In addition to fur and carpet beetles, the bacon beetle is one of the most common hygiene and material pests in houses and apartments. Both the actual bacon beetle and its larvae are about 10 mm long. All beetle species are able to fly and can therefore easily get into apartments. The larvae of the bacon beetle often live in the rubbish, so they can nest in dirty or neglected apartments.

Bacon beetle larva

The larvae feed on both carrion and organic matter, they eat almost anything, regardless of whether it is food, textiles or fur. The bacon beetle does not pose a health hazard to humans, but due to the damage caused by the beetle and its larvae, rapid and thorough control is essential.

Control of the bacon beetle and its larvae

The larvae of the bacon beetle usually cause the greatest damage. Combating the bacon beetle and its light-shy larvae is usually quite difficult. This is mainly due to the fact that the larvae usually withdraw to pupate in areas that are difficult to access such as cavities, expansion joints in the screed, cracks in floors or furniture and even in insulating materials. Bacon beetles can also nest in upholstered furniture, behind baseboards, in carpets and rugs and between the slats of slatted frames.

Immediate measures in the event of an infestation

  • find the source of the infestation
  • Throw away or dispose of infested food completely
  • This also applies to animal feed
  • Shake out affected textiles thoroughly outside and wash as hot as possible
  • If the material allows, also iron
  • Freeze garments for several hours
  • It is best to put them in a plastic bag first
  • Thoroughly clean affected areas such as cupboards and floors
  • If necessary, remove beetles on walls and windows with a vacuum cleaner

contact insecticides and other commercial agents

The trade offers special contact insecticides, which, however, are not always promising. In addition, synthetic agents are harmful to both humans and animals. Drugs made from neem oil or tea tree oil are harmless to human health. However, the effectiveness of these natural remedies is often not sufficient, especially not in the case of a stronger infestation.

For example, beetles and larvae in cupboards or behind skirting boards can be controlled with Pistal, a natural insecticide in the form of a ready-to-use spray, in powder form, or other pyrethrum preparations whose active ingredients are obtained from the flowers of a species of chrysanthemum.

These short-acting preparations are sprayed into cracks, crevices, and other affected areas. Cupboards should be completely cleared out and cleaned beforehand. When using such agents, the application instructions of the respective manufacturer must always be followed exactly.

Thermal Combat

One possibility is thermal control of the bacon beetle and its larvae. High temperatures of more than 50 degrees but also extremely low temperatures of -20 degrees play a decisive role. At temperatures above 50 degrees, beetles and larvae in all stages of development die after about 1-2 hours.

It is important that all areas in the object in question are exposed to the high temperatures. At extremely low temperatures, success usually comes much later. The product in question must then be stored for at least two weeks at temperatures of -18 degrees.

Help in case of severe infestation

  • It may make sense to leave the fight to a professional pest controller
  • particularly advisable in the case of a heavy infestation
  • Pest controllers have the means and options to completely eliminate bacon beetles and their larvae
  • successful control usually lasts longer than two months
  • necessary to eliminate the entire population of beetles and larvae
  • Larval stage usually lasts about six weeks

Causes of an infestation

A bird or wasp nest near the house, in the attic or on the roof can be the cause of an infestation with bacon beetles. You can also bring this pest into your home with used furniture or other items. Poor hygiene is also very often the reason for an infestation, because bacon beetles can almost always be found in so-called messie apartments.

Prevent an infestation

In order to avoid an infestation by the bacon beetle or its larvae, you should always pay attention to good hygiene. Regular cleaning is important, and cracks, gaps and corners in both floors and cupboards should not be forgotten. To avoid such cracks or gaps in the floor, you should lay floors that are as completely closed as possible, such as with tiles, PVC or laminate. Since the bacon beetle is able to fly, fly gage on windows or ventilation systems can prevent these pests from arriving.

Since dander and body odor also attract the bacon beetle, it is important to always wash clothing and other textiles before storing them in the closet. Carpets and upholstered furniture should be beaten and vacuumed regularly. This also applies to fabric textiles and carpets that are stored permanently, which should also be thoroughly cleaned beforehand.

Animal hair, bird feathers and dead insects should always be removed. In order to rule out abandoned bird or wasp nests as a possible source of danger, they should be removed if possible, but only if they are actually deserted, otherwise it could be very unpleasant and even dangerous , especially with a wasp nest . If you are not sure whether the wasp’s nest is deserted, you should consult a specialist to be on the safe side. It is best to put removed nests in a plastic bag and then dispose of them in the residual waste.

In addition to regular cleaning, the room should also be ventilated regularly. It is particularly important to ensure a relatively dry climate in the bathroom and kitchen. If possible, upholstered furniture should not be placed directly against the wall, but set back a little so that the air behind it can also circulate well.

There are also a few things to consider when it comes to food. For example, you should not leave open or partially opened food packaging and, when buying food, look out for damaged packaging or clumps in the packaging, which could possibly indicate pest infestation. It makes the most sense to store food in sealable containers, eg made of glass or plastic. It is also advisable to buy only as much food as you can consume in a relatively short time.

bacon beetle species

The bacon beetle family (Dermestidae) includes the species of the genus Dermestes, which are considered scavengers. This genus includes the thorn beetle, the common bacon beetle and the Peruvian bacon beetle. All three species occur in Germany.


appearance and occurrence

The bacon beetle ‘Dermestes maculatus’ is brown to black-brown and between five and ten millimeters long. Its elytra are covered with black hairs. Its larvae have long protruding hairs, between which there are much shorter hairs. The bacon beetle owes its name to its two clearly visible thorns at the end of its body.

In the wild, the larvae of the bacon beetle help to remove animal carcasses. But it can also get into the house, for example through animal carcasses lying unnoticed in the chimney, cavities in walls or floors or in the attic.

damage picture

In the house they get to grips with animal products such as egg noodles, powdered milk, dried fish, hard cheese, sausage, but also wool, feathers, for example in down pillows and furs. Temperatures between 15 and 35 degrees as well as high air and substrate moisture are optimal for this pest and its development. To pupate, the larvae bore into solid materials such as wood, stacks of paper, cardboard, mortar or polystyrene, which is also the case with the common and Peruvian bacon beetle.

Common bacon beetle

appearance and occurrence

The bacon beetle ‘Dermestes lardarius’ is between 7 and 9.5 mm in size. Its body is elongated oval and completely scaled. The two-colored elytra are covered with yellowish hairs in the front area and three darker spots on each side of the wing, which are characteristic of the common bacon beetle. The rear part of the elytra is black. The larvae are about twice as long as the beetles. Its body is slender and has many long bristles.

In nature, this bacon beetle feeds mainly on carrion. He finds optimal conditions in the house at temperatures of 25 degrees and a relative humidity of 65%. This bacon beetle also often gets into the house through animal carcasses, for example in the attic, or through pigeons breeding there . This bacon beetle species is very common in very neglected apartments, so-called Messi apartments.

damage picture

The common bacon beetle is a hygiene and material pest at the same time. Both beetles and larvae tamper with animal foods such as dried fish, egg noodles, hard cheese, sausage, ham and furs as well as textiles or plant products such as almonds or nuts. If the bacon beetle community can spread unhindered, it can also cause massive damage to furnishings.

Peruvian bacon beetle and its larvae

appearance and occurrence

With a size of seven to ten millimetres, the Peruvian bacon beetle ‘Dermestes peruvianus’ is similar in size to the two aforementioned bacon beetle species of the Dermestes genus. The beetle is dark brown to black and has fine yellowish-white hairs on its shiny elytra.

The Peruvian bacon beetle finds the best conditions in food processing plants, canteen kitchens and private households, at temperatures of 25 degrees and a relative humidity of 80%. Mass occurrences can also occur in poultry farms or pigeon lofts.

damage picture

The Peruvian bacon beetle is primarily a storage and hygiene pest. Both beetles and larvae infest a large number of animal products such as hard cheese, bacon, dried meat and fish or dry food for dogs and cats, as do the common and thorn bacon beetles.

Despite everything, an infestation can be partially prevented with good hygiene. If the bacon beetle and its larvae have settled in the house, you can possibly get a light infestation under control with various measures. In the event of a massive infestation, however, you should always hire a professional pest controller to remove it, because they have the necessary knowledge and options to get rid of the bacon beetle and larvae completely and permanently.

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