Dermestes lardarius

Larder Beetle

Dermestes lardarius, Larder Beetle photo

Family: Dermestidae

Subfamily: Dermestinae

Length: 6-8 mm


Dermestes lardarius is considered a "cosmopolitan" beetle. That is to say, mankind has carried it to essentially every corner of the earth. The species feeds upon dried meats such as cured hams and salted fish, and has spread out globally over the centuries as such products have been shipped.

Norwegian entomologists reared the species in the laboratory and found:

Other researches have reported the number of instars in Dermestes lardarius can vary from five to ten, the variation based on temperature, humidity, and other factors.

While some have suspected the Larder Beetle of being a vector of disease, experiments have failed to demonstrate this. In the mid-twentieth century, researchers fed Larder Beetles on the liver of a guinea pig that had the bubonic plague, but the beetles themselves did not become infected nor did they act as carriers. Larder Beetles that were fed Salmonella-tainted meat also failed to serve as vectors of the Salmonella microorganisms.

Insects of West Virginia