Black Larder Beetle

2016 March 30

Sandy found several of these quarter-inch beetles living in the cage that she keeps crickets in to feed the tarantulas. This particular specimen was from October 31, 2015, but we found them from time to time through February as well.


I’m pretty sure that this is a Black Larder Beetle, Dermestes ater.


These are a cosmopolitan species that has travelled all around the world with humans, to the point where we aren’t quite sure where they came from in the first place.

Like other dermested beetles, they eat things like hair, dried meat, stored grains, and other bits of organic debris. These particular ones were probably eating dead crickets, and most likely also stealing cricket food when it was available.

They can become household pests, but they don’t seem to have gotten established in our house. We keep our stored foods in sealed plastic containers, which probably helps keep them from getting established in our pantry, and our current dog is small and doesn’t shed enough to make really large accumulations of hair under the furniture (which is the sort of thing that dermestids like to eat).

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