How to Get Rid of Larder Beetles Naturally (Home, Kitchen, and Garden)

So, you need to get rid of larder beetles running amok in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or yard.

These little things are eating up all your dry foods.

And who knows what diseases they could be carrying around.

After all, they are BEETLES, which have that reputation of buzzing around dung heaps!

So what can you do?

In this guide, we’ll talk about these topics:

  • Why you have larder beetles in your home or garden
  • What they’re attracted to and what they’re eating
  • Natural ways you can get rid of them
  • how to keep them away from your property permanently
  • And more

By the end of this page, you should have a solid foundation on controlling, managing, and eradicating larder beetles.

Bookmark this page so you can easily refer back.

And if you have any questions, as always, post a comment at the end of this guide and I’ll try to help you out ASAP.

Sound good? Let’s send those beetles back home (not yours).

What’s a larder beetle?

Larder beetle in house macro shot.
A beetle macro shot. Note the segmented antennae.

A larder beetle is a common household pest that’s found eating detritus in kitchen pantries, storage areas for food, and food facilities.

This isn’t surprising, given that beetles possess 40% of all known insects on planet Earth!

They’re found all over the globe and tend to congrats where cured meats, fish, hides, and other preserved foods are present.

For the typical homeowner, they’re hardly a threat and can be safely ignored if you’re 100% sure that it’s a lone beetle.

But if you start seeing some of the common signs of a larder beetle problem (holes in clothing, beetles in food, chewed up paper goods), then you should start to formulate a plan of action quickly.

There are literally beetles for EVERYTHING. Beetles that can jump. Beetles that can make noises. And even beetles that surprisingly eat basil!

Other names

Larder beetles have a few different aliases that they’re commonly referred to:

What do larder beetles look like?

Larder beetle in household bathroom.
A larder beetle hiding in the bathroom. (By Ryan Hodnett – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.)

Larder beetles are similar to any other common household beetle.

They don’t possess any distinguishing characteristics that set them apart, so to the untrained eye, they’re just another beetle.

They’re commonly confused for carpet beetles, cheese mites, grain weevils, and darkling beetles.

Larder beetles are part of the Demestidae genus.

Look for these markings to distinguish between larder beetles and other beetles:

  • A black and yellow band across their elytra with some dark circles
  • Overall length of 7-9mm as an adult
  • A colored section that’s lighter than the surrounding exoskeleton when viewed from above
  • 6 legs that are dark in color
  • 2 antenna that match the legs
  • Oval body shape
  • Wings have visible yellow hairs
  • Larvae measure about 0.5”
  • Adults are brown and black
  • Larvae have a noticeable pair of pincers at their rear end
  • Larvae are also extremely hairy
  • Red antennae that are “curled” at the tips

Why do I have larder beetles?

Larder beetles come into your home through poorly sealed entry points around the home.

They find their way into the house for food, shelter, water, or to protect themselves from the elements outside.

They usually start their infestation by taking shelter in your home’s support structures and will find their way inside when the cold season comes.

Like most other beetles, larder beetles overwinter near sources of food.

So they’ll come into the warmth of your kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom to escape the cold and infest your food.

They’re often found in kitchen pantries- carelessly eating up all the food until winter is over.

How did they get into my house?

Larder beetles only measure about 9mm at full size, so they can squeeze through the smallest of cracks in your home.

Regular maintenance of your home will keep all sorts of beetles and bugs out because they can’t get in! It’s that simple, yet most people don’t budge. They overwinter in the cold, so they seek out warmth (like your home).

I suggest you examine your home first to find all possible entry points before you start any other DIY home remedy.

Here are some of the most common ways larder beetles get inside the house:

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Under the door
  • Exterior wall damage
  • Damaged weatherstripping around windows and patio doors
  • Food storage
  • Dry pet feed
  • Contaminated plants or soil

You should examine your entire property and patch up all possible entry points.

This will solve your bug problems significantly. If you don’t know what to look for, consider hiring a contractor to help inspect your home and repair it. We’ll talk about that later in this guide.

Do they fly?

Yes, larder beetles can fly. And they’re very good at it.

They’re strong flyers and that leads them to their success with getting into your property from the window, door, or other nooks and crannies.

They can fly anywhere and reach stored goods that are elevated on a shelf or platform, such as cheese, fish, and jerky.

Larder beetle life cycle

The life cycle of a larder beetle is just like any other typical beetle. It starts with an adult mating pair.

Each adult is about ⅓ of an inch in length. They mate and a gravid female will find a place to deposit her eggs, which is usually within the household in areas with plenty of water and food.

They overwinter in homes, outhouses, sheds, food processing plants, dry good storage, yards, and buildings. This protects them from the cold and harsh weather outdoors.

And this is when people usually see them for the first time.

Eggs

The eggs are laid around food and will contain batches of up to 140 eggs. The eggs incubate on their own and hatch in 12 days. The larvae come out to feed on the readily available food source and will continue to eat.

Larvae

Each larva is longer than its adult counterparts and has brown or black setae.

There are spines on the posterior of the larvae and they’re slightly curved. They can dig into soft surfaces like cork, plaster, and wood, to which they’ll begin pupating. This transforms them into adults.

Adults

Adult larder beetles are known for their signature yellow band across their back, above the elytra.

They have three dark black spots that form a triangle shape on their back across this band. They also have fine hairs on their legs.

Bugs that look like larder beetles

Carpet beetle vs. larder beetle.
Carpet beetles are often confused with larder beetles because of their markings.

The closest beetle that looks similar to a larder beetle is a carpet beetle.

Their color and markings are very similar and they both infest the home.

You must distinguish between the two species, but they both use largely the same control methods. There are DIY home remedies that can get rid of both of them.

Signs of larder beetle infestations

Booklice eating wallpaper.
Wallpaper that’s peeling can provide starch for them to eat.

Some common signs signal these large pests are in your home.

Some of the most obvious signs of a beetle problem are:

  • Random holes in wood, beams, or other structural objects
  • Damage to books, magazines, or newspapers
  • Beetle droppings
  • Dry skin shed from beetle larvae
  • Holes in furs, books, and foods

Larder beetles attack both businesses and residential properties, especially in the winter.

They’ll feast on any foods and soft materials they get their legs on. You’ll see larder beetles during the cold season because they hide from the outside elements and come into your home for the warmth.

They’re most active in the early spring as they mate and deposit eggs throughout the house, which will just propagate their lifecycle. A lot of homeowners will first take notice during this time.

Note that these may also be the work of a different beetle species, such as furniture beetles, potato beetles, and cucumber beetles, but the control techniques should be similar for nearly all household beetles.

What do larder beetles eat?

Control, kill, and repel booklice eating your books.
Books and paper products, dried cheese, cured meat, and pet food are favorites.

Larder beetles are a common pest of unsanitary households and are usually found eating meat products.

They like cured meat and stored food because they’re easy to access with plenty of cover from predators.

These beetles belong to the dermestid beetle group and are found in food prep areas (factories, plants, restaurants, and your kitchen), so they’re well-documented in academia studies.

They often seek out a food source and will feed on it indefinitely. They also breed and take shelter in the same food container.

Some of the most common foods larder beetles eat include:

  • Pet food (dog, cat, rabbit, and other dry food storage)
  • Books and paper products (newspapers, pictures, magazines, etc.)
  • Shed skin from pets or humans
  • Dairy and cheese products
  • Fermented food
  • Cured meat
  • Stored meat
  • Dry grains
  • Dead bugs
  • Features, fur, and fabrics
  • Stored cheese
  • Dried fish or meats
  • Tobacco
  • These are scavengers that feed in the dark.

They don’t like well-lit areas as they have a natural tendency to stay away from predators, so the darker areas of your home are prime targets.

Larder beetles are common found in the home in these areas:

  • Kitchen pantry
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Garages
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Rugs
  • Carpets
  • Animal mounts
  • Animal skins
  • Animal trophies
  • Anything with furs or feathers
  • Clothing
  • Closets

Similar to other kitchen pests like cigarette beetles, they find their way into poorly sealed containers and feast.

Are larder beetles harmful to humans?

Indian meal moth larvae in dog food.
A beetle larvae found in dog food kibble.

Larder beetles aren’t dangerous and are harmless in small numbers.

They can be a beneficial insect to have around the home because they do consume some spoiled materials.

But when you have a lot of them, then things can get hairy. Larder beetles will breed rapidly and with so many of them, they can damage the structural integrity of your house.

These beetles also eat various paper goods and some clothing materials like fur and feathers. They’re also known to transmit pathogens from the foods they eat.

So you have a few different issues to worry about:

  • Damage to your home’s insulation, wood, and support structures
  • Contamination in food
  • Damage to clothing
  • Paper, magazine, photo, or book damage

But even with moderate beetle infestations, these symptoms aren’t common.

Only serious infestations usually result in these conditions.

That doesn’t mean you should ignore them though, they are a threat because of their unsanitary behavior and just the thought of beetles crawling around your kitchen pantry should be enough to want to get rid of them for good.

Can they hurt my cat? Dog? Pet?

No, larder beetles don’t bite. Therefore they can’t hurt your pets.

The only thing to worry about is them eating the food of your pet, which may result in your cat or dog accidentally eating them up. They like to lay eggs and hang around in pet food.

Larder beetles do carry and transmit disease, so that’s something you’ll want to talk to a qualified vet about if you’re worried.

How to get rid of larder beetles

Get rid of larder beetles in the kitchen pantry.
Getting rid of these beetles takes patience. Be persistent. (By Ryan Hodnett – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.)

Here are some natural ways to get rid of larder beetles in your home, bathroom, bedroom, or outdoors.

Try out a few of these DIY home remedies and see what works speficially for you. Note that not all of these are proven to work for every larder beetle infestation.

Every infestation is different and requires a customized plan. Do different solutions on this list at the same time for efficiency.

Block off access to food

Keeping your food secure is the number one thing you can do to keep these beetles out of our home.

They need just food and shelter to thrive.

By eliminating all sources of hiding places and a stable food supply, you wipe any chance of larder beetles hunkering down in your pantry.

Make sure you use containers that are airtight to eliminate any chance of them getting inside the container to your food.

Here are some basic tips to follow:

  • Store dry grains in mason jars or plastic containers with lids
  • Never store dry grains or food in paper packaging (even if unopened)
  • Remove flour, wheat, grains, or other dry goods from their original package and store them in food containers
  • Store pet food in proper plastic food bins (don’t leave dry food in their paper packages)
  • If you find a beetle in the pantry, don’t be apathetic.
  • Take action and start doing a thorough inspection of your entire kitchen. It could be a lone wanderer or a disturbed beetle separated from its brethren.
  • Assume that there are way more beetles crawling around nearby. If you see one beetle, there are probably a lot more that you can’t see.

Use essential oils for larder beetles

There are two essential oils that are commonly touted to kill larder beetles when diluted properly.

You can use either eucalyptus oil or peppermint oil- both of which need to be diluted with water and sprayed directly onto the beetle to eliminate it.

The strong scent of essential oils may also repel beetles from your home and garden. You can spray it on active beetles or any areas you suspect beetle activity.

Essentail oils can be purchased online. Get the pure, organic variety so there are no synthetic additives.

Dilute it with water (you need a few drops per quart of water- find a recipe online), then pour it into a spray bottle and spritz away.

Use as directed. Some people and pets may be sensitive to essential oils, so be careful. When used properly, essential oils are a natural and powerful way to kill and deter larder beetles effectively.

Check your home for bird nests

Bird nest infested with beetles.
Bird nests are often sites for beetle problems.

As cute as birds are, they bring all sorts of larvae, worms, beetles, and other bugs from all over the neighborhood into your backyard.

The nesting materials are foraged from the surrounding area.

And even if you don’t have a particular pest, birds can bring them to your home when they’re building the nest.

Check your home for new or abandoned bird nests.

These could be sources for beetle infestations that find their way into your property and will become a problem.

Consider blocking off any common areas birds build nests in your yard or adding bird repellent so they establish a nest. Bird nests need to be eliminated and new ones need to be discouraged.

Check your awnings, soffits, chimney, clutter, foliage, and other areas where birds commonly build nests. Add bird tape, pellets, or repellent to keep them away.

Eliminate animal nests

The same goes for animal nests.

These can be the source of new beetle infestations as they carry debris and foliage from all over the place into your yard.

If you have a constant problem with small rodents building their nests in your lawn, plants, or backyard clutter, find a way to stop them. They’re bringing in pests.

How to clean up a beetle infestation

Keep booklice out of food.
Dry foods should be stored properly.

Here are some ways to clean up a larder beetle infestation in your home’s kitchen.

Depending on the severity of the beetles, you may need to adjust this cleaning regimen accordingly.

Dispose of any beetle-infested food

The first step is to do a deep clean of your entire kitchen.

You don’t want to leave behind even a single beetle because it could be a gravid female who’s ready to deposit 100 eggs and spawn an entirely new generation of them. So be thorough.

Toss out the foods that are contaminated

Remove ALL foods that are infested and toss them into a secure trash bag and dispose of them.

Next, take any foods that are POSSIBLY infested and inspect them carefully for any larder beetle activity.

If you see even one, toss it out. If you’re in doubt, toss it out.

If you don’t see any, I’d still recommend throwing it away if it was in an insecure food container nearby the infested foods.

Clean up your pantry and counters

Get a spray bottle and mix 1 liter of water to a few tablespoons of dish soap. Spray and rinse down your entire kitchen pantry.

This includes the cabinets, drawers, countertops, and any other appliances. If you have shelving liners, rip them out or wash them. They need to be replaced.

Check behind the backing of your cabinets and on the edges where the hinges are. You may find some beetles hiding in there because you disturb their environment.

Or you could even find some mold mites, pantry moths, grain beetles, flour beetles, or other kitchen pests you didn’t know you had crawled around your food prep!

Store and secure your foods

So now you should have all the infested foods thrown out and your entire kitchen cleaned up.

Take all the good food that’s beetle free and pour them into secure containers.

These can be glass, plastic, or some other material. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s chew-proof and has a secure fit. Paper doesn’t work.

And neither does cardboard. So avoid those thick paper packages or cardboard-like cereal boxes.

Don’t use any of this to store food. Beetles can chew through them and they’re not sealed well enough to keep them out.

Keep the kitchen clean

You’ve now cleaned up your entire kitchen pantry and the last thing you want to do is deal with it in the future.

So keep it clean and beetles will have nothing to eat from your pantry, so they’re left to find food somewhere else.

Here are some tips to keep your pantry beetle-free:

Never leave opened foods out

As mentioned earlier, store all your beetle prone foods in containers that are sealed off.

Glass mason jars work best and they come in a variety of sizes so you can store everything you need separately.

They also have a gasket in the lid to prevent any oxidation and keep your dry foods fresh.

Keep all dry goods isolated

All the foods that larder beetles eat can be contained by separating them from the rest of your pantry.

For example, put all your grains, flour, dry meats, preserved cheese, tobacco, etc. in a single area.

The good thing about this is that if a beetle breakout happens again, it’s just one area you need to clean. The bad part is that if a breakout DOES happen, the larder beetles will quickly find a buffet of foods to eat.

But store them individually in airtight containers and that won’t happen.

Place sticky traps or sticky tape around the pantry

You can buy some sticky tape at your local hardware store for next to nothing in price.

Buy a roll and then apply them around your kitchen shelving, drawers, and cabinets.

The tape traps and kills any beetles that try to walk over it, so you can build a barrier around your dry goods. Use as directed.

You can also use traps, but I find that the tape is more effective because you can see exactly where the beetle was coming from and where it was trying to go.

This can focus your pest control efforts and zero in on the areas that are teeming with larder beetle activity rather than wasting your efforts.

The best part about using sticky traps or tape is that you can gauge over time how effective your DIY remedies are.

For example, when you start, you’ll see a lot of beetles get trapped.

But over time, you should see fewer beetles getting stuck on the tape or traps.

Even after you get rid of the infestation, you can use the traps to check for new larder beetle activity.

Clean up the garden

Clean yard to eradicate crane flies.
A clean yard proves to be less attractive to pests.

Do you see the pattern yet? Keeping everything neat and tidy is the answer to DIY pest control!

Keeping your yard clean and free of clutter is just as important as your kitchen and home’s interior.

This is because the beetles are first attracted to your yard as an entry point and will infest whatever foods you have available outside.

Then when the cold season comes up, they find their way into your house.

So if you keep the yard clean in the first place, there’s less of a chance they’ll come into your house entirely.

The yard may be a nightmare for some people because of the amount of work it requires to clean up. Consider hiring a gardener to do it for you if you just don’t have the time.

You’ll want to do the following to minimize future beetle infestations:

Remove all unnecessary foliage (plants, shrubs, etc.)

Anything you don’t need, tear it up and toss it out or compost it. More plants are just more work.

The fewer plants you have, the less possibility of pests coming into your home overall.

Prune your plants

For the plants, you DO want to keep, be sure to prune and trim them as necessary.

Don’t let them go crazy. Keep them neat.

Reduce unnecessary watering. Water is necessary for a plethora of insects to thrive.

And you’d be surprised at the kind of bugs you can find in high moisture gardens (succulent bugs, bagworms, crickets).

Don’t over-fertilize

Keep plant fertilizers to a minimum.

Bugs eat excess plant food buildup in water runoffs and they make your plants grow too fast, which can lure more pests if the plants are unkempt.

Keep water features clean. Do regular maintenance of fountains, gutters, drains, and pools to keep pests out.

Don’t store dry pet or animal feed outside

Chickens are a primary bait for beetle problems.
Pet and animal feed should be stored so that no pests can access them.

Keep your dry goods in secure bins or containers that are pest-free.

Store them indoors in a secure area rather than out in the easily accessible open.

Even a small shed, outhouse, or barn offers a layer of protection from pests, even if it’s not 100% pest proof.

You can work with a shed’s entry points (such as sealing up the door), but when you leave it outside, you have nothing to work with. Keep all your dry goods secure.

Get rid of clutter

Any clutter, storage, garden equipment, patio furnishings, or other junk that’s just lying around in the yard, get rid of it or store it property.

These offer plenty of hiding places for beetles, spiders, lizards, to make a home and get comfy.

Donate it, sell it, or properly stow it away so that it’s not accessible to bugs. You can tarp oversized objects or put smaller ones into an outdoor shed.

Whatever you do, don’t just let clutter sit in your garden. They house dozens of different pests and they collect rainwater, which can attract everything from crane flies to sow bugs.

And more beetles, of course.

Get rid of plants that touch your home’s exteriors

If your home’s exterior has a bunch of plants climbing the walls, trim them off so they don’t touch your home.

Get rid of any trellises or stakes that allow foliage to creep up on your home. The same goes for any foliage that touches the roof of your property or even comes close to it.

These are just easy entryways for climbing bugs. And beetles are one of them.

Fix up your home

Trellis with larder beetles in the yard.
Trellises and fences provide pests a bridge into your property.

As mentioned prior in this guide, patching up your property will help keep the beetles out of your house during winter and all seasons.

If your house is in a state of disrepair, you’ll want to immediately get on it and fix it up.

Sure, it sounds like it’ll be a lot of work and will cost some money. But the majority of everything can be done for cheap with some online DIY tutorials.

Or you can hire a contractor to do the repairs. This will help keep bugs out of your home much more effectively than any insecticide you can find.

Here are some common areas to inspect and repair:

  • Check the foundation and caulk up any cracks or crevices
  • Caulk or replace damaged or torn weatherstripping around windows and patio doors
  • Fix up damaged exterior structures and walls
  • Block off entrances around door gaps
  • Seal up plumbing inlets and outlets

This is also known as exclusion and is one of the best ways to keep bugs out of your home. Period.

A bottle of caulk and a weekend off will go far to keep bugs out of your house for years. It’s worth it.

Hire a professional exterminator

If you don’t have the time to kill the beetles on your own, hiring a professional is the next best thing.

Most companies do offer some kind of service guarantee to continually treat your beetle problem until it’s fixed.

The only problem with a lot of these companies is that they use harmful chemicals that are no good for you, your pets, or the environment.

However, a lot do have “green” alternatives, which you should ask for. I’d suggest doing some research on your local pest control branches and comparing some quotes.

Larder beetles in the house

For all larder beetles in the home, follow the steps outlined in this guide.

Usually, a combo of deep cleaning, food elimination, pest exclusion, traps for prevention, and constant monitoring will do the job. You’ll want to find out what they’re eating and eliminate the food source.

Then clean up the entire infestation, followed by setting up traps and hunkering down your home.

Set up traps to catch any new beetles coming into your house.

Check on them frequently to see if there’s any new beetle activity around or on your property. Assess from there.

Larder beetles in the bathroom

Mold mites in kitchen bathroom.
Bathroom and kitchen sinks provide moisture, which these larder beetles need.

Larder beetles are also commonly found in the bathroom because it provides ample hiding places, offers plenty of food (debris, waste, trash, clothes, etc.), and has plenty of humidity from the sink and shower.

Larder beetles will hide in your bathroom’s drawers, shelves, dressers, and other areas they hide.

Bathroom under-sink cabinets are also an easy target.

Follow the same steps as household infestations. Clean it out. Remove the food. Exclude the beetles. Set traps. And then monitor their activity.

Why are larder beetles in my bedroom?

If you find a larder beetle larvae in your bedroom, chances are that it’s eating some clothing or fabric. If you don’t eat in your room and it’s free of food crumbs, then it’s likely fur, feathers, books, magazines, papers, newspaper, or some other source they’re eating.

Check your room and find out what they’re eating. You can grab a flashlight and look for active larder beetles at night when they’re actively foraging for food. This is the best time to find out where they’re coming from.

Be sure to check under furniture, your bed, your closet, and even behind electrical outlets or peeling wallpaper. These beetles will hide in the smallest of cracks to feel safe.

Larder beetles in clothes

Protect clothes from bugs.
You can protect your closet from pests quite easily.

Clothing made with fur or feathers will attract larder beetles.

They hide and feast on the soft material as they’re organic and the beetles are programmed to eat decaying matter. Or at least so they think.

If you have clothing that uses these materials, store them in airtight bags or containers in a secure location.

Similar to other bugs that eat clothes or moths in the closet, larder beetles can be found crawling around on your new fur scarf or feather suit(?) relatively quickly.

They also will damage your clothing if you let them just breed and eat on the materials all day and night. Proper storage will stop these pests from destroying your clothes.

What insecticide kills larder beetles?

If you need to resort to using a larder beetle spray for control, look for something on the list of active ingredients called bifenthrin. This is an effective larder beetle killer and is commonly used in chicken coops and animal barns.

I’d avoid using any insecticides for control because they’re harmful to the environment, to you, and to your family/pets.  If you need to use a spray indoors, make sure it’s rated for indoor use.

Always use proper PPE. Use as directed.

Use green or natural pesticides when possible. This is important because you’re spraying this chemical around your home and plants, which you need to watch out for- especially if you’re growing edible plants!

Further reading

Here are some additional references you may find helpful on your quest to get rid of the beetles:

Did you get rid of the larder beetles in your home?

How to get rid of larder beetles in the house.
Get rid of them and never deal with them again. (By Stefanlindmark – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.)

You should now have all the knowledge you need to manage, control, and eradicate larder beetles from your property.

Eliminating them from your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom takes time, so be patient. But once you see their numbers drop, you know whatever home remedy you’re doing is working. Scale it up and be patient.

Remember that larder beetles are pretty much like any other beetle found in the home.

They’re not harmful in small numbers, so don’t worry and go paranoid if you see one. Just don’t be careless and let them overtake your home.

If you have any questions, you can post a comment below or send me a message directly.

For any guide updates or feedback, please directly contact me.

If you found this page helpful, let me know as well =].

Consider telling a neighbor who may get some value out of it.

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Larder Beetles Naturally (Home, Kitchen, and Garden)”

  1. I’m not sure what kind of traps or sticky tape to buy for larder beetles. When I look at the store there isn’t anything that says it’s for larder beetles.

  2. Hey Anthony, great read!
    I have a Larder Beetle problem from a year now. I had a mice infestation in my cielling and walls in 2019 and was able to get rid of them with poison bags and spring traps. Now I have some larder beetles coming in my place, 4 to 6 a day. Usually it stops during winter but re-appear in Speing and Summer. When removing my light fixture in the cieling, I was able to see one dead in the glass part and one larvae alive. This year we start seeing larvae in our bedsheets. I think they are coming form the dead mices in the ceilling. How can I make them disappear? Thanks for your great article again.

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