Dermestidae Larder Beetles

Larvae of larder beetles, or pantry beetles (Fig. 6.7), are covered with barbed and spearlike setae that may cause allergic reactions in the form of pruritic, papulovesicular skin lesions. Dermestid larvae often are found living in household furnishings, such as carpets, rugs, and upholstery, or stored clothing of individuals suffering from these reactions, Larder beetles are named for their common occurrence as pantry pests, but they may also be found in grain storage facilities, in bird and mammal nests and burrows, and on carrion. The larvae and adults are mostly scavengers on decaying or dry plant and animal matter.

Dermestid larvae and adults are known to have crawled into human ears, causing itching and pain. The spearheaded setae of dermestid larvae have been observed on numerous occasions on cervical (Papanicolaou) smear slides and in sputum samples. In all of these cases the setae appear to have been contaminants that were not associated with any pathological changes in the patients (Bryant and Maslan 1994).

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