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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102 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!

    • bugman says:

      There are many small wood boring beetles that superficially resemble Larder Beetles.

      • Roger says:

        Such as?? An identical beetle lays eggs in corners of beehives and the larvae tunnel out the wood like termites.

      • Lillyann Mahanty says:

        I have a larder Beatles In our house in the wood next to our dog food would that be normal

    • Mom with teens! says:

      I have not found them to eat wood but i have 3 messy teenage sons who leave dirty plates ect. Dirty laundry every where in there rooms up stairs i went and spring cleaned there rooms today while they were at school and found the little basterd buds i have also noticed they play dead! I vaccumed them all up and dumped them out side in the trash! I do not find them on my main floor or basement. Never in my food in the kitchen! ONLY in my scummy teen age boys rooms! Also would like to know how rid my home of them. But i think cleanliness so a long way!

      • Trudy Mintun says:

        I find them in all sorts of strange places. Such as on the dish drainer mat, on the bottom of a clothes basket that is empty, in my pots and pans. I don’t get it, but I sure wish i could get rid of them. I sprayed one the other day and it stood up on legs. I thought it had gone into attack mode!I backed away.

  3. Danny says:

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

  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.

      • bugman says:

        Thanks for this interesting tip.

      • Jean says:

        What is the recipe for this cocoa and boric acid? Actually the only place I find them is in the bathroom sink! I don’t get it, no food there unless you might consider toothpaste?

        • Steph says:

          My mom calls them “water bugs” We find them in similar areas. Particularly my laundry room and bathroom.

      • John says:

        I have used boric acid ….One part to 10 parts white sugar in 1 cup of water for Carpender ants with great success but was told it dehydrates them versus sterility and that’s how they finally die. I also have these beetles and find them mostly in my parrot room eating the dropped bird pellet food, mostly near the baseboard ( but the larva can an do climb walls) along with the larva shedding on the rug.

        • Patsy says:

          I have many in my bird rooms and now every where .They live off everything like glue on cardboard and because of my birds and dogs have to be careful what I use to get rid of the beetles. I HATE them!

      • Stacey says:

        Be very careful with boric acid around PETS and crawling children…if left on the floor.rug and not vacuumed up, if licked and ingested it can dissolve their mucus membranes internally. It’s a very painful death too.
        I know of 2 people who accidentally killed their pets that way !

      • I think that Boric acid and cocoa would get more then those beetles. I have done Boric acid and white sugar. Thanks! But these larder beetles are on my couch , which I vacuum regularly. I throw out any food that is even questionable in my cupboards. Lots of humidity this year, so I have thrown out flour and other powder food.

  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?

      • regina says:

        Bug man, I have insects that look similar to this but are eating an old wooden jelly cabinet. Any idea what those are? And how to get rid of them?

  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

    • bugman says:

      There might be food crumbs in the couch that are sustaining them. Vacuuming the couch wouldn’t hurt.

    • I am finding them on my couch and I have 2 Poms that chew treats on couch . I seriously vacuum almost daily through out the house. I had fleas last year and that is the worst. I find vacuuming helps but I am still seeing them. Threw out all powder food and cleaned cupboards and closets. I may have to get help to pull couch out. It’s due but I am unable to pull it out. Thanks for sharing. I also will put boric acid and cocoa in a jar lid under 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.

  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

  39. Betty Krueger says:

    I found ones that look like those in the picture this summer..> find them in the sink and cupboards and a very fine sawdust in my cupboards,,I have good in jars and containers so don’t know where they came from..they’re under my sink and counters at times. I found a powder at Home Depot but it doesn’t seem to be working on them, I cleaned out ALL my cupboards, poured some of the powder in cupboards, waited 2 days, then vacuumed, washed down with bleach,,,today I found one in sink and one crawled onto a cake I had baked and placed on the counter,,,they’re driving me nuts and I can’t afford an exterminator and don’t want to tear all my cupboards out,,,my house is an older home and I’m thinking they came with it when they moved it here as I’ve seen fine sawdust shavings the last few years but never saw any bugs until this spring,,,I’m at a loss as what to do next!!!

  40. amber northam says:

    I am finding these bugs around my house too. I find like 1 a day or every other day. and I do kill them on sight but not really sure where they came from? I live in a condo complex, would they be coming from another condo? is this something that could be infesting the whole building?

  41. Taylor James Sheldrick says:

    I’ve been seeing these bugs in my room around my bed on the floor. I’ve also found a couple on my pelows on my bed when I did I flipped out, just about jump out of my pants. I filed everything off my bed and though it on the floor and got some new sheet and blankets and two clean pelows tryed to keep my self together for the night. Only got like two hours of sleep that night. Reply if anyone has tips to get rid of them

  42. Taylor James Sheldrick says:

    I don’t like bugs at all, snakes and spiders don’t really bother me just bugs do

  43. Irene Rose says:

    Do they fly? I’ve been getting bugs that look exactly like this but they’ve been flying in through the window. I accidentally squished 1 & every time I find 1 I find it dead not too long after. I don’t have any around the house except the living room where the window is open. I don’t mind them they just crawl around on the carpet but I don’t like seeing dead bugs i keep vacuuming but it seems like they visit then die daily is this the same bug?

  44. Dawn says:

    Hey bug man, I know I see everything stating these ae only around food, I never see them around food only in clothing. Is there another bug that resembles the lader beetle that we would find in clothing. Like when I bring out summer clothes that were stored for the winter?

  45. Patsy says: Here is a good info on Larder beetles life cycle and yes will eat through wood etc.

  46. Beth says:

    Hi Bugman,
    Can these larder beetles feed on dead mice? Having had a mice invasion, many bate stations are in the basement.
    Had one larder beetle dead near floor vent above basement area. Checked entire food supply in kitchen which was already container protected due to possibility of mice getting upstairs.
    No pets / pet food so, cannot find any source… ?

    • bugman says:

      We are not certain if Larder Beetles will feed on dead mice. Other household pests like Carpet Beetle larvae certainly will. After posting this, we received a comment from Josh who wrote: “they feed on dead insects, mice anything protein related. If you have dead mice they will have lots of food.”

  47. Stacey says:

    I have discovered these bugs in an old forgotten bag of cat food, no prob, just threw it out in the yard for the Blue Jays who scarfed it all up
    . I’ve also found that they like to eat PAPER and have eaten holes through some old paper backs, thankfully no classics, lol.
    And today, after cleaning out a neglected corner of a room behind a chair, I found that the cat had thrown up back there and the larder beetles had been eating the dried throw up, ok, So I cleaned that too.
    About an hour later I was sitting having a phone conversation when suddenly I felt a BURNING pain on the back of my leg and I instinctively swatted it, only to behold a now half dead larder beetle laying on the floor..sucker crawled up my leg and took a little bite outta me !
    Maybe he was upset I busted up his little dried puke eating party ? Anyway,
    now I know, they are capable of biting if you turn your back on them 😀

  48. vixs says:

    hi I’ve started to find a little zig zag black n cream beetle in my bedroom I’ve been told their carpet beetle is the beetle above the same thing or something different I do have a floordrobe so thinking I need a spring clean only find them in the spring

  49. Lindsay says:

    Always find no more than 1 or 2 around cat food, especially when we put out wet cat food.. didn’t know where were coming from for year or 2 until finally moved stove to paint – bingo! P.s. they like to PLAY dead

  50. Jean says:

    My biggest shock was that they can fly! Maybe it is only at certain stages. Had one fly and land in my sink an hour ago. I know they come in various dry food packages because shortly after opening the seal on the product they appear and not singly, way sooner than one finding an open package and reproducing. Glad to hear I am not alone.

  51. Jayne says:

    Would they also be found in wild bird food? I usually find them in my bathroom or living room.

  52. ALANNA says:

    I have them in my car I have emptied out every thing covered it in borax overnight and they still are there Help!! I can’t even drive my car!!

  53. Amaya says:

    I read a lot of the comments, and many of the commenters, are definitely not seeing this particular insect in their homes…the sizes mentioned, locales, etc. didn’t add up.

    Larder Beetles and their larvae, are not tiny really…the larvae range from 3/4 to almost an inch in length.

    …the adult beetles are a bit smaller.

    If you find something that looks similar, but is smaller (grain of rice size)…it’s more likely a Carpet Beetle, both insects are a bummer to be infested by.

    The larvae for this insect don’t eat wood, but DO burrow holes in it, to hide/and or pupate.

    …they are drawn to protein based food sources.

    Your pet’s food, your fur coat, your leather Ugg boots…basically anything organic, protein based and preferably with a fatty content.

    …they are also carrion eaters, the more rotten the better.

    They love cheeses, cured meats…but will even eat the dead carcasses of some other insects.

    …if you find a beetle, you don’t necessarily have an infestation, but if you find one or more larvae, you like do, somewhere.

    Finding their food source is objective number one.

    …get rid of it, be sure it is well maintained in plastic, if possible.

    Check pantry food sources.

    …if you don’t see any signs of the larvae, but you want to be sure.

    Put the food stuffs into plastic containers (not bags, they can easily chew through those, or glass…then freeze it.

    …sometimes that is even good before disposal of a known batch, because then they aren’t just going to make their way back inside after disposal.

    If you can’t find them in pet food, or the pantry…they also like insect collections, hunting trophies/taxidermy, any animal products.

    So check those items too, though most leather, sheepskin, etc..would titillate a Carpet Beetle more.

    …if you don’t have pets or small children, you can place small pieces of cured bacon in an easily accessible containers around the house.

    That will attract them quickly, and you can more likely pinpoint what room they are in at that point.

    …if they are in the walls, likely living off of Cluster Fly carcasses or a dead animal, just call an exterminator. 😛

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