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Dermestidae is a family of over 880 beetle species thought to have originated in the late Cretaceous period (145-65 million years ago). Known commonly as “skin beetles”, they are small oval-shaped beetles, ranging in size from 1-12 mm. Adults are nectar and pollen feeders, or do not eat at all. Dermestid larvae have a diversity of feeding habits, mostly of dried animal products or remains. Some species inhabit dead carcasses, some live in bee or wasp nests, many are common and well-known pests of stored animal products, such as human foods and museum specimens, and a small number eat plant products and are a pest of stored grains. Natural history museums use colonies of dermestid beetles to clean up specimens, and forensic entomologists analyze stages and presence of various dermestid larvae present in corpses to help with criminal investigations.

Some of the best-known groups of dermestid beetles are:

•Larder beetles, such as the larder beetle pest, Dermestis lardarius, and the museum helper Dermestes alta (black larder)

•Carpet beetles, such as Attagenus megatoma, the black carpet beetle

•Khapra beetles, such as the stored grains pest Trogoderma granarium

(Kiselyova and McHugh 2006; Wikipedia 2011a)


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