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Larder Beetle

Larder Beetle is a commercial pest as well as a household pest. larder beetles may be a pest in stored foods and other items of high protein content. Larder beetles outdoors are valuable “recyclers” that play an important role in the breakdown and recycling of animal protein.

Larder Beetle

Larder Beetle

Adult larder beetles are about 1/3 inch long and dark brown, with a broad, pale yellow, black-spotted band across the front portion of the wing covers. There are six black dots on this band, three on each wing cover, arranged in a triangle. The underside and legs are covered with fine, yellowish hairs. The hide or leather beetle is similar in shape to the larder beetle except the wing covers are entirely dark and the body underside is mostly white. Black larder or incinerator beetles are dark with scattered yellow hairs on the body.

All larvae are longer than adult beetles (up to 1/2 inch), slender, densely covered with short and long hairs and reddish-brown to black, with two spines on top near the tail end. Larder beetle larvae spines curve backward, hide or leather beetle larvae spines curve forward, and black larder or incinerator beetle larvae spines extend backward and are not strongly curved.

Both adults and larvae feed on cured meats, dried fish, cheeses, raw skins, hides, furs, feathers, hair, fish meal, dry dog and cat food, stored tobacco, stuffed animals, dead insects in wall voids, museum specimens, abandoned bird nests, dead rodents in wall partitions or chimneys, dead beehives, and even rat or mouse poison baits. Infestations are often hard to locate because beetles and larvae can migrate far from the original food source.

Larder Beetle Larvae

Larder Beetle Larvae

Life Cycle : Larder beetles usually enter homes in May and June seeking food on which to deposit their eggs. If no food can be found, the beetles deposit their eggs in cracks and crevices about the pantry and other areas where the larvae will be able to find food. Larder beetles frequently follow heavy cluster fly infestations, as the beetles readily feed and lay their eggs on the fly carcasses.

Large numbers of nearly full-grown larder beetle larvae consume the last of the cluster flies or other food upon hatching, work their way out of the partitions in the house, and wander about, ending up in sinks, tubs, bureaus, beds, etc. This invasion can last from two to four weeks.

There may be more than one generation per year. The larder beetle can complete its life cycle in 40 to 50 days.

Damage : Larder beetles attack all products of animal origin, including feathers, horn, skins, ham, bacon, dried beef, hides, hair, beeswax, and similar products. In recent years, they have been found in increasing numbers in dry pet foods containing a mixture of cereal and animal products. Adult beetles are occasionally found on flowers, where they feed on pollen.

Larder Beetle

Larder Beetles burrow

Management: The first step in controlling larder beetles is looking for the source of infestation. If you find an infested product or item, do not throw it away before destroying the infestation. To kill insects in a package that you intend to throw out, place the package in an oven at 125 to 140°F and heat for 30 minutes to fully penetrate the package. Other means of destroying the pests is to place the package in a freezer at -20°F for a week, or spray with an insecticide. Only then should you discard the infested package. This will keep the pest from spreading.

There are several insecticides available to control larder beetles at home. To avoid confusion, it is best to purchase a brand that lists larder beetles or “general household pests”. Some options include resmethrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin, and permethrin. These are for crack and crevice treatment only and provide residual protection. There is no need to spray walls, ceilings or floors because the insects usually hide in cracks and crevices, or in food packages. Purchasing an aerosol spray can with a small 5 inch extension tube is handy for getting insecticides into cracks and crevices.

Apply the pesticide to corners and edges of storage areas with a small paintbrush.A good job of vacuuming removes dust or debris from cracks or crevices, permitting better penetration of insecticides. The vacuum cleaner bag should be put into a plastic bag and sealed before disposal to prevent insects from spreading.

Larder Beetle damage

Larder Beetle damage

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