The larder beetle, Dermestes lardarius is both a commercial pest and is often found in the household. World-wide in distribution, in the past it was a pest of cured meats. Today it is found in homes, museums and any place that stores food such as dried dog food, furs, hides and feathers.
The adult beetle is dark brown and about one third inches in length. There are six dark spots in a yellow band of coarse hairs at the base of their wing covers.
The larva is brownish and about one half inch in length. There are two distinctive curved spines on the last body segment. The larva is covered with numerous long hairs.
In early spring the adult beetles are attracted to dead insects and will enter a home in search of food. Females lay around 100 eggs and the larvae will feed until they are ready to pupate. At this time they can tunnel into any object adjacent to their food source. An example is infested stored pet food located next to books. Beetle larvae will tunnel into the adjacent books causing damage as they seek shelter to pupate.
Some of the food sources include dead insects, dried meat, pet foods, stored ham, bacon, cheeses, dried fish, museum specimens and tobacco. Damage occurs when beetle larvae tunnel into adjacent materials looking for a place to pupate.
A vacuuming of dead insects and food debris is an important control step for this beetle. Inspect and dispose of any infested foods and store all foods in sealed plastic or other type of container. Pesticides are not recommended or necessary for complete control of this pest. Occassionally these pests are found feeding on the carcass of a dead animal that has been trapped in a chimney or attic.
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