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Larder Beetle Larder Beetles

Size: 7-9mm overall body length.
Markings:  Adult are dark brown in colour with characteristic whitish speckled transverse band across the elytra (wingcases)
Location: Poultry units, piggeries, under furniture, roof spaces (bird's nests)
and underneath kitchen units, fridges and freezers etc.
Detection: Visual sightings of adults. Chewing of leather, wood and other natural fibres

This species is one of the group known as Hide Beetles, and is found throughout Europe. It is particularly widespread in the UK. They occur naturally in birds' nests and favour a high protein diet made up of materials of animal origin.

Adult female Larder beetles lay from 200 to 800 eggs on or near to the food substrate. These hatch out in about a week, depending on temperature. The larval stages are small and densely haired (bristled), and are surprisingly fast-moving. After several skin moults and a period of about two months, they move out of the food source and seek a hidey-hole in which to pupate. Commonly, they will bite their way into wooden panelling or posts and create pupation chambers. Pupation occurs and the adult beetle emerges, followed fairly quickly by mating. The entire life-cycle takes 8-12 weeks at temperatures of 17 -24C.

Apart from the damage they can cause to foodstuffs, this beetle can attack stored items in museums, furs, stuffed animals and similar goods, In houses, they can often damage skirting boards and door frames when creating pupation chambers. They are also a major pest of farms. In poultry units and piggeries the larvae bore into structural timbers and insulation to pupate. This obviously damages buildings and reduces the thermal efficiency of the polystyrene insulation. They do burrow into glass fibre insulation, but this has little effect on it's insulative properties.

In houses, they are often found in the kitchen at the back of the units or under the fridge, feeding on scraps of meat and other organic matter. They can find their way into domestic and commercial properties as the adult beetles fly well, and are attracted via light to open windows. This can result in infestations towards the top of high rise blocks etc.


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