Larder Beetle Larva

2015 February 4

This was on the wall near our porch light on June 29, 2014, but I don’t think it was attracted by the light, particularly. I think it was just looking for a good crevice to pupate in. It was only about a quarter of an inch long.

It’s clearly a larva of one of the dermestid beetles, family Dermestidae. From its general appearance, the long body hairs, and the two short, curved spines at the tip of the abdomen, it is almost certainly a larva of the Larder Beetle, Dermestes lardarius.

The related Hide Beetle has a very similar larva, but they don’t have the upward-pointing spines on the abdomen tip.

From a distance, the long hairs can be mistaken for dozens of legs, but close up we can see that they are most definitely hairs.

We’ve had pictures of the adult Larder Beetles before, they are well-known for getting into houses and barns and eating any bit of high-protein matter like hides, dead insects, hair, dried meat, cheese, dog/cat food, and vaguely similar things that they find lying about.

While these are a cosmopolitan species that has been carried around the world by humans, they are a bit unusual in that they can overwinter without being inside somebody’s house or barn. So there is a constant reservoir of them outside. They generally overwinter as adults outside, sheltering in places like crevices in bark. They then get inside in the spring if the opportunity presents itself.

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