Lords Environmental - Larder Beetle


Dermestes lardarius L.

[Larder Beetle]

Home stored meats and raw hides were damaged frequently by larder beetles until modern methods of commercial slaughtering, meat storage and meat distribution became nearly universal.

Presently larder beetles are more of a nuisance pest although they may also attack pantry products. The occurrence of larder beetles in the home is frequently associated with the presence of a dead rodent -- mouse, rat, chipmunk or squirrel &endash; between walls of the house or in an attic or crawl space. Accumulations of dead insects such as cluster flies in lamp globes, between walls or at attic windows may also support large numbers of larder beetles. Fledgling birds or abandoned nests beneath the eaves or in an attic may attract larder beetles. Museum specimens, feathers, horn, hair, hides and beeswax along with dried meat or fish, and dog biscuits or other dry pet food are also susceptible to attack. Adult beetles are attracted to larval food sources on which they lay their eggs. Larvae feed until the food source is consumed, after which they move about in search of further nourishment. It is this movement that frequently leads to their discovery. In heavy infestation hundreds of individuals may creep from beneath baseboards, around windowsills or from electrical fixtures.

When larvae are full grown, they search for a place to pupate and often bore into nearby structural components, especially wood or paper. The actual damage they do is slight as they do not bore to eat, simply to have a sheltered place in which to pupate.

Adult beetles are about 1/3 inch (8-10mm) long. The dark brown color of most of the body is interrupted by a broad, somewhat yellowish gray band across the front portion of the forewings. The band may show six darker spots. Adult beetles are sometimes observed outdoors where they have been feeding upon the pollen of flowers.

Eggs are deposited on suitable food sources and are seldom observed. In summer they hatch in 12 days or less.

Larvae are dark reddish brown to near black in color, hairy, and bear a pair of small backward curved spines (urogomphi) near the tip of the abdomen. Full grown larvae are nearly _ in length. Pupae (an inactive stage) are covered with the last larval skin and are found in sheltered places near the larval food.

A complete generation can occur in 40 to 50 days under ideal conditions (64-68 degrees F. and plenty of food). However, it is not unusual to have only one generation per year in many areas.
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Many insects attack our lawn grasses. Most of them are minor pests and their damage is usually overlooked. A few, however, can cause extensive serious damage, sometimes killing large areas of grass. Our most common pests are white grubs, chinch bugs, sod webworms, and cutworms. Grubs feed on the roots of grasses; the latter three feed on above ground grass parts.

Well managed turf is able to withstand more insects without showing damage than turf that is stressed. Providing adequate soil moisture and reducing soil compaction, along with proper fertilization and soil pH can do much to combat insect pests.

White grubs continue to be the most common turfgrass insect pest reported by homeowners. White grubs are the larvae of beetles and chafers. They may be found below ground among the roots of turfgrasses. The grubs are C-shaped, off white in color with a brownish head. One year is required by most species to complete their development, but some may take as long as three years.

Damage occurs throughout the summer. Grubs chew off grass roots, and the lawn turns brown and dies. Check for grubs by digging a square foot of turf three inches deep - gradually pull apart over a piece of cardboard and look at the soil. If there are more than 8 grubs per square foot, treatment may be necessary.

Control of various white grubs has become increasingly difficult since the loss of persistent chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides. The following questions will help you increase the chance of successfully managing white grubs:

Chinch bugs injure grasses by puncturing the stems and sucking out the plant juices. Injury first appears as a coppery colored area closely resembling drought or sun scald injury. If the infestations are severe, the grass is killed and only clover and other non-grass weeds, which are not attacked, survive. Chinch bugs normally become a problem after June, most often during July, August and September when we have warmer temperatures. Some varieties of grasses appear to be more tolerant of chinch bug feeding injury than others.

The hairy chinch bug is our common species. The adults are black with white wings folded over the body, about 1/5 inch in length. The chinch bug passes through five growth stages (instars). The 1st and 2nd instars are bright red with a white band across the 1st two abdominal segments, the 3rd instar is orange, 4th orange-brown, and the 5th is blackish. Chinch bugs overwinter as adults in sheltered places, under shrubs or along foundation walls of homes. Females lay eggs in the early summer, and in Southeastern New York and on Long Island where there may be two generations (one occurs in upstate New York) egg laying occurs again in late July or early August.

Chinch bug injury may be distinguished from other pest damage by careful examination about the crowns of the grass plants revealing the presence of the insects. The outer margin of the injured area is a good place to look to find the bugs. Other methods of detecting the presence of the bugs include (1) water small areas heavily and then cover them with a white cloth - within a short period of time, the bugs will crawl up the grass blades and cling to the under surface of the cloth where they can be easily seen by turning the cloth over; or (2) use a large can with both ends open, drive it into the soil a few inches, and fill with water - adults and nymphs should float to the surface within 10 to 20 minutes.

Sod webworm damage first appears as irregular brown spots in lawns. These spots rapidly expand to become large brown areas of severely damaged or destroyed grass. The webworms (caterpillars) work only at night and live in protecting silken webs or nets that they form about their bodies. There are several species of lawn moths that cause damage to turf.

The "cigar shaped" adults of the sod webworms do not cause any damage. They hide in shrubbery and high grasses during the day and fly at night and deposit eggs on the grass. Eggs hatch in about 7 days and the young larvae begin feeding on the grass blades. They may be spotted or not. Since there are many species of sod webworm, it is difficult to associate their damage with one particular time of the year. The life cycle of each species differs and several overlapping generations may occur.

There are also many species of cutworms. They should not be confused with white grubs; the larvae are dull-brown, gray or black, hairless caterpillars which when full grown range from 1 _ to 2 inches in length. Some species are spotted, others are striped. All are night feeders and thrive on most weeds and many cultivated plants. They occasionally infest lawns, feeding on grass blades or cutting off the plants near the soil. The adult are nocturnal moths and are brown or grayish in color.
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