Larder Beetles

Larder beetles are found in homes, museums, mills, and other places feeding on animal bi-products. While they prefer meat and cheese, they can be found anywhere they find suitable food sources. While refrigeration has lessened their damage, they continue to be a problem, especially because they feed on dead insects and can become a secondary infestation.

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About Larder Beetles

larder beetleLarder beetles are sometimes lumped into the pantry pest category, and while they are sometimes found in stored food products, it is more common to find these beetles in high protein food sources from animal products.

  • Identification: Adult larder beetles are a dark brown with off-white to yellowish band with eyespots. They are about 1/3 of an inch long. Larvae are about ½ inch long, dark brown, and have coarse hairs on their bodies. They have small spines on the end of the last body segment.
  • Habitat and Habits: Larder beetles lay their eggs in a suitable food source, so that is where you will find them. They are most often found where another insect infestations have died. This could be in wall voids, attics, and other spaces insects like box elder bugs and cluster flies may overwinter, or even dead rodents and rodent baits. They are also found in dried pet food, furs, hides, feathers, and of course, meat or dairy products. They can be a problem in museums or places with mounted animals, and rarely in pantries or cupboards with various food sources. These beetles remain in the food source until they have exhausted it, and will move on.
  • Damage: Adult larder beetles don’t cause much damage beyond the food source they attack, and depending on what they are feeding on, like dog food or cat food, or a mounted animal specimen, it could be costly. Larder beetle larvae burrow to protect themselves during pupation, and will create shallow bores in wood, paper products (books), insulation, and other items. They become a nuisance when they invade common areas of homes.

How To Get Rid Of Larder Beetles

Larder beetles can be controlled much like other pantry beetles: once you remove the food source, you can get rid of the majority of your infestation. Here are some steps to take when getting rid of larder beetles.

  • Determine the source of the infestation and remove the food source. Removing the food source is a quick and easy way to get rid of the bulk of the beetles or larvae. However, this gets tricky when the food source may be somewhere inaccessible, like in a wall void or attic. You can wait until the beetles have eaten the food source, because they will leave once there is no more food. However, in an inaccessible space you might not know how much food is available, where it is, or if there is more in another location.
  • Vacuum up any existing beetles and larvae, inspecting the infested area closely to make sure you’ve found the source of the infestation.
  • If pet food was infested, make sure to discard any infested food and store new food in a tightly sealed metal, glass, or hard plastic containers.
  • Residual contact insecticides are effective against larder beetles. Choose a product labeled for larder beetles or for general household pests. Products that include resmethrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin, or permethrin will be effective. Dusts and powders will be effective in wall voids, crawl spaces, attics, and other hard to treat areas.
  • Treating and preventing overwintering insects from getting inside before they establish a population will also help to prevent larder beetles.
  • Always use proper storage for anything that could become infested. Clothes stained with grease or protein stains could be damaged, as well as feathered items, and any mounted animal specimen should be inspected regularly if not in a sealed frame or container.

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