Larder Beetle

Large numbers of small, brown, hairy larder beetle larvae often appear suddenly in the spring, alarming homeowners. 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.


The adult is a small, black beetle, 6 to 9 mm (1/4 to 1/3 inch) in length, with a pale, yellowish-brown to reddish band across the anterior half of its wing covers. On this band are six black dots, three on each side of the middle line. The larder beetle larva tapers towards both ends and may reach 16 mm (5/8 inch) when fully grown. The larva has a brown, hairy body, white undersurface, and two short, curved stiff spines on the top of the last abdominal segment.

Adult Larder beetles overwinter in cracks or crevices in outdoor locations and enter buildings in spring and early summer. These insects prefer to infest meats such as ham, bacon, dried beef, or dried fish, as well as cheese, feathers, horns, skins, dried pet foods, or hair. In homes these beetles are often found infesting accumulations of dead cluster flies or face flies, in addition to dried rodent carcasses.

Larder beetles are not as common as they once were because few people cure meat in their homes any longer. When these insects do appear, the homeowner usually finds the adult beetles or the wandering larvae. The control of these insects begins with a thorough inspection to discover the source of the infestation. Unfortunately, this may prove difficult because infestations are often in wall voids or attics where dead insects or rodents have provided a food source for the larvae. Whenever possible, the source of the infestation should be removed.