Bacon beetles (Dermestes) pose a hygienic storage problem and damage a wide variety of materials. Prompt control is required to prevent uncontrolled proliferation. There are different methods for this.


In order to know whether one of the following control measures is effective, the pests and/or the bacon beetle larvae must first be identified. 144 species are known in Germany, but only a few of them are widespread. They can be recognized by the following appearance:

  • Oval, elongated body
  • Between two and eleven antennae with a thickening at the end, sometimes crested
  • Size between one and ten millimeters (adult beetles)
  • Beige wing with three red dots in front area (Bacon beetle ( Dermestes lardarius ))
  • Body color mostly brown with black, sometimes with reddish or yellowish dots/spots
  • Smooth, hairy or scaly surface
  • Mostly club-shaped end, rarely straight
  • Larvae: brown, bristly body, elongated, alternating brown and cream-colored rings, five to 15 millimeters long, are afraid of light, three pairs of legs in front
  • Eggs: mostly shiny, several clusters of 10 to 14 eggs each, location: mainly on/in food sources
  • Nymphs: seven to ten millimeters long, already resemble adults, elongated body, body ivory-colored, soft skin, short and finely hairy


The bacon beetle larvae in particular can cause immense damage. Because they avoid light, knowing their preferred locations is important for control purposes. The adult bacon beetles are not afraid of light, on the contrary, because they are attracted to light, but they still like to hide.

  • bird nests
  • On deciduous trees
  • At or in the immediate vicinity of Aas
  • Due to the ideal possibility of obtaining food, often in storehouses and living quarters
    • Sighting of food stocks such as salami, cheese, animal feed for egg laying
    • On food sources such as leather, skins, feathers and carpets – furs in fur beetles
  • Dark places such as those found in cracks, behind baseboards and furniture, or under hardwood floors
  • For pupation: in pieces of wood, styrofoam, boxes or books (stacks of paper)

detect infestation

The most reliable means of identifying bacon beetle larvae and/or beetles is their unambiguous identification based on the identification features mentioned above. If nothing is visually noticeable, an infestation will be noticed at the latest by the first signs of the pests eating. Depending on the beetle species, eaten materials and food are typical, as described under “Locations”. Sometimes it’s just fluff and small scraps of material lying around because they were eaten up but not eaten and are flying around with drafts. Oblong droppings in cupboards can be a sign of bacon beetles. If there is a suspicion of an infestation, it is advisable to take a close look when cleaning or to search in preferred places.

Fight bacon beetles

Various chemical and home remedies are available to combat bacon beetles and their larvae. For health and environmental reasons, home remedies are always the first choice. Effective home remedies that have proven themselves in the “fight” against bacon beetles for years are listed below. If, for whatever reason, you cannot achieve the desired effect, there are other alternatives.

Clean properly

If dermestes have been discovered or are suspected to be in cracks, for example, the vacuum cleaner is the ideal means of combating it. Simply guide the suction pipe as close as possible to openings and thoroughly vacuum the entire living space. Then immediately empty the filter contents into a bag or take out a vacuum cleaner bag, close it tightly and dispose of it with household waste. Since the tiny eggs are difficult to reach, suckling should be repeated daily or at least every two days for long periods of time. Infested food and all accessible food in the immediate vicinity must also be removed immediately.

Tip: Cleaning, vacuuming and disposal is a tedious process. In order to achieve the desired success more quickly and to get rid of all bacon beetles, this measure should always be combined with another household remedy campaign.

wash textiles

If textiles, upholstery or carpets are infested, washing at 60 degrees helps to get rid of the pests. If the material is not suitable for hot washing, they will die even at minus temperatures of around 20 degrees Celsius. However, the latter can usually only be used in winter, since hardly any freezer compartment allows such low temperatures.

Note: Of course, heat and cold are not suitable for ‘rescuing’ infested food.

Lock in

Bacon beetles like to hide in cracks found behind baseboards and between floorboards. To block their way to food sources, sealing them is a deadly control measure for the voracious pests, whether adults or larvae. Silicone is best suited for sealing cracks.


There are commercially available insecticides to combat bacon beetles and their larvae:

toxin pyrethrum

Suitable insecticides are based on the toxin “pyrethrum”. They are advertised with a quick and efficient effect. The problem: as soon as the smell of bacon beetles is noticed, they avoid sprayed areas. The chance of combating them quickly with the active ingredient is therefore very small. Only direct spraying promises success if a beetle/larva is visible and accessible.

Order exterminator

If you are extremely disgusted by the bacon beetle and want to keep your distance or where invasions of these pests are up to mischief, ordering an exterminator offers the solution. This usually uses a gas to combat it, which leads to poisoning as soon as adult beetles and beetle larvae inhale it or absorb it through their bodies. However, the exterminator is the most expensive variant, whereby the price depends on the infestation and room size as well as effort. A price comparison of several offers is certainly useful here.

Natural predators

The distribution of predators that the bacon beetle and its larvae use as food or as a host is a natural and effective control method. Perfect predators are camp chalcids (Lariophagus distinguendus). They penetrate even the tightest cracks. There they use their spines to dig holes in the bacon beetle eggs and lay their own eggs in them. This stops the development of the bacon beetle larvae and completely destroys the eggs after the camp chalcids hatch. As a result, the multiplication process of the dermestes is stopped. Incidentally, these natural predators are available in specialist garden shops.

silicate dust

Environmentally friendly and harmless to health is silicate dust. Fossilized algae are the main component of this powder, which can be bought in well-stocked hardware stores. It works through the sharp-edged particles that pierce the carapace/skin, ultimately causing dehydration. You’ll die in no time. The powder also has the advantage that it can be sprinkled well into narrow cracks.

frequently asked Questions

They are not regarded as carriers of dangerous diseases, which is why bacon beetles are not to be regarded as a health hazard. However, contact with faeces and/or the shooting of poisonous arrow hairs by the bacon beetle larvae can cause allergies, skin reactions and breathing difficulties in sensitive people. If you go on a search and clean up the last traces after fighting, you should always wear gloves.

Regular vacuuming, mopping and occasional beating of carpets, if possible, is important. Food should always be tightly closed. Fine-mesh fly screens on windows reduce the risk because there are fewer chances of entry. Furs and leather and wool clothing should be stored in protective covers – especially if they are rarely worn and cleaned. Dead animals such as rats must be disposed of as quickly as possible and the bacon beetle’s favorite hiding places blocked.

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