How to Get Rid of Larder Beetles: Effective Solutions for a Pest-Free Home

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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

Life Cycle

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).

Habits

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.

Larder Beetles Carpet Beetles
Food Preference Meat, pet food Fabric, carpets
Size 1/4 to 3/8 inches 1/16 to 1/8 inches
Damage Potential Wood boring, food Fabrics, upholstered furniture
Habitat Stored food products Carpets, wardrobes

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

Damaged Items

One sign of a larder beetle infestation is finding damaged items. These beetles are known for damaging:

  • Hides and other animal products
  • Dried meats
  • Cheese
  • Feathers
  • Hair
  • Horns and skin
  • High protein foods, especially pet food1

Monitor these items regularly to spot any damage caused by larder beetles.

Physical Sightings

Another sign of infestation is the physical sighting of larder beetles, especially in large numbers. Areas to check for larder beetles include:

  • Places where food is stored2
  • Bird nests
  • Animal remains
  • Bee and wasp nests3

Make sure to inspect these areas if you notice a large number of adult beetles or larvae around your home.

Effective Prevention Methods

Proper Storage

  • 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.

Regular Cleaning

  • 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.

Method Pros Cons
Proper Storage Prevents infestation Requires air-tight containers
Regular Cleaning 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.

Elimination Techniques

Chemical Methods

  • 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.
Method Pros Cons
Insecticides Efficient in killing larder beetles May contain harmful chemicals
Bait traps Targeted, safe for humans and pets Time-consuming, may not be effective

Non-Chemical Methods

  • 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.

Examples:

  • Vacuum regularly
  • Wipe surfaces and shelves
  • Dispose trash consistently

Characteristics of non-chemical methods:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Non-toxic
  • Safe for humans and pets

A comparison of the two main non-chemical techniques is outlined in the table below.

Method Pros Cons
Cleaning 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:

Company Reputation Experience Cost
ABC Pest Control Excellent 10 years $$$
XYZ Exterminators Good 5 years $$

Some pros and cons of hiring professional help include:

Pros:

  • Fast and efficient
  • Guaranteed results
  • Expert advice

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • 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.

Footnotes

  1. Larder Beetle – Plant & Pest Diagnostics – College of Agriculture and …

  2. Larder beetles | UMN Extension

  3. Larder Beetle – Plant & Pest Diagnostics – College of Agriculture and …

Reader Emails

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

Larder Beetle
Larder Beetle

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!!
Paula
Stockton, IL

Hi Paula,
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!
Paula

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
Thank you
Signature: Best regard

Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs

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.

Larder Beetles
Larder Beetles

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

Larder Beetle
Larder Beetle

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.”

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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Tags: Larder Beetle

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • These larder beetlesare a pain every spring and fall the come into my house. They feed off the box elder bugs aroundmy home and they seem to be also attracted to moisture….they annoyong bc they do bite their bite marks are similar to bed bug bits 34 bites in a row.

    Reply
  • Over the past two months we began finding these around our house. We have cleaned the house from top to bottom. If these bugs are attracted to water this could have been what attracted them to our house when we had a shower leak. We’ve now caulked around the shower, are making sure we wipe up well after showers, (etc..) and also had a repairman fix the leaky shower head.
    Is there any spray or anything that would be ‘extra’ efficient? I would appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks!

    Pam N
    Anchorage, AK

    #waterbeetles #solutionstobugproblem #ridmyhouseofbugs

    Reply
    • I have been asking the same questions. They also go after dry food esp dog food
      I have tried the same things you did. I did see some spray on Amazon but no good reviews. If you find out let me know. Thanks

      Reply
  • I just discovers these bugs.
    They were just crawling in the floor.
    It says they get in food. I never saw one in food.
    What if I ate one? yuk

    Reply
  • Do these larder beetles bite humans? My son is being bitten every night and we have found no site of bed bugs.
    We are going crazy trying to figure this out, doing laundry, cleaning, fogging, and more!
    After fogging, this is the only bug I found dead and found a live one on the couch this morning.
    Help!!!!

    Reply
  • Dr. Barbara
    June 3, 2016 7:36 am

    These bugs crop up regularly in a livingroom or bedroom where a human picks at his or her skin and pieces drop on the floor or into furniture. The picking must stop to cut off their food source. Nothing else will work.

    Reply
  • I am seconding this motion.
    I’ve been bitten by something the last couple of weeks. At first I thought it was mosquitoes or something similar. Then I thought it was some kind of restless legs thing. There is a sharp sting that immediately goes away when I flinch.

    Well, now it’s 03.30 in the morning where I live, I was woken up by getting one of those “stings”. Instead of just glancing at the foot-end, I did a proper search around the foot end of the bed. I found one small/young Dermestes Lardarius at the sheet, then I searched a bit more, and found a further 3.

    There was some in the kitchen a few years ago, but I got rid of them after a thorough cleaning. Last year I got a (free roaming)cat, and I think this is the reason. Both because there is always dry food in(and a little around) the cats bowl in the kitchen, and because she catches mice/birds. To top it off, she likes to drag the catch into the bed if I’m not around to shoo her away.

    Reply
  • Carrie Getchius
    April 25, 2018 10:57 pm

    We have what appears to be a larder bettle INFESTATION.. uhgg We have been dealing with them for the last 8 months.. every since we moved into our new house.. we have even highered professionals and even with them treating our issues we can NOT SEEM to get rid of these very real pest.. i wonder thou is there any other bug that appears to look exactally the same?? With our bettles we have NOT, NOT even once found them anywhere near any food source in our entire house.. we leave out dry catfood in a auto dispenser and our dog food sits under the dog dish TOTALLY easy to get to and most def. Is not sealed.. i have never found them or any signs of them in any human food souce either.. their favorite places to hang out are under the dishwasher. Also our 2 bathrooms, in both halls outside of these 2 bathrooms and lastly under the heat register along 1 wall in our front room where we have hard wood floors..oh i almost forgot that we have a empty mother inlaw apartment.. they seem to like to hide under and around my cardboard boxes that i have down there.. and in a dif basement that is also full of cardboard boxes.. the is nothing in these boxes that would be considered a food source for larder bettles.. and for the 1st time yesterday i found 1 of them flying like crazy around the kitchen.. we have tried desperately everything we can or have found to eliminate these nasty bettles.. I am at my wits end on what to do..

    Reply

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