be finished …

  38. Marlowe Dawn Kauffmann says:

    Thanks I have them in my room in the bacement and I think thay live under the carpiet

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