What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Beetle and Larvae?
Location: Kotzebue, Alaska
April 18, 2011 11:57 pm
I am finding these beetles all over the house on the floor, and I just scooped up 7 or 8 of what I believe to be a larvae stage of the beetle. The worms appear to have six legs and at first I thought they were a type of mealworm but I have been finding these beetles all over the house. I live in northern Alaska, close to Russia and I had the bugs outside in sub-zero temperatures and they are still alive. It is strange to me that even with the extreme cold they are still alive. What can they be? The beetles are black and all have a white stripe halfway down the shell.
Signature: Alaskan

Larder Beetle and Larvae

Dear Alaskan,
You have submitted a photo of a Larder Beetle and Larder Beetle Larvae,
Dermestes lardarius.  These are pests of stored foods but they may also infest museum specimens like stuffed animals.  If they are not in your pantry, you may want to closely inspect your taxidermy specimens like hunting trophies.  We are postdating this entry to go live during our holiday later in the week.

They are not only in the pantry, we have been finding them on the floors on the corners of the wall. Even with the best of insulation it is not un-common for insects and mice to spend the winter within a house’s insulation in our area so I assumed they were just one of our winter visitors waking up for Spring. The ones I caught are still alive and kicking somewhere outside so any future beetles I find are heading outside as well, thank you for the ID!

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Alaska

60 Responses to Larder Beetle and Larvae

  1. Helen Kenny says:

    i have these in my house to i live in northern alberta i do have a dog and will try the microwave and freesing tip but if they live up north freezing prop wont work
    i grab with paper towel and throw in toilet and flush or down the drain in the sink with hot water but throw away bread,cereal and crackers constantly they find their way in to the plastic and cardboard wrappper even through not open. even get in plastic tupperware containers which are sealed. thanks for the ident.

  2. Bug Crazy says:

    we live in north west ontario and the house we moved into last Sept seems INFESTED with these things, they are dropping from light fixtures and crawling from wall baseboards , and have to be swept up ( yes there are that many) at least 6 times a day. How can i get rid of them ???

    • bugman says:

      Find the source of the infestation in the pantry or in stored pet food or bird seed.

      • Bug Crazy says:

        Thats the big problem, Bugman, these things are not in our food, or cupboards or in our pets food, like they normally are, they seem to be coming out of the walls and ceiling. Is there a bug bomb or some kind of spray that will kill them ? I want to spray the attic space, but i want to be sure i use something that will work

        • bugman says:

          We don’t provide extermination advice. We wonder if they might be wood boring beetles like Trypodendron pictured on BugGuide at:

          • Bug Crazy says:

            no, they are definitely larder bugs and larder bug larvae. Its a very old house , so im sure there must be dead bugs in the attic and walls that ill need to deal with in order to get rid of this issue

          • Larry and Peggy Montgomery says:

            Ditto. I just figured out my problem, thanks Bugman and Bug Crazy.! I also don’t have food out. However our renter had cows up close to our house for about 6 months last year. The flies were swarming on the outside of our house, some came inside too. I treated the outside swarming flies with Malathion. I bet there are bunches and bunches of dead flies in the sofits and between the siding and insulation. That would explain the lader beetle larvae coming in the vents in the bathroom and from under the baseboard. They are eating the decomposing flies in the walls of the house! Gross!

  3. Laura says:

    If a family of Larder beetles have taken up residency in a taxidermy mount how would one go about removing them with out damaging or destroying their trophy??

    • bugman says:

      You might want to seek the type of professional assistance provided by someone familiar with museum specimen preservation. A local taxidermist might also be able to provide the services needed.

  4. Kendra says:

    We have these all over our home. Our home is older and has been moved. I’ve been looking into what these larvae are for a few months now and keep learning a little more. We have had a pretty significant problem with cluster flies and also a significant mouse problem but have been having an exterminator come once a month for almost a year now to help with those issues. I know that they thrive on the fly caucuses and the dead mice. Our mice problem is mainly in our unfinished basement with a door that closes it off from the main living area. I know that we have dead mice in our walls because before I hired the exterminator we could hear them in our walls frequently then smell them for weeks when they die in there. This leads me to my question. How can I get rid of these bettles and larvae? Is there any hope if I can’t get rid of the dead mice in my walls? I’m just so tired of the larvae being in our clothes and I’ve even found one in my daughters diaper that I removed at a wedding…. Please please help!!! Thank you!!!!

    • Melissa says:

      Kendra – I totally know what you are experiencing! I don’t like bugs at all…and certainly NOT IN MY HOUSE!!! Plus, I think those larvae are icky! We live in MN in a newer home and it is happening to us. We primarily have them on our top level. I proved to my husband that they were coming down from the attic through the lights, ceiling fan, smoke detectors, vents etc. by putting big plastic bins on the floor right under each of them. So, when they’d fall from the ceiling, they’d fall into the bins. I JUST KNEW my cleaning wasn’t that poor (especially when I had been on major cleaning sprees since we first discovered them – I even took all of my clothes out of my closet and inspected each garment…I even emptied drawers, vacuumed under/behind/inside etc and washed the items if I found one in a particular area). So, I hired an insulation person (my husband helped). They didn’t see an infestation in our attic – only say dead flies. But, they aren’t going to be able to see all bugs hiding in the insulation. But, I had them take down all of the lights/smoke detectors on our top level and foam insulated up in the ceiling to create a barrier between the inside living part of our house and the attic. They could not do that very well with the exhaust/fan vents since those holes are so big and they go to the outside. I had them do that in April and until last week we have had NONE!!! But, the warmer weather has brought them out. I’m sure that there have been eggs in the house which can explain some of them. But I am soooo hoping/praying they aren’t coming in the ceiling fan, the smoke detectors. The globe lights seem to keep them contained and I can heat them up in there by having the light on for 3-5min which then kills them. I have read that the mature larvae can bore through lead and wood. So, either eggs were up in the globe ‘light’ parts already or they have bored through the foam insulation and got into the lights. I have light carpet and light tile so I can see the larvae on the floor very easily. ‘Can lights’ were also harder for them to seal up but they seemed to have done well with the main one I had issues with (above my sons bathtub…it used to be bad and I had put a sheet of plastic and tape on my ceiling to prevent them from falling in my sons tub). I’m sure people think I’m a weirdo. But, my home is supposed to be my sanctuary…not a bug house. Also, vacuuming along the edges of the floor/wall and furniture with the vacuum tool regularly I believe helps as well….I am praying they aren’t coming down through the walls and under the floor boards. But, my husband says that it is a tight fit with the sheet rock and header boards. (I sure hope that is true…otherwise I will never beat these things…and they will continue to be my battle!!! I can’t imagine still dealing with this when I’m old!!!) With the latest ones (12 in a week) I decided to hang some bins from the ceiling vents/exhaust fans to prevent those from falling down to the floor so they can’t roam my house. If I catch them in the bins then I can see them/kill them. I just put them up yesterday… so none have been in there yet. I also discovered that they must be in between the floors between our top floor and main level as one fell from the ‘can light’ on our main level. So, I may need to have that guy seal up those lights for me too. I hope some of this has been helpful to you. I drive my husband nuts with this but he was very patient with the bins I just hung. I wish you the best and wish me luck too!! God bless!

      • Cathy Halvorson says:

        I also had them in our new house tat we were building but not living in yet.I took one to the agriculture office they identified them as larder beetles and said to use spray or strips with Diclorovis in it,It worked, They were coming from the attic where flies had lived and fed on dead flies. My spelling may not be correct but since we were not living there it was okay to leave these bombs in our house until we came home and then we removed them as they are dangerous to pets and children.

      • Patsy says:

        Oh I wish you were here to help me . I have birds parrots etc and they are here for the bird food. I am the only one for housework here Mom is disabled And not in Hubby job description just mine and they are driving me nuts and. Creepy

      • Halven says:

        Do you still have the larvae? Or, did you figure out how to end it? I have exactly what you have described.

  5. Marnee says:

    i have these everywhere, everyone is saying they can from my dogs or my pantry. I haven’t found any in my food or the animals food. I come home from work and they are all over the floors and i cant get rid of them. Every time i tell someone there not in my food they start telling me they are a different bug. They are not a different bug, trust me ive been looking at them for the past 6 months. There have been less of them now that is has been winter but not that its warming up, i see more and more of them and are scared im going to be overwhelmed with them again. People have told me not to use a bug bomb but that’s the only place i can think of them coming from is my basement which is just basically a dirt cellar and no room to go down and spray. Is there a certain kind of bug bomb that will work on them or am i better off just crawling down there and spraying or calling pest control to do it.

  6. Bug Crazy says:

    Marnee, they dont just feed on human food or dog food, we didnt have them in our food either, these little critters will eat anything old dead bugs too.. we live in an area where there are massive amounts of common house flies in every nook and cranny inside and out ., they die in the walls and attic and these larder beetles feed on the carcasses…if you have an older house its nearly impossible to get rid of them . I have used home defense a spray that you use once a month or so and it helped to a degree…they were still dead everywhere but at least they were dead!

    • iodine says:

      What kind of home defense spray did you use?
      I live in the country and have lots of flies in my siding and attic so have had these pest around for a long time. Have even had orkin but with little luck. I vacuum all the time and still get them, even tried nylar and another insecticide. they are relentless.

  7. Jaimie says:

    I have found 2 dead Larder Beetles next to my tv stand but no where else I have looked in all of our food and our animals food. and still see no more I looked inside the t.v. stand and only realized one of my books have a hole right in the middle. is it possible I only had the two and no more? I also have a guinea pig and Gerbil I wanted to know if the beetles could harm them in anyway?

  8. matt says:

    I had a bat in my house throughout the summer until it must have died somewhere in the vast woodwork. I bug bombed twice over two weeks. The bat seems to have died, but larder bugs appeared, many dead or dying from the bombing. They’ve continued to show up in various places on the floor, probably feeding on the dead bat that is hidden somewhere in the ceiling, or walls.

    • Terry says:

      Too bad you killed the bat 🙁 . They are extremely helpful mammals as they consume two to three times their weight in mosquitoes and other insects each night. Probably could have taken care of most of your larder beetle problems for you. I encourage bats to come to my property by erecting a “bat box” which will house at least 30 bats although I haven’t been lucky enough yet to have any move in – in fact I see no bats in my neighbourhood anymore as so many of them have been wiped out by something called “white nose” disease exclusive to bats. Anyway, this site isn’t about bats, so enough there. I hope you’ve been able to remedy your beetle problems. Diatomaceous earth is very helpful for any infestations and their larvae — google it and read up.

  9. cathy schaef says:

    Hello, I live in winnipeg, canada, I too have a problem with this larder bug. I’m finding them all over the house, I’m a cleaning fanatic so this is just making me crazy. I feel in combat 24/7, last night got up to use the washroom and just did a quick scan of house upstairs and sure enough there was an adult larder bug on my carpet near front door, I was livid! We shampood the whole living room, hallway, master bedroom etc 1 wk ago and I feel somehow this brought them out if thats possible. The cleaning solution affected them somehow and their not sure where to hide now. I’ve had this problem other springs, but not this bad, because they show up in our bedroom floors I’m completely creeped out. My grown son’s bedroom is in the basement, so I did a major cleaning campaign there, and. So far so good, the battle rages on, I’m in my combat gear, bring it on you little b_________ds lol. Wish me luck, and many good wishes to your battle as well. Love cathy

    • Patsy says:

      I am here in Winnipeg with you fighting these devil beetles Cathy ??Can’t stand them and this year2017 hanging on screens trying to get in. I crush everything and vacuum but disabled so find it hard for me but I am in Battle too. Good Luck Everyone.

  10. Vivian says:

    i have these in my 45year old mobile that’s falling apart and they’re doing no harm far as i can see so have no reason to kill them. long as they don’t bother my pets (rescue cats and dogs) i don’t see a reason to harm them. but it’s good to see others have this problem, just don’t get the deal with destroying everything with “bug bombs” and the like. do any of you garden or do you just wipe out all the bugs there too? sorry, it just seems senseless to kill something just because you don’t like it!

    • Mike says:

      Vivian, I gather the hairs on the beetles can cause an itchy reaction in some people, certainly something I found and Google seems to suggest others have had the same.

      Even if you don’t get the reaction I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to get rid of them from a home. If you’re ok with them then great but I don’t think the bugs in the garden comparison is a fair one. I have to confess to being a complete wimp where creepy crawlies are concerned and when I had them I wasn’t able to relax in my own home! In the garden I can avoid them by moving away but I haven’t got that option in my house! I was also paranoid about what friends etc would think of me/my cleaning but that was much less of an issue.

      • Vivian says:

        fair enough. my situation is i don’t care what others think pf my cleaning and also because i have pets and the house is falling apart anyway it doesn’t matter what i clean or don’t. but i do appreciate your comment too.

  11. Katrina says:

    I just found two of these bugs burrowing into the carpet under my newborns crib, which is far away from any food supply. We have no pets, I don’t understand where they could be coming from. Are you sure they won’t like burrow in her ears or anything like that??

  12. JB says:

    I’m having the same problems from these bugs. I rent and have been living here for 4 yrs and never had a problem before. They started to come out back in March/April. I have two indoor cats and the way I found them was my cat threw up a fur ball and picked it up to throw away and there was 3 hiding under their fur ball. They are not in any food but now I’m finding their larva every where. Linen closet, dirty clothes hampers. I have been vacuuming and steaming my kitchen and bathroom floors. Help anyone how can I get rid of them??. Is it possible that they got in when an old large tree was cut back away from the house and they got in thru the screens??. I do know they also live in bark and wood piles. Please help Im going crazy.

  13. Julie says:

    I think I have them burrowing in my fiberglass hot tub….opened it up today and there’s white fluffy dust piles all around the underside of the tub…I can hear chewing but I can’t see any holes…I have poison under there to keep the rodents at bay and there was two little larder beetles in there eating it…I suppose they eat the mice as they die…bomb the underside of the tub????

  14. lois says:

    We just found these in our dogs food bin, are they harmful to the dog if the dog eats them? I know she has bound to have eaten some of them. She seems fine but now Im worried.

    • bugman says:

      According to entomologist and author of “Insects of the Los Angeles Basin” Charles Hogue, in writing generally about Pantry Beetles: “several species act as intermediate hosts and vectors fo the human tapeworms.”

  15. Tammy says:

    I’ve got the solution my grandmother always told me to use garlic powder and cinnamon to get rid of fleas well it works on them bugs so this is what I do one cup garlic powder 1 cup cinnamon one One cup clove one cup baking soda 1 cup corn stocks mix it all in together well sprinkler on my rug and in 15 minutes you can see these bugs crawling out of the rug and bugs and flees you name all the bugs crawling out then I vacuumed them up take them out to the barn pile and burn them mother Humpers I do this once a month to keep them at bay during the summer good luck hope it works for you as well as it does for me

  16. Amy says:

    Larder beetles DO eat wood. The larvae burrow into the wood and eat it. They even shed their skin and block up the hole so it’s not as noticeable. They destroyed a hard wood armoire, a wide dresser and a night stand in my home. They also made holes through many of the books I used to love reading. The term bookworm applies here. The larvae burrow through and eat the books until they become adults. They even eat through clothing which is why some may have them in their laundry baskets. They will cause little holes in the clothing and you might wonder if you items are tearing or ripping in the washing machine/dryer. I cannot figure out how to get rid of them. The only place I don’t have them is in the pantry and the bedrooms! I have sprayed, I vacuum daily, exterminators go through our apartment building on a monthly basis… We never had them and we’ve had birds for a long time (I always keep their food in sealed containers). The only thing strange was that one of the neighbors was evicted next to us, big clean out, horrid mess, terrible smells. Since that happened we started getting the beetles. I am quite done and frustrated with the hole thing. I keep having to put my birds in the bathroom and spray around the apartment and move furniture. I also have a child on the spectrum which doesn’t help. I can’t give people the time they need because I’m fighting this daily battle. I’ve basically been told to “get rid of anything they are attracted to” by exterminators… So live without furniture, mattress, clothes, etc… I live in an apartment and certainly cannot remove the carpet. How the hell are we supposed to get rid of these things?

    • Liz says:

      Found this today. I posted below swell. Hope it helps!! (fingers crossed) http://bugspray.com/article/larderbeetlecontrol.html

      • Liz says:

        I started getting these once unit above begun renovation. See them once in a while on the living room curtain which I assumed are coming from outside. Every little black and grey dot freaks me out!! I treated my deck with bleach and water…more bleach than water to be honest. I wish I could find its home to destroy them, but I hope the bug spray company I found could help. I thought I was going mad!!

        Please let me know if you try out the bug sprays form the link. I’ll update you as well.

  17. Laura says:

    Nice post!! Thanks for your sharing. Are they dangerous?

  18. Pam says:

    A few questions related to these beetles, which I’ve just discovered in my home:

    1. Do they eat horsehair plaster walls? (I suspect this to be an issue with my aged house, and with the other person’s old house above in the comments).
    2. What are the white cotton-ball-like webs that I find where I’ve found larvae?
    3. Are there any ways to bait them? (Particularly if they are attracted to the walls of my house and I can’t remove their food source).
    4. Just how durable are the eggs and larvae against wash cycles? I’d rather not dry clean a ton of my clothes, nor can I wash a lot of my clothes on a very high temperature. I’d appreciate any sense of their durability, even though I know that it might not be 100% guaranteed to get rid of them, it would be nice to know I would be likely to get a certain percentage of them at a lower temperature…

  19. Terry says:

    I had a LOT of Larder Beetles running around in my kitchen when I was feeding dry kibble to my cats. I had suspected they were coming out of the bags of pet food. Someone I know bought the same pet food and had the same Larder Beetles. My remedy was to buy a lidded plastic container large enough to hold my bags of kibble & that ended the problem for some reason. I read up on the beetles and apparently they’re favourite attraction is pet food and pet hair and to get rid of the beetles you just needed to get rid of the source of their attraction. I vacuumed regularly & did a daily search under & around kitchen appliances & got rid of any hiding. Eventually I weaned the cats onto canned food & when I stopped buying the dry food for them, my Larder Beetle problem disappeared. All my investigative sources said they are harmless to both pets & humans but are a nuisance only. If you do as I did to eliminate them and if you think you still might have larvae creeping around the house you can apply a dusting of Diatomaceous Earth found in any hardware store of Co-op around baseboards and other places in the house.

  20. Mary says:

    I have found these in my new carpet. Never had a bug prob. Maybe a spider or two. I was told to use DIATOMACEOUS. iT IS A POWDER, YOU poof it on the area needed., even in the kitchen. I was told it was ok for pets and food products. It is like valcanic ash. they walk across it and die.????? I used it and have found fewer little critters.

    • Terry says:

      Glad it’s working for you Mary. Diatomaceous Earth is actually ground up sea shells & if viewed under a microscope it shows that the fragments of the ground shells — or powder— has razor-like edges. When any insect or larvae moves through the shards of powder the razor edges of it cuts through the exoskeletons of the bugs & they get dehydrated & die. Some people give food grade Diatomaceous Earth to their pets in their food to rid them of worms — however — “I” am not one brave enough to put this razor edged stuff into the delicate internal organs of my beloved pets. For that, I opt for a Drontal tablet 🙂 Good luck in eradicating those nuisance beetles.

  21. Halven says:

    I had a pest control company spray the baseboards in the entire house for $195. They used Cy-Kick–one gallon of water to one ounce of Cy-Kick. I later found it online and purchased it (along with a spray pump) so I don’t have to pay a pest control company again. It’s odorless and dries fast. The larder larvae almost all disappeared and those that I saw days later were slow and appeared to be dying. I can’t find the source. I’ve had 4 people go through the attic–all saw no activity and no dead animals. They saw dead flies but didn’t think there were more than any other house would have. I also had the chimney inspected–nothing in it. The larvae drop from ceiling fixtures and live everywhere. It’s very frustrating that I can’t find a source. It’s our third year in the house and we’ve seen them each year…we start to see larve around end of May and then a decrease in late August. And in the last week I’ve killed three adult larder beetles. At least it seems to be seasonal. But still, if I could find the source the issue would go away I assume. Very annoying.

    • Terry says:

      Halven if they’re dropping out of your ceiling fixtures I’d suspect they live behind the drywall of the ceilings & probably inside the walls. Anyone inspecting your house wouldn’t be able to see bugs or larvae living in these areas. Just a suggestion here, but if you haven’t already tried something in that area you could try to make some holes & blow a quantity of Diatomaceous Earth into the ceilings & walls of the rooms where they are appearing & repatch & paint the holes. Any larvae or beetles moving through that powder would get shredded – along with any other bugs living in those areas including spiders. Diatomaceous Earth doesn’t expire, it will always be there doing its job once applied. I don’t know what you could use to blow the powder in there but possibly a shop vac as they can blow out the contents of their tanks as well as contain anything sucked in.

  22. Mary says:

    Terry, I find this all very interesting. Would you happen to know of the origin of these things. We live in Alaska and in our home for 35 years and only a spider or two. I just got new carpet and that is when the problem began. I’m not saying it came in the carpet but it is a thought. The carpet man said I needed the origin and maybe he could track something down, If they are native to where he gets his carpet. Thank, you have been most helpful already.

    • Terry says:

      Here’s one link I found and it looks like the Larder may have indeed embedded itself in your carpet, probably at the store where it was shipped from. https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=Photo+of+Canadian+Bobcat&fr=ush-mailn&fr2=p%3Aml%2Cm%3Asb
      When they were in my house a few years ago they were clearly from the Kirkland dry cat food bags I’d purchased at Costco. I must have been lucky enough to have eradicated them before an infestation got underway but sweeping, vacuuming, and not only storing the bags of dry food in sealed plastic containers but actually weaning my cats onto canned food and buying no more dry food for them. A friend’s son had bought the Kirkland dry food for his dog & had seen these same Larders in his kitchen. Not trying to put down the Kirkland dry pet food brand though, as they can originate from any of the various products you bring into your home…..perhaps even only the eggs or larvae of such which can’t be seen rather than the adults. What I had read up about them was that they were very attracted to pet food and hair…..in your case, the carpeting and it said Larders were easy to get rid of simply by removing the source of their food/attraction, which luckily happened in my case. It does seem likely that your carpet hosted them in its travels.

    • Terry says:

      Here’s another link that might be helpful. Looks like since you live in Alaska you could roll up your carpet this winter & leave it outside to freeze for about a week & while it’s out there, vacuum everywhere thoroughly to get up any eggs or larvae that might have originated from the carpet — even do the walls, as larvae are well known to climb walls & find places to nest — I found this out many years ago when I found larvae from Guinea Pig food finding its way out of the bag & climbing up the walls where the bag of food was kept — no doubt had hatched out from the Sunflower seeds and other seeds in the bag. I found some of the larvae half way up the wall in the room where the Guinea Pigs lived in my apartment. If you have hardwood floors I don’t doubt many of the eggs have dropped down between the boards in the floor so I’d suggest getting Diatomaceous Earth down between those boards…..all of them….and that will kill any larvae hatching out from the eggs. Don’t vacuum the Earth out of there, leave it down between the boards for as long as you are able to and I know that thorough vacuuming will remove a lot of the Earth from there so you’d want to keep applying more of it after vacuuming. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/pdf/larderBeetle.pdf

      • Mary says:

        Well, I like the ideal of putting it outside to freeze with one exception I have aprox. 2,000 sq. ft. of new carpet and I am just now in the process of putting things back. We were driveway camping in out camper for 5 days and (sorry) this is not an option. hehehe I am using the di-earth and going to do another app. tomorrow. I did not vacuum under the furniture, I left it there, and re apply there also. Thank you.

    • Halven says:

      Mary, we are in Alaska, too. Is your problem seasonal (summer months) or all year-round?

      (Just FYI, one pest control company told me that some carpets have a protein in the glue (in the actual carpet, not glued down type necessarily) and larder beetles like the glue. Sometimes I wonder if the source is our carpet. I read that Cy-Kick could be applied to the carpet but I haven’t tried it. I just had baseboards sprayed so far.)

      • Mary says:

        Thank you . Carpet is new. Really a madding thing here. I am trying to get on top of it. and (I just may have) if they don’t start to come back. Thanks for the input< I have been through so much lately I would really like to skip the spraying if I can. Thanks again.

  23. Mary says:

    So Sorry to keep bothering you but, This link seems to be only on Bobcats and Lynx.

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