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The larder beetle, Dermestes lardarius, is small black dermestid beetle (7-9 mm long) found world-wide as a common pest in homes, meat processing plants, supermarkets, restaurants, and other similar facilities. The dark brown, hairy larvae are voracious eaters of dried animal and plant products, especially those containing protein and keratin. The adults, which live up to several years, are less damaging, eating mostly flower nectar and pollen. Examples of larval foods include bacon, other meats, cheeses, tobacco, dried fish, dried museum specimens, and pet foods. This species also eats insects, and can be found in bee and wasp nests. Once the larvae finish their last molt, they migrate to find an appropriate spot to pupate, often burrowing into hard substrates such as wood, cork, or plaster. At this phase the larder beetle has been recorded causing structural damage to small structures. Adult beetles hatch out and overwinter; in the spring females lay up to 200 eggs on or near food for larva. Museums often keep colonies of the closely related species Dermestes alta to help clean up carcasses of museum specimens into skeletons.

(Museum pests 2007; Wikipedia 2011a, 2011b)


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