I'm adding this to Household Pests as quite honestly, I don't know what this is! I've not seen one of these before that I ever recall, they're pretty interesting looking things. Anyway I live in 20 yr old maisonette flats, on 2nd floor. My 2 cats are house cats and don't go out, so it's not something they've brought in. I checked the cats over and there was nothing on them, nor did they seem to be interested or fazed by seeing one of these creatures on the stairs!
I found the first one of these probably in the spring, March/April time on the stair carpet. Didn't seem to move around very much until I disturbed it and then it moved fairly rapidly across the sheet of paper I picked it up on! I found a few up until probably early August then I haven't seen any since then, possibly seasonal but possibly because I then hoovered the life out of the carpet It's a synthetic carpet, could be a few years old as it was here when I moved in 2 years ago. The most of these I found was 3 in one week - I didn't kill them, just took them downstairs and outside to the grass area. There was a damp problem late last year in my kitchen due to plumbing problems and ensuing flooding, but I didn't find them in that area so don't think they're related to that. There were none in any other area of the property apart from the hallway stair carpet.
They were all between 10-15mm long, striped shiny back with long hairs, and 2 barbs/spines at the rear. Anyone have a clue what these are, if I'm likely to find them again and what I should do? (If they cause a long-term problem I'd prefer to find an eco-friendly solution to removing them)
Ah yes, thanks very much! A quick look on Wikipedia identifies the larder beetle grub: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Larder_beetle_grub.jpg which is the same as my pics above.
Thinking about it I've seen 2 of the adults, probably around the same time, and this was in the kitchen - but due to it being summer and the windows were open I had just assumed they were an unrelated outdoor bug. However the grubs were only on the stair carpets (opposite side of house) so it's possible these were carried on the cats' fur etc. I keep the cat food in packets on the highest surface and haven't seen anything there, and I'm vegetarian so that's the only thing they'll find to eat in my house! LOL.
Anyway as I said I checked and cleaned the cats regularly because of seeing these things and I'll continue to do so. I haven't seen any of these grubs since August so I'm either due another life cycle, or I caught them all. I'll remove that stair carpet just to make sure, as it won't be missed
They do sound like sturdy little things; I'm reading that diatomaceous earth is effective to clear them so I may try that if I see any again, failing that it's recommended to use pyrethroid insecticides which I don't really want due to having pets in the house.
It's a good idea to keep the kitty food well out of reach, as you are doing, and being a vegetarian will help a great deal, but they're resourceful little mites and some species will even chew through wood. They'll eat most kinds of animal protein, including cheese, but in the outside world many of them have a preference for dead or very sickly animals, so your cats are safe as long as they keep moving about a bit
Oddly enough, having mentioned that museum staff sometimes use them to clean skulls etc, I just found this:
I can understand your reluctance to use pesticides, so it might be worth trying to eliminate any overlooked potential food sources first.
This link suggests a few that might not necessarily be in the larder
I wish you all the best in evicting them. I'm glad you posted that as it's been very interested learning about them
Thanks for those links - very interesting stuff indeed! I'm not your typical scared-of-bugs girl so I always examine anything I find before carefully letting it free outside Funnily enough I was at the NHM just last week (brilliant place) and saw something there about them using dermestes to clean skulls for preparation but didn't recognise them. Find it intriguing that the grubs have that pair of spines at the rear and hairs all over, quite a lot of defence for larvae!
I've just bought some big plastic containers to put the dried cat food in (the pouches are well sealed and they get used quickly so not kept around too long, the dried stuff lasts longer and is just in cardboard boxes so that will be the obvious one to watch). Though the life cycle of dermestes is fairly short one of those links say 'it is not unusual to have only one life cycle per year in some places' so I'll keep my eyes open all year round in that case!
Thanks again for your help
We do indeed use Dermestes larvae for de-fleshing and cleaning skeletal material and you can see these industrious larvae at work on our beetle cam:
If you are looking to make a home made dermestarium I would recomend you invest (not a heavy investment) in a tank of woodlice as these also clean skulls and bones quite effectively.
Pleased that there is another Larel & Hardy fan out there