IntroductionDermestes Lardarius is commonly known as the larder beetle or the bacon beetle.Larder beetles are common all throughout North America.Larder beetles were a common pest of lard shops and meat shops.Now larder beetles are more commonly find in homes.They are usually found around lamps,lights and windows.Life CycleLarder beetles,like all beetles go through complete metamorphisis.Complete Metemorphisis has four life stages.Egg,Larvae,Pupae and adult.Adults mate and males will soon die.Females at this time avoid lighted areas and search for a suitable food source.If however no food source is found the female beetle will lay her eggs under cloths,carpets,pillows,old mattresses and of course in and under old couches.Eggs take anywhere from 7-21 days to hatch,this of course depends on tempature and humidity.Once the eggs hatch into larvae,the larvae begin to do either one of these two things:1-Begin eating the food source their mother laid their eggs on.Or2-Begin to search for a suitable food source and begin eating.Larvae go through a series of moults and instars,each instar increasing in size and growing darker.If for whatever reason during the larvae stage a larvae can't find anymore food they continue to moult but grow smaller with each sucseesful moult.Larvae go through 5 if male and 6 if females.Once a larvae is fully grown[Anywhere from 3/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch.] they begin to wounder or migrate away from their food source.This is often the time homeowners find the larvae either in their beds or sometimes in the bathroom.This min invasion can last anywhere from a week to a month.Once a larvae finds a suitable place to pupuate[They often burrow short distances into wood,lead,cork or drywall to pupate.] they either lose their last larvae skin or pupate within the last larvae skin.A pupae is creamy white and only moves if provoct.It darkens with age.In about a week or two an adult beetle emerges to start the cycle all over again.Adults can live anywhere from 1-3 months or to a year.The total life cycle takes anywhere from 45-190+ days.Keeping Dermestes Lardarius In CaptivityOkay so i thought i'd go into more detail on how to keep and raise Dermestids. Part 1-Making The Perfect Inclosure. Making The inclosure is often one of the most fun and injoyable things to do when raising dermestids.You will need some supplies though. Matierals Scissors Duct Tape Screen Container [Can be anything from a sandwhich container to a 20 gallon rubbermaid tub.I'll talk about this more in depth later.] Egg Cartons/Crates/Papertowel rolls[Depending on what you perfer to use.] Steps Okay so first step is to cut a hole [depends on the size of the container but i'd suggest a hole the size of the middle and leave 1 inch on each side or so.] Now duct tape the screen over the hole[On Both Sides of the lid.] Next up is to add the Egg Cartons/Crates/Papertowel rolls.I suggest added the Egg Cartons/Crates verticle [If you have the space.]If not just stacking on onto another works just as well.]If you stack them verticle the frass[Poop] falls to the floor of the inclosure. Now That you have Your inclosure made time to talk about what sizes fits how many dermestids. From a sandwhich container to a 10 by 10 cage:These will fit around 100-400 dermestids. 12 by 12 cage To a 10 gallon-These hold 500-1500 dermestids. 12 Gallon t0 a 20 gallon-This will hold 1600-3000+. 20+gallon-These hold about 5000-10 000 dermestids. I recomend starting small and working your way up seems way more injoyable then just getting 2000.I personally started my dermestid Colony from a single gravid female that i Called Eve. In the next Tutorial i will talk about food/water requirements for Dermestids Here is Part 2! BTW i actually make these posts on my blog i'm too lazy to repost them so i copy and paste them if your intreasted here is my blog: http://dermestidfiles.blogspot.com/
Part 2-Food And Water Requirments. Dermestids,like all living organisms must eat and drink to stay alive and healthy.Here is just a few of the things i have tried that seem to work out well: Cat food/Dog food Goldfish crackers[makes them go insane and grow rapidly.] Fish flakes/Fish pellets Reptile bites/pellets Amphipian Pellets I have also made a tuturial on how to make Dermestid Chow Which can be found here: http://dermestidfiles.blogspot.com/2009/12/dermestid-chow.html
All i do is place a little bit of food on one side of the inclosure [Tips for making an inclosure can be found here:http://dermestidfiles.blogspot.com/2009/12/dermestid-carepart-1-making-perfect.html ] as then the larvae and adults [which can't climb food dishes] can get to the food and eat/lay eggs in it.When your colony gets so big they eat all their food in one day make a food dish.Here is how i made mine: Take one of those dishes that you get from take out at a pizza place.Clean it out with hot water and dry it.Cut to holes one on each side with a nife.I make it so some food falls out.Now the dermestids can just eat out of the food dish.If your colony gets to big for this method,do the same thing just with a bigger container with a lid. Now for water Requirements. If your scared of the babies dying in water then i suggest using water gel or cricket orange cub stuff.Don't worry if they dry out they stll eat them.If you don't have gel then a piece of papertowel that is moistened a bit but will go dry in about 10 hours or so.I've heard from others that you will never see your colony as active as after a light misting. Well there you have it thats Part 2 of Dermestid Care. In Part 3 We will talk about General Maintence Of Your Dermestid Colony! -koolkid Dermestid Care:Part 3 General Maintence Of Your Colony Once your dermestid colony is established you'll need to know about maintaining your colony.Usually maintence is only required once a week or so.Big maintence is only needed every 3-6 months.First we'll talk about Weekly Maintence. Weekly Maintence All you need to do weekly is check up on your colony and check on food/water.If you are on of the people who mists the papertowel you should do this once a week.If you use gel just check out the water gel and if it seems like it's lowering fast,add more.Now if the food is low add more food.If your one of those neat freaks[which is totally not needed!~] you can take out any of the dead beetles/larvae.If not forget about it they were ment to eat dead insects so if you leave on a trip and an hour later you think "damn i should have fed them!"no worries your covered!Next up is Big Maintence! Big Maintence This is only done 3-6 months but can be done every 9-12 months.I perfer every 3 months just to keep the inclosure a little bit clean.This comes in steps.I'll explain each step individually so it's easier to get it done! Cleaning out the Dermestidarium! The first step in Big Maintence!All you have to do is try to get all the beetles/larvae into a diffrent "holding container" then dump the frass into a ice cream pale and start sifting with the smallist sifter you have.You are likely to lost a few smallish larvae so do the sifting over the ice cream pail.Once you have most of the colony sifted add them into the holding container.Next take out the egg flats/crates/papertowel rolls and add them too into the holding container. Now take hot water and wash out the inclosure for 3-5 minutes.[DON'T USE SOAP!] if you use food dishes clean these out the same way. Drying the inclosure. I thought this diserved it's own part as there is many diffrent ways to dry your inclosure.The first is with papertowel.You want the inclosure as dry as possible.Same rules apply for the food dishes.Next method is use an old wash cloth that is dry and do the same thing for both the inclosure and the food dishes.Once dry it's now ready for the next step! Making the inclosure as good as new! Okay now that you have a clean inclosure add the hides and food into the food dish or how you had the food last time.Next add more water gel or a papertowel misted once.Wait for about 10 minutes before adding them back into their Dermestidarium.Then add them back to their home! Making multiple colonies! Now lets say you have about 100-1000 dermestids,You should think about setting up another inclosure. This is because setting up multi colonies can save your life in the long run.I'd suggest having 2-6 colonies going at once just in case one dies then you still have another one to replace it. Well that concludes part 3 of the Dermestid Care!If you have any more questions or think i left something out p.m me or add a comment on my forum!
Hope this helps.