Hide Beetles infest a wide variety of substances, especially those of animal origin. Both adults and larvae feed on cured meats, dried fish, cheeses, raw skins, hides, furs, feathers, hair, fish meal, dry dog and cat food, stored tobacco, stuffed animals, museum specimens, abandoned birds’ nests, dead rodents in wall partitions or chimneys, dead beehives and even rat or mouse poison baits. Infestations are often hard to locate because beetles and larvae can migrate far from the original food source. Damage is mainly caused by the larvae, which bore holes in materials, either as they feed or as they pupate.
Adult beetles are 5.5-10mm long black in colour, oval shaped and densely covered in hairs.
The larvae are up to 14mm long, dark brown banded with distinctive bristles, known as ‘woolly bears’.
The female lays up to 200 her eggs on materials such as hides and skins which are suitable for larval development. The eggs are white, 2mm long and often laid in the crevices of commodities. The larvae that hatch out in about 1 week will feed on almost any dry or decomposing material. They will occasionally feed on vegetable matter. During the larval stages they actively avoid light and if disturbed feign death by lying still, curling themselves up in the process. The speed of larval development depends upon conditions and may extend beyond a year. Generally the pupal stage is completed in 2-4 weeks and the full cycle in 2-12 months.
The first step in control is to trace the source of the infestation. This is usually obvious in commercial premises although it can be more obscure in domestic premises and can often be associated with dead rodents or old birds' nests. The most important control measure is to thoroughly clean all areas affected by Hide Beetles. All food debris must be cleared in and around food cupboards, cookers, refrigerators and all other areas of the kitchen and affected rooms. All foodstuffs affected must be disposed of. Good hygiene is the way to control these beetles. An integrated control program of cleaning and spraying with a broad spectrum residual insecticide will control most infestations.
Products to control Hide Beetle (Leather Beetle):
Cytrol 10/4 UF (500ml)
Cimetrol Super RFU (300ml)
Permost CS (500ml)