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Larder Beetles

A beetle of the Dermestidae family, larder beetles adults range in size from ¼ to 3/8 of an inch in length and have distinctly clubbed antennae.  Their bodies are oval shaped and elongated.  Primary coloring is dark brown to black, with the top portion of the wing covers having a yellowish band that contains six to eight dark spots.  The underside of the body is covered in thin yellow hairs.  Adult female larder beetles lay approximately 100 eggs on food or in nearby cracks and crevices.  Upon hatching in roughly 12 days, larvae bore into the food material.  Larvae are 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch in length and are very hairy.  Two backwards curving sharp spines can be found on the upper portion near the last abdominal segment.  Depending on gender, larvae will complete 5-6 molts prior to pupation.  Larvae will leave their food source and seek out a place for pupation prior to their last molt.  Pupation often occurs after boring into wood or a similar material.  The complete life cycle from egg to adult occurs in a 40 to 50 day time span.  Both larvae and adults feed, although it is typically the larvae that cause the most damage.  Adults are known to avoid lighting during mating and egg laying.

Larder beetles are now less common than they have beetles in the past due to the fact that few people still cure meats within their home.  Capable of survival both indoors and outdoors, larder beetles commonly infest meats, cheeses, feathers, horns, skins, hair, dried pet foods, dried rodent carcasses, accumulations of dead cluster flies and other sources.  Most commonly, homeowners become aware of an infestation when they find adult beetles or wandering larvae seek a place for pupation.  Infested sources should be removed or eliminated as part of the control process.  Sources may also be located in wall voids requiring removal of portions of drywall to enable access.  Residual insecticides, applied by a pest control professional, also aide in eliminating a larder beetle infestation.