As their common name suggests, this beetle is one of the largest of the species of beetles that attack stored products of the kitchen and pantry. Distributed nearly worldwide, these beetles have been known to be associated with allergic reactions in humans. Adults range in size from 2-5mm in length with an oval shaped body. Dark brown or black in color with lighter reddish brown banding and spots, larger cabinet beetle adults have tiny hairs or setae that are visible under a microscope. Larvae are up to 8mm in length with a body that tapers towards the back end. Larval coloring is creamy yellow, with rows of dark hairs. These beetles are often mistaken for warehouse beetles, Khapra beetles and other varieties of cabinet beetles.
Emerging adults mate within one to two days and females begin laying eggs within a week. Mated adults live an average of 3 weeks, within that time a single female can lay over 120 eggs, which will attach to anything that they come in contact with. At room temperature, hatching time varies from 8-16 days. Larval stages typically last roughly 5 months with the larvae molting up to 32 times. The larva of this species pupates within their final skin casing for a time period of 10-20 days. Larvae are resistant to starvation and are capable of living without food for over 500 days under the right conditions. Larvae are also resistant to cold and have been found to survive temperatures below zero. Developmental time from egg to adult occurs in as little as 2 months, but more commonly within approximately 170 days. Two generations in a single year is typical. Larvae feed on a variety of animal and plant materials. This includes but is not limited to: woolen clothing, dried fish, dead insects, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, flour, rice and animal hides. Outdoors, these beetles are at times found in honey bee hives and feeding on dead insects located in burrows and bee nests.
Pheromone traps are available for monitoring purposes with the larger cabinet beetle. Traps can be utilized for monitoring areas of activity for a current infestation or as preventative monitoring for collections which are at risk for encountering an infestation such as insect collections, hides and taxidermy collections in order to detect a potential infestation before it becomes a major problem. In order to control larger cabinet beetles the key is to first find the primary source(s) of the infestation and eliminate it/them. When inspecting for the possible infestation source, check not only the obvious stored products, but also areas where dead insects may accumulate as well as areas in which rodents may have stashed grain based rodenticides or dried pet foods. Once sources have been removed, thorough cleaning and sanitation practices and when necessary, pesticide applications may be necessary to resolve the infestation.