Larder beetles are a common household pest that can quickly infest stored food items, causing damage and contamination. These beetles thrive in dark, cool areas and often gain entry to homes through cracks or crevices. Adult larder beetles lay eggs in food sources, and once the larvae hatch, they begin feeding on a variety of materials, which can lead to extensive damage in your home 1.
Understanding how to get rid of larder beetles is crucial for maintaining a clean and healthy living environment. In this article, we will discuss effective methods for larder beetle control, ranging from prevention measures to various removal techniques. With the right approach, you can safeguard your pantry and prevent future beetle infestations.
Understanding Larder Beetles
Larder beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis with four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Adult larder beetles lay their eggs in food sources, which hatch into larvae that feed on the same food source. Once they are fully grown, they search for shelter to transform into pupae. During this stage, they can bore into wood or other soft materials up to 1/2 inches deep for protection (source).
Larder beetles predominantly feed on meat or meat by-products but can also survive on various organic materials. Infestations in homes are often due to infested dry dog and cat food or bird feed. They can also infest stored food products like rat or mouse baits (source).
Common Attraction Points:
- Dry pet food
- Bird feed
- Meat by-products
- Stored food products
Pros of Larder Beetles:
- Help in decomposition of organic materials
Cons of Larder Beetles:
- Contaminate stored food items
- Can bore into wood, causing damage
Here’s a comparison table of larder beetles and another common household pest.
|Meat, pet food
|1/4 to 3/8 inches
|1/16 to 1/8 inches
|Wood boring, food
|Fabrics, upholstered furniture
|Stored food products
In conclusion, understanding the life cycle and habits of larder beetles is essential to effectively control and prevent infestations in the future.
Identifying Infestation Signs
One sign of a larder beetle infestation is finding damaged items. These beetles are known for damaging:
- Hides and other animal products
- Dried meats
- Horns and skin
- High protein foods, especially pet food1
Monitor these items regularly to spot any damage caused by larder beetles.
Another sign of infestation is the physical sighting of larder beetles, especially in large numbers. Areas to check for larder beetles include:
Make sure to inspect these areas if you notice a large number of adult beetles or larvae around your home.
Effective Prevention Methods
- Store food items in air-tight containers.
- Use glass or sturdy plastic containers instead of paper or cardboard.
Proper storage is crucial in preventing larder beetle infestations. Ensure that you store food items in air-tight containers to keep beetles from reaching them. Using glass or sturdy plastic containers, rather than paper or cardboard, will provide extra protection.
- Clean pantry shelves and cupboards regularly.
- Dispose of expired or infested food items promptly.
Regular cleaning is another essential prevention method. Keep your pantry shelves and cupboards clean, and be sure to dispose of expired or infested food items promptly. This will help reduce the chances of larder beetles finding suitable food sources in your home.
|Requires air-tight containers
|Reduces food sources
|May require more time
Combining these methods will help create an environment that is less attractive to larder beetles, reducing the chances of an infestation in your home.
- Insecticides: Apply registered insecticides to the infested areas. Be sure to follow the product’s guidelines.
- Bait traps: Utilize larder beetle-specific bait traps to attract and eliminate the insects.
|Efficient in killing larder beetles
|May contain harmful chemicals
|Targeted, safe for humans and pets
|Time-consuming, may not be effective
- Cleaning: Keep kitchen and storage areas clean and free from food debris.
- Proper food storage: Store pantry items in sealed containers to prevent beetle access.
- Vacuum regularly
- Wipe surfaces and shelves
- Dispose trash consistently
Characteristics of non-chemical methods:
- Safe for humans and pets
A comparison of the two main non-chemical techniques is outlined in the table below.
|Effective in preventing secondary infestations
|Requires consistent effort
|Proper food storage
|Keeps larder beetles away from food items
|Investment in sealed containers might be needed
Consider the above approaches based on your specific needs, preferences, and home environment.
Enlisting Professional Help
Hiring a professional pest control company can be an effective solution for larder beetle infestations. Professionals have the expertise and equipment to deal with these pests.
They typically offer services such as inspections, treatments, and follow-up consultations. For example, a pest control expert may:
- Identify infestation sources
- Use specialized insecticides
- Offer prevention tips
When choosing a professional, consider factors like reputation, experience, and cost. A comparison table can help you decide:
|ABC Pest Control
Some pros and cons of hiring professional help include:
- Fast and efficient
- Guaranteed results
- Expert advice
- Possible exposure to chemicals
- Temporary disruptions
In some cases, DIY methods may be sufficient for dealing with larder beetles. But for more severe or persistent infestations, enlisting professional help can ensure complete eradication and prevent future occurrences.
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Larder Beetle
Subject: What is this
Location: Ontario, Canada
January 22, 2016 6:57 am
So i was in my closet looking for a shirt to wear and i seen this bug, if you could tell me what it is, it would be really helpful. The bug was about 1cm long.
Signature: Please help
This is a Larder Beetle, a common household pest. According to the Penn State Department of Entomology site: “The larder beetle is a commercial pest as well as a household pest. This is a cosmopolitan species which was historically a pest of cured meats in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The use of refrigeration, the purchase of meats in small quantities, and the lack of home curing of meats, have decreased the economic importance of this insect. However, these beetles are still common in homes, museums, mills, livestock facilities, and any place that contains a suitable food source. Typically, these would include any animal by-product such as dried dog food, furs, hides, and feathers. Also, many pantry items can become infested. Another potential food source are dead insects in attic and wall voids that become trapped when they seek an overwintering site. In the fall insects such as flies, bugs, beetles and wasps, accumulate in attics and similar spaces in the home. Many of the hibernating insects die, attracting larder beetles which lay eggs on dead insects. The larvae of the larder beetle then feed on the dead insects.” The site also states: “Major injury occurs from larval feeding and the boring of the larvae before pupation. Larder beetles will attack stored ham, bacon, other meats, cheeses, tobacco, dried fish, dried museum specimens, and pet foods, for example. The larvae will bore into any commodity containing meat products; they have also been known to bore into structural timbers. Tests have shown that they can bore into lead with ease and tin with some difficulty. The boring is for the purpose of providing a protected place for pupation, not for feeding.” Your synthetic clothing is not in danger of being damaged by Larder Beetles, but your feather boas, mink coats and leather goods may all be damaged. If you have a big bargain bag of dog food in the home, you should check it as a site of infestation.
Letter 2 – Larder Beetle
Help, gross bugs
I’m hoping you can identify these two bugs for me. The small brown and tan ones are suddenly everywhere in my house, but mostly in my kitchen drawers and in the bathtub. The black and red ones are just mean looking, and these two were found dead in the bathtub, although I have seen them around other areas of the house. We live in an old farmhouse, and am hoping you are not going to tell me they are eating my house!!
Your small beetle is a type of Pantry Beetle, but we will write to Eric Eaton for more information. He just got back and writes: “The other is the larder beetle, Dermestes lardarius, a frequent pest of stored, dried meat if I recall correctly.”
Wonderful. Thank you. We just found a bunch of cat food that had been pushed under the microwave cabinet, so we are going to clean that up along with getting rid of some “trophys” that my sons and husbands have hanging, hopefully that will take care of the problem. Thank you for getting back to me so quickly!
Letter 3 – Bed Bugs and Larder Beetles in New York
Subject: ID bugs
Location: New York
December 10, 2013 8:09 pm
Would like to know what type of bugs these are
Signature: Best regard
The smaller, brown insects are Bed Bugs and you should probably seek professional assistance with their eradication. The larger striped insects are Larder Beetles. They are a nuisance that infests stored foods.
Letter 4 – Larder Beetle
Subject: What is this?
Location: Southern Nh
May 13, 2016 7:56 am
Found on rug below open window. 70 degree day, 6pm. Window screen had hole in it. Found 8 bugs of varying sizes the largest was no larger than 1/8 of an inch. I live in Litchfield NH. House is 50 feet from dense wooded acerage.
Signature: Skin is crawling
Dear Skin is crawling,
This Larder Beetle, Dermestes lardarius, is a common household pest that will infest stored foods in the pantry. According to the Penn State Department of Entomology site: “The larder beetle is a commercial pest as well as a household pest. This is a cosmopolitan species which was historically a pest of cured meats in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The use of refrigeration, the purchase of meats in small quantities, and the lack of home curing of meats, have decreased the economic importance of this insect. However, these beetles are still common in homes, museums, mills, livestock facilities, and any place that contains a suitable food source. Typically, these would include any animal by-product such as dried dog food, furs, hides, and feathers. Also, many pantry items can become infested. Another potential food source are dead insects in attic and wall voids that become trapped when they seek an overwintering site. In the fall insects such as flies, bugs, beetles and wasps, accumulate in attics and similar spaces in the home. Many of the hibernating insects die, attracting larder beetles which lay eggs on dead insects. The larvae of the larder beetle then feed on the dead insects.”