Larder beetles can be a real hassle in your home because they are always looking for some little morsel that has been dropped. They are not picky about food but are often found in grains and flours because that is what is most commonly left open and it provides a great hiding place for them as well. Here are some steps you can take to get rid of larder beetles in your home.
Buy Dog and Livestock Food Bins That Seal Well
Dog food, livestock feed, cat food; all of these are some of the larder beetles favorite things because they are often not sealed up well. A larder beetle is really small, so it does not take much of an opening for them to find their way into a bag. Since animal feeds are so concentrated, you could be making a very significant contribution to the larder beetle population growth.
A well-built trash can with a lid is useful for storing animal feeds. Make sure to buy a quality one that is made to deal with a lot of weight and is outdoor grade for best results. The plastic is made better on outdoor grade bins, so it is not as affected by sunlight.
Make sure that bags of feed are promptly dumped into cans because larder beetles can get in pretty quickly if you just leave a bag sitting around. There may be small holes in it that you would never see that larder beetles can use to get in.
Deep Clean Your Home
It is easy for food to get spilled over the course of the year. A few crumbs here and there might not seem like a lot to you but to a larder beetle, it is a big feast for them and their family! If there are a lot of people going in and out of your kitchen, then you may have crumbs and such that have fallen in areas that you don’t normally clean. If you give pets treats indoors, then there are the remains of this to deal with.
Kids rooms need special attention because your little one may have just forgot that granola bar under the bed or maybe they spilled something and didn’t want to get in trouble? Forgotten plates and other debris can attract larder beetles.
A good method for cleaning up dry food debris is to first vacuum and then use your favorite cleaner to thoroughly wipe down any surfaces. If you have cabinets with a lot of nooks and crannies to get into, then you may consider using a toothbrush or other small brush to clean very well.
Rugs, coats, and other products made of animal hides and leather are at risk for damage from larder beetles because they crave foods that are high in protein. If you are having a problem in your kitchen, you may want to take measures to protect treasured garments and rugs until you get rid of the larder beetles.
Vacuuming animal hide or fiber rugs thoroughly every other day is another option because larder beetles won’t be able to get settled in to damage your rugs. Clothing and shoes can be stored in inexpensive storage totes or plastic bags.
Food in your pantries such as rice, beans, flours, and other dry goods should be stored in sealed containers, canisters, or glass jars. You can get shaker lids for Mason Jars or plastic jar lids and use any canning jar for storage. Glass jars with rubber seals are another good option that doesn’t cost a lot. If you like to keep larger volumes on hand, then you can buy large food grade bins that seal. Larger bins hold 25-50lbs of flour most of the time. Any larger and it becomes way too cumbersome.
Larder Beetles Cost Money
Every time you have to throw out food due to larder beetles, it costs you money. The best thing you can do is not give them the food you need. Luckily getting your home in better condition and more organized is also something that will improve your lifestyle. Throwing out a whole pantry of dry goods is an expensive thing to have to happen.
Reduce Clutter in and Around Your Home
Larder beetles like to overwinter in crevices such as tree bark and even debris around your yard if it is substantial enough. Reducing the clutter and piles of organic material around your home will help with the number of beetles and other insects that you have to deal with. The more habitat they have available to them, the more there is going to be.
Larder Beetles Can Be Sign of Other Pests
If having your pantry raided wasn’t bad enough, there is the fact that Larder beetles also infest nests of mice and rats as well as squirrel nests. If you have a lot of larder beetles around, then you should check out your home for other pests that may be harmful to your health.
A UV blacklight flashlight is inexpensive and can be used to detect leaks and urine stains or marks from rodents and other vermin that are all too common in homes. If you see a lot of shining trails, then you might want to look into exterminating some rodents.
Squirrels in the attic with nests can be a problem in homes that are not well sealed. This is most common in older homes. If you have heard strange sounds in the attic, then you might just have a squirrel problem. This is a serious issue because squirrels can chew on the wiring of your home and damage your insulation as well.
Try to Get in Better Kitchen Habits
If you have a lot of people in your home, then you know that the kitchen and pantry can get pretty out of order. It only takes one meal for a kitchen to need quite a bit of cleaning when you are feeding 4 or more people. If you are having a larder beetle problem, it is important to stress to everyone in your household the importance of cleaning up as they go.
Sure we all leave the dishes for the morning once in a while, but you might want to at least rinse them. Leaving food debris around your kitchen increases the chances that beetles will find their way in. Wiping down counters with a damp rag to get rid of crumbs is important for a bug-free pantry.
Don’t Forget the Garage
If you have been spilling dog food or other pet foods even once in a while and not immediately sweeping it up, then you are going to get some bugs at some point. When trying to eliminate larder beetles, you need not to overlook garages and outbuildings that may have food sources scattered about. A good shop broom or vacuum can go a long way towards making clean up easy.
If you are afraid cleaning up is not enough there are insecticides you can use to prevent larder beetles from returning. A lot of homeowners are hesitant to take this route because it is where they are storing their food, and the thought of spraying chemicals around is not appealing.
There are organic pesticide solutions such as dusting corners with diatomaceous earth or borax. While this makes for some dust, it is a natural solution that is not in any way harmful to pets or children.
Rethinking Animal Trophies
If you have that deer head on the wall that your grandpa shot back in the 80s, then you might think about it when it comes to larder beetles. These guys can destroy trophies made of any animal product so you might want to store that memento until your home is bug-free.
Throw Out Damaged Items
Unfortunately by the time most people realize that larder beetles have damaged their clothing, shoes, rugs, etc. it is too late to save the item. There is also the issue that your items may still be infested with beetles, eggs, or larvae. It is best to put items in plastic trash bags and dispose of them immediately.
Keeping items that have slight damage may be okay, but you will want to treat them with a spray that is safe to use on them before returning them to your home or you could just be asking for a re-infestation.
Larvae Bore into Wood
Larder beetle larvae like to bore into wood. This can cause some damage, but it is usually not too severe. At the same time if you have a big problem you could see structural or serious cosmetic damage to wood buildings or other structures around your property. It is best to just pay attention and take care of your larder beetle problem the minute you notice anything.
Stacks of firewood and brush piles are attractive to almost any type of beetle or insect so reducing them is going to help over time.
Strive for a Sealed Home
Many homes have a lot more cracks and ways of entry for pests than the homeowner realizes. Finding all the gaps and cracks in your home is worth the effort. You will be able to reduce your heating and cooling costs by sealing any drafts or intrusions, and you will prevent insects and rodents from being able to come and go from your home as they please.
Gaps and cracks can be sealed with spray foam insulation that comes in cans and is available at virtually any home improvement or hardware store.
Silicone and latex caulk are cheap and are perfect for sealing small gaps and cracks. You can buy caulk that is paintable within 30 minutes, so if you have to seal somewhere that is visible, you can make it blend in perfectly with your home.
If your foundation is concrete and has cracks in it, you can use a product called topping mix that is used for smoothing out the top layer of concrete on big pours. This is applied with a small trowel, or you could use a small flat board. Just be sure to wipe away excess. You can always paint over it or use concrete dye to match your foundation.
Screens Are Important
If your home lacks good window or door screens, then you need to change that. The vents of your foundation should also have screens in them to keep out all types of insects. It is so cheap to have a screen fixed at a home improvement store that there is not much reason to do it yourself unless you live very remotely.
Screens may not have very apparent holes or tears in them but may be loose where they meet up with a frame. Small holes in screens may be fixed temporarily with a few drops of clear nail polish or some duct tape until you can get to the store and get your screen fixed.
Screened in doors that are not a good fit for their frame may be letting in more bugs than you realize. You can use weatherstripping to create a more sealed door.
Keep Pet Areas Clean
Pets in cages such as birds often drop food from their cages. This food can attract bugs like larder beetles, so it is important to clean up well under bird cages. The same is true for areas of your home where cats or dogs frequently hang out. Cats are notorious for dragging food out of dishes before consuming it thus leading to bits and crumbs being scattered over a broad area. Your vacuum is one of your best friends in the fight against larder beetles.
Check Storage Spaces
If you have areas of your home that are for long term storage, then make sure to check them out for pests. It is possible that these spaces are the source of your problem. Sprinkling diatomaceous earth in storage spaces will discourage and in some cases eliminate larder beetles.