Larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius)
The Larder beetle is a common pest of hides and other animal products including dried meats, cheese, feathers, hair, horns and skin, and other foods with a high protein content especially dog or cat food. This beetle is also found in bird nests, animal remains, and bee and wasp nests. The adult beetle is just under 3/8 of an inch long and dark colored with a pale yellow band across the center of the beetle. The grub or larva is dark brown and very hairy in appearance with 2 curved dorsal spines on the tail end. In Michigan, there is one generation per year with the eggs being laid in the spring and early summer. The larvae are known to burrow into wood to construct chambers in which to pupate. We have some reports of structural damage to hen houses because of this behavior. The first step in larder beetle control is to locate and dispose of all infested material. This may be difficult or next to impossible if the beetles are feeding on dead insects in wall voids and other hidden sites. After the infested material is removed, the immediate area should be sprayed with a persistent insecticide labeled for indoor use such cyfluthrin (sold as Bayer® Advanced Home Insect Control for homeowners or Tempo for commercial applicators) or one of the Ortho® products. When they are found in cupboards, all food material should be inspected and discarded if infested.
Be sure to read and follow all instructions and safety precautions found on the label before using any pesticide.