Some people suspect that the larder beetle got its name from its habit of attacking cured meats. The scientific name is Dermestes lardarius (L.). Like most of the Dermestid beetles, it is a serious pest of stored food products and other items in homes.
The adult larder beetle is less than 0.5″ long. It is an oval insect, black with pale yellow bands across the wing covers. There are 6 – 8 small black spots in the yellow bands. There are pale yellow hairs on the legs and abdomen.
The larder beetle larva is slightly longer than 0.5″. It is usually dark brown and it is covered with long brown hairs. The hairs give the larva a “bristly” appearance.
Larder beetles have been found feeding on bacon, ham, and other types of cured meat. They have also been found in grain products, dry pet food, tobacco, and animal hides. Since the larvae can digest hair and feathers, they can easily attack a variety of furs, mounted animal trophies, and decorative items.
It is common to find these beetles where animals have been struck by cars. Homeowners often discover there has been a rodent or bird problem when these beetle appear. Larder beetles also invade attics and wall voids where boxelder bugs or cluster flies have been hibernating. The larder beetles feed on the dead insects inside the wall and then move into the living space.
Controlling larder beetles begins with a thorough inspection. It is important to find everything that the larvae have been eating. In the kitchen, inspect all of the food packages. Discard everything that is infested. Vacuum the shelves of the cabinets and the pantry. Check the area where pet food or other animal feed is stored.
It may be challenging to find infested products in other areas of the home. Inspect wool and silk garments and fur coats. Mounted animal trophies, leather garments, saddles and tack items can all be sources of infestation. Check attics, crawl spaces, and basements for nests of rodents or birds. Many people prefer to get a pest control professional to help with the inspection.
It may be necessary to apply insecticide to get complete control. Dust is often an effective tool. It can be injected into walls and other voids. Contact insecticide is often needed to eliminate the active adult beetles. The pest control professional will have the products and equipment to make these applications.