Larder beetle

( Latin: Dermestes lardarius)

In former times this was a serious pest in private houses, for it attacked smoked hams and sausages hanging from the ceiling and also dried fish. Nowadays when most meat products are kept in a refrigerator or a deep freeze it is no longer a serious pest in private households. It sometimes multiplies rapidly in dried cat and dog foods, and may be very destructive in factories working with dried fish or hides.

The larvae are fully grown about a month after hatching and many then move away to find a suitable place for pupation. They sometimes gnaw tunnels in timber (p. 148) or plaster, but also into many other materials, and when this happens in a store they can cause a lot of damage to goods not otherwise attacked by insects.

The adult beetles fly very well, so if found in a house they may have come from far away. Sometimes the source of infection may be food remains left in odd corners of the kitchen, but more often it will be a pigeon’s nest or a dead mouse under the floor boards.