Description: Adult larder beetles are about 7 to 9mm long with an oval shaped body. They are dark brown, with a broad, pale yellow, black-spotted band across the front portion of the wing covers. There are six black dots on this band, three on each wing cover, arranged in a triangle. The underside and legs are covered with fine, yellowish hairs. Other dermestes beetle species include D. peruvianas (uniformly dark) and D. maculatus (black with patches of white hairs).
Biology: Females each lay up to 200 eggs, which hatch in 12 or more days. Larvae prefer spoiled ham, bacon, dried beef and other meats. Larvae either bore into this meat or wander away to bore into wood, books and even metals such as lead and telephone cables to pupate. The life cycle requires a minimum of 40 to 50 days.
Control: The first step is to trace the source of the infestation. In domestic situations or industrial kitchens, an integrated programme of cleaning and spraying with a residual insecticide (paying attention to all cracks and crevices), will control most infestations.
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