LARDER BEETLE BIOLOGY
Larder Beetle species are common throughout the world. In fact, larder beetles play an important role when it comes to recycling. Larder Beetles feed on most any dead animal. This includes animal hair and flesh. But this ferocious appetite can many times cause larder beetles to forage into homes and other buildings where their feeding will become a problem.
This is because larder beetles will readily infest anything “natural”. So once in the home, they can nest on furniture, carpeting, drapery, taxidermy mounts, horse hair mattresses, insulation, etc. Basically anything in the home that has natural fibers can be food for larder beetles.
WHAT DO LARDER BEETLES LOOK LIKE
Larder beetles are small and dark. They typically have a light gray to brown band around their mid section but can be completely solid and uniform in color. Adults will range from 5-10 mm and be dark brown to black in color. They are strong flyers and are attracted to decaying flesh and rotting meat. Larder beetles will regularly penetrate and nest in stored products like pet food or cheese. They love hanging meat like hams and sausage. And though adult larder beetles are attracted to such food, they don’t eat nearly as much as their offspring.
LIFE CYCLE OF LARDER BEETLES
Adult larder beetle females will seek a good food supply on which to lay eggs. If conditions are right, these eggs will hatch in as little as 2 days. Larva should be able to find food close by (since females lay eggs close to food) and will eat continuously till they are ready to pupate and become adults. They are ferocious eaters and can chew though most anything. This feeding may go on for 1-8 months depending on local temperatures, humidity and food quality.
Once larvae get their full, they’ll move off the food source and find a safe location on which to pupate. This could be in a slight crack or crevice, behind some type of siding or on a tree. Larvae can chew into wood and have been known to cause a lot of damage to structural members of homes and buildings during their trek to find safe harborage. Larder beetle pupa will take a week or two to fully development before emerging as adults. This process could be delayed if it’s cold or other weather factors slow the process. When done, they will emerge as an energetic, light avoiding adult.
LARDER BEETLES ARE MOSTLY NOCTURNAL
Adults will mostly fly in darkness searching for fertile ground on which to continue their cycle. Males will be chasing females, which can start egg laying in as little as a week, and females are always seeking good food supplies on which to lay eggs. Female larder beetles will lay hundreds – in some cases thousands – of eggs. If she planned accordingly, her young should have plenty to eat once they hatch.
Larder beetles are important to the natural cycle of animals. By consuming both flesh and carcass, larder beetles enable dead animals to filter back into the earth. But this process can prove costly and expensive if they target something we’re trying to preserve.
Larder beetles will become a nuisance when they find their way into homes and other buildings. Barns, poultry houses, sheds, dog kennels and other areas where animals are kept seem to naturally attract larder beetles. Though they prefer decomposing meat on which to feed, larder beetles will take advantage of animal skins, leather, rugs, mattresses and clothing when food supplies are limited.
They can live on hats, fabric and just about anything which uses animal parts such as hair or skin. Larder beetles can be a hunters worse enemy since they love any animal that’s been mounted and displayed on the wall!! For this reason they will target museums, taxidermists and butchers too. Cattle farms are another favorite location as are zoos and even animal shelters. Larder beetles have been found on living animals too. Sickly dogs and other disease ridden wildlife can all become a target of this pest. Their small size and light body weight can make them difficult to notice. If left alone, they can cause huge amounts of damage and in extreme cases loss of life.
LARDER BEETLE TRAPS
If you’ve found a few larder beetles and would like to know if you have a problem, set out some LARDER BEETLE TRAPS. Deploy them in rooms where activity has been noted. If you catch more than 1 a week, you have a problem and should treat. And though traps will catch foraging adults, this won’t stop or control the problem.
For example, if you have several traps deployed and are catching adults in one room which has a small place rug or animal skin showing signs of activity, it’s best to assume adults have left eggs elsewhere in parts of the home too. So if you only treat the rug, you could allow other stages close by to continue their cycle. So once any activity is discovered, treat as large of an area as possible – especially if the traps are showing larder beetles to be active in more than one location.
HOW TO TREAT LARDER BEETLES
Treatment strategies for larder beetles should be determined based on the area or areas showing larder beetle sign or activity. Small sheds with stored animal skins or other food items won’t need a lot of product and can be adequately treated with something like FS-MP AEROSOL. This aerosol is easy to apply, has low to no odor and is gentle on most any surface.
Use it on animal skins, fur, carpets, furniture, animal mounts, cabinets, pantries and just about any surface larder beetles might find attractive. Initially you should treat every 2 weeks and then every 3 months to assure larder beetles won’t return.
BEST LARDER BEETLE SPRAY
For large areas, using a liquid concentrate will prove more cost effective. And for larder beetles, the best option is BITHOR.
Mix 1 oz per gallon of water and apply the mixture to baseboards, carpeting and other surfaces where beetles are active or thought to be hiding. Be sure to treat once every two weeks during initial phases of treatment and then monthly to insure they don’t return.
Now its important to understand Bithor will only kill adults and larvae. So for long term control, add NYLAR to the tank mix. Nylar is a growth regulator and essentially helps by preventing larvae from growing into mature, reproducing adults. It won’t kill adult stages but it will help a lot because it will translocate to all areas well beyond where you spray. This means you can’t miss when Nylar is added and in most cases, its what you need to end the problem once and for all.
Nylar is active for many months too so even after the Bithor wears down, if you included Nylar you’ll have something in place working long after you’re done spraying. Larder beetles can be persistent so it’s smart to employ long lasting materials. Nylar is such a product and is a great product by itself to keep beetles from ever getting established.
Lastly, make sure you make the applications with a good PUMP SPRAYER. Our sprayer comes with a selection of tips and nozzles enabling the spray to be applied properly. A wide swath is needed and the material must be distributed evenly which most pump sprayers can’t do.
Larder beetle control can be done once you know where to treat and what they are targeting. Remember, they’re excellent flyers and will many times find different areas of the home to occupy. Animal mounts, horse hair mattresses and just about any natural fabric or material in the home can become food for this ferocious insect.
FS MP Aerosol might be easy to use and handy but it may not be the most economical option if you have a large home to treat. So for treating the entire home, go with Bithor along with Nylar (the egg killer). Lastly, install larder beetle traps to monitor the problem and make sure as much of the home is treated as possible.
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