What is this beetle?
I live in southcentral Alaska and I found this beetle among my dermestid beetle colony about 4 days ago. They are about 4.5mm in length, blue on the dorsal side/black on the ventral side and they can fly. They may have gotten in with my colony with the last skull that was put in, which had been stored on a woodshed under a bunch of spruce/hemlock trees. I was thinking that they were related to the bark beetle, although the color doesn’t seem to match. Can you tell me what this is? Do you know if these beetles are harmful to my dermestid beetles? Could they be harmful to the building and/or animals in the building if they get out? Thanks for the advice!
Hi Jenelle, We contacted Eric Eaton who is putting together a guide book for this identification. He wrote back:
“Ah, a ham beetle, Necrobia violacea, family Cleridae. One book I have says they prey on dermestid beetle larvae, which could be the case because other clerids are predatory. I would not be concerned by the presence of only one, however. I don’t think we have an image of this insect for our field guide yet, so if this person wants to contact me, that’d be great. In fact, we don’t have many images of dermestids, either.”
I am replying to him as well, so if you want to allow your photos to be printed in the guidebook, that would be great. Thanks for sending us a new species.
We continued to be curious, especially about the common name Ham Beetle, so we did some google searching because we know people who cure Virginia Hams. Sure enough, both the adults and larvae of the Red Legged Ham Beetle, Necrobius rufipes, bore into the meat and ruin hams. Here is a site that talks about curing Virginia Hams.