Larder beetles are some of the worst pests that you can have in a home, primarily because they are unsightly and can also taint your food. They put holes in your pet food bags, food boxes, and can even eat up fur clothing. They’re bad for your pantry and your sanity.
Getting rid of larder beetles is a must, but how do you do it? Our pest control guide can help you make the most of your efforts.
Before we begin, make sure that you see larder beetles
Larder beetles are easy to mistake for other pantry pests. These are beetles that are approximately 1/3 inch in length, with brown bodies featuring a beige horizontal stripe with spots. They have noticeable antennae that are slightly bent.
Unlike other beetles, these bugs are covered in both short and long hairs. You may also notice that they have two small spines near the top of their tail end. Regardless of what part of their life cycle they’re in, they love meat and other high-protein food sources.
These beetles tend to go near cracks in pantries and are particularly attracted to rotting carcasses. Technically, they are a type of carpet beetle. Unlike other carpet beetles, these will only attack fabrics that have been tainted by a food source like fish oil or meat.
How can you tell if you have a larder beetle infestation without seeing them?
In most cases, you will see larder beetles during a typical infestation. However, there are other ways to tell if you have a beetle problem:
- You spot tiny holes in your food containers, cereal boxes, or oil-stained clothing. Larder beetles love to eat holes in containers and will chew up any fabrics that have food on them. If you see holes, you may have larder beetles.
- You may also see empty beetle skins and shells. Like other beetles, they molt and shed skin.
- Potatoes, apples, and other foods may have burrow holes in them. That’s their way of eating.
- You start to see spilled food on countertops. It’s not like larder beetles are Martha Stewart. They are pretty sloppy eaters.
Are larder beetles dangerous?
Larder beetles are not venomous or poisonous, so it’s not like they will sting you. However, they are a major nuisance that can infect food and make it hard to eat something that’s truly sanitary. They can even bore through tin cans and infect your favorite tuna fish meal!
At times, larder beetles can be indicative of a bigger issue. They can suggest that you have a bigger infestation. Since they eat almost anything and everything, they can also end up turning into a destructive menace.
When are larder beetles most active?
In most cases, larder beetles are most active (and destructive) during the fall and winter months. This is when they tend to go into houses to escape the cold and dine on foods stored by people. However, they also lay eggs during the early spring.
It’s worth noting that larder beetles are unlikely to be a year-round issue in most homes.
How do you get rid of larder beetles?
There are several ways that you can get rid of larder beetles that have found their way into your home. Let’s look at the easiest ones.
1. Leave them to eat dead animals if it’s a dead creature in your walls
Larder beetles will vanish once they run out of food. If you find these beetles in attics or floating around crevices where an animal died, it may actually be smart to let them eat the deceased animal. Once they’ve finished a food source, they will leave.
While this may not be ideal for people who find them in food storage areas, if the reason for the investigation deals with dead rodents in walls, it’s a doable option. Of course, this assumes that the animal in question is a one-off and that you won’t get additional critters stuck.
2. Determine and remove the source of food they have
The easiest way to make sure that you get rid of larder beetles is to remove their source of food. Here’s how you can do this:
- Determine where they are feasting. In most cases, it’s a matter of infected food packages. Dog food, beef jerky, or even cheeses left out on the counter can lead to a major infestation. You can getrid of the beetles by throwing out the food sources.
- Vacuum the corners of each room. An adult larder beetle will often eat dead insects that hide in crevices and corners. Vacuuming will remove the dead bugs and also potentially remove eggs of breeding larder beetles as well.
- Remove anything in your pantry and cupboards. Throw out any food that you see tampered with or open. Anything that needs to be contained should be contained in glass, or BPA plastic. Wipe down the cupboards to decrease the chance of them coming back due to food odors.
- Remove and treat any woolen, feathered, or fabric items that have animal products splashed on them. Whether it’s cheese grease that fell on a carpet or a towel that had a nasty run-in with bacon doesn’t matter. You need to clean and treat those items.
- If you have taxidermied animals, check them for signs of larder beetle infestation. If you notice random signs of damage, then you probably have an infested item.
- Keep garbage cans sealed and sink drains cleaned. Larder beetles will actually eat cluster flies and drain flies, so it’s important to remove those pests, too. An enzymatic cleaner can help remove any eggs. Use a disinfectant to get rid of any traces of food you may still have.
- Seal up any gaps in your doors and windows. Larder beetles will often come in from outside. A crack in the window can be the way that those beetles get into your house. That’s not a good thing for anyone looking to keep them from coming back.
3. Start spraying your home with pesticide graded for larder beetles
Pesticides can be a good method of controlling the larder beetle population in your home but don’t get a fogger. You’re better off using pesticide dust or sprayable bug killer instead.
The best way to do this is to spray (or dust) access points where beetles could be coming from. This will kill the beetles on touch, keeping the population low. Pesticides that have tetramethrin, cyfluthrin, and permethrin are the most effective.
If you want to have a non-toxic form of pesticide, we suggest diatomaceous earth, or DE. Diatomaceous earth is great because it gets in the shells of all insects and kills them through dehydration.
PRO TIP – Sprayable pesticides can melt insulation so use dust forms instead. If you have pets, call an exterminator to get a heat treatment instead. They may be able to guide you on a safer method of pest control.
4. Seal off access points to your home
In a lot of cases, larder beetles and similar pests will have a renewable source of food inside of your walls—most often, boxelder bugs or cluster flies. It’s okay to let them munch on them, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow them in your side of the house.
A good way to limit the number of bugs in your home is to seal or even tape off the access points that they could be coming from. This could be cracks in your floor, a loose baseboard, or even that leftover hole in your wall from that one mouse infestation.
Even adding a screen to windows and doors can help you avoid newer infestations, and keep beetles from flying back into your home.
5. Consider getting a professional exterminator
If this is a constant issue, then larder beetles might be only one of many infestations you’re trying to eradicate. After all, larder beetles will eat cluster flies and similar prey if they can’t find a suitable food source in your pantry.
People who are looking for a fast and easy way to get rid of multiple pest problems at the same time absolutely should get a pest control expert to do the work. The more complex a problem is, the more likely it is that you will need to have a little extra help.
Larder beetles are a nuisance that can turn destructive fairly quickly if you are unlucky. You need to cut off their food supply and treat the area with pesticides if you want to get a surefire way to eradicate them from your home.
No matter what methods you use to get rid of larder beetles, it’s important to remember that these bugs can indicate a bigger pest problem. It’s always up to you to street the root cause of this infestation.