Larder beetles (Figure 1) are occasional household pests that can feed on a variety of animal-related materials; they are occasionally pests in ham curing structures. These 1/3-inch long dark brown beetles have a pale-yellow band with six dark spots behind their head. The hairy worm-like brown larvae (Figure 2) have a pair of sharp, curved horns at the end of the abdomen.
These insects feed primarily on animal products: feathers, skins, carcasses, and accumulations of dead insects. Around the kitchen, they can feed on stored products, pet food, or accumulations of grease in stove vents.
- If the source of larder beetles can be found, it should be thrown away and the surrounding area cleaned thoroughly. Vacuum and then use soapy water to clean cracks and crevices in areas where larder beetles are found. This is an important step because mature larvae leave their food just before pupating, and they may be hidden in cracks and crevices.
- If a specific source cannot be found, then the beetles may be coming from wall voids. In this case, removal or sanitation is not practical.
By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist