If you have ever gone into your kitchen and opened your pantry, or larder, and seen small brownish-black beetles having a picnic, you know what it’s like to have larder beetles in your house. You probably weren’t thrilled about it.
At Environmental Pest Management, our job is to keep your home pest-free. Whether we’re helping to evict unwanted guests or prevent them from arriving in the first place, you can count on us to use the safest, most environmentally friendly products to get the job done.
Unlike some bugs that can invade your home, larder beetles are noticeable because they tend to travel in groups and don’t try to hide. Here’s everything you wanted to know about identifying these insidious insects and encouraging them to take up residence elsewhere
What are Larder Beetles and How Do I Identify Them?
When you’re dealing with pest control, the first step is to identify who you saw scurrying through your pantry. Knowing what type of bug you’re dealing with lets you know what techniques or products will be useful in dealing with them.
Larder beetles get their names from the place they are often found – in your larder – which is an old word for your pantry or cupboard, where you store food, especially grains and meat. They are small in size, only about ¼” to ⅓” long, and oval-shaped. Look for the brown band around the midsection of their black body. It’s the primary identifying characteristic of a larder beetle.
Of course, larder beetles have six legs like all insects and two jointed antennae. The brown band typically has yellow or black spots on it, and tiny, densely packed hairs cover the larder beetle’s stomach.
Larder beetle larvae are about ½” long and do not have the characteristic beetle shape yet, and look more like a sow bug except that the bands on its body are striped brown and black. Like the adult larder beetle’s stomach, larder larvae have short yellowish hairs on their bodies.
Why are Black Larder Beetles in My House?
Larder beetles and their larvae are hungry. When we say that they are omnivores, we really mean they will eat anything. Stored food such as cereals, oatmeal, cookies, bread, dried pet food, stored cured meats, tobacco, carpet fibers, dried fish, cheese, clothing, dried museum specimens, and the carcasses of other bugs. They’re in your pantry or garage because of one thing: access to food.
If you’ve had another pest infestation problem, such as stink bugs or boxelder bugs, sow bugs, or ants, or rodents such as mice, moles, or bats, and there are carcasses in your attic or walls, then larder beetles are going to love your home. Even if you don’t know about the dead bugs in your attic, the larder beetle knows and will tell their friends.
Larder beetles can bore through wood and drywall to get to your food, so not only are they unsanitary, but they are also destructive. They can even bore into tin and lead, to lay their eggs in your canned tuna or black beans.
In the winter, larder beetles often hide in crevices or other sheltered places.
They may even lurk in your walls or garage. In spring, they emerge, looking for a place to lay their eggs. There will be dead bugs or other food sources in your home, so in they come. Females will lay around 100 eggs, which hatch in just a few days, eat consistently, and reach maturity in about six weeks.
Signs of Black Larder Beetles in Your House
Aside from seeing the bugs or their larvae themselves, other signs of a larder beetle infestation include:
- Holes bored into your boxes, bags of pet food, or other food storage containers
- Larvae burrowed into a melon, potatoes, onions, or another food source
- Skins from when the beetles molt
- Spilled or scattered food — they aren’t precisely fastidious eaters
Strategies for Dealing With These Pests
If you’ve got larder beetles in your home, you need to do some severe sanitation to get rid of them. Merely removing the items containing beetles and wiping down your kitchen isn’t going to do the trick. Here are some steps to take to deal with a larder beetle infestation.
- Everything in your cupboard or pantry must come out.
- Throw out all food infested with larder beetles.
- Throw out any opened food containers in your pantry, even if you don’t see signs of the beetles. That includes bags or canisters of flour, cereal boxes, partial pasta boxes, etc.
- Inspect all canned food items for signs of entry.
- Change your food storage containers to hard (BPA) plastic or glass, which larder beetles cannot enter.
- Wipe down all shelves and the pantry floor with a solution containing vinegar or bleach.
- Thoroughly vacuum all cracks and crevices
- Look for cracks or holes in the walls, baseboard trim, or other areas where the beetles could have entered. Use a caulk gun to seal these and keep the beetles away.
- Throw out partial bags of pet food. Store in a hard plastic container with a tight lid.
- Check behind stoves and other appliances, which may harbor treats and secret passages for larder beetles. Clean this area and seal any gaps.
- Seal any gaps in doors and windows that could allow entry to larder beetles or other pests.
- Line the edge of your pantry walls or cabinet backs with diatomaceous earth to help deter and kill any larder beetles (or other bugs) who dare to return.
Contact Environmental Pest Management for Help
Larder beetles can be tricky to get rid of, just because they are so persistent. At Environmental Pest Management, we’ve dealt with larder beetle infestations before so that we can put your mind at ease.
We have a toolbox full of strategies to ensure the pest goes out and don’t come back. We’ll always use the least invasive and safest products and procedures to keep your family and pets free from harm while still eradicating pests and preventing them from returning.
Give us a call today, and we can help make larder beetles a thing of the past, just like the word larder.