View Full Version : How do I get rid of a larder beetle infestation?

Lady Counselor
Jun. 19, 2010, 10:32 AM
Argh! I'm at my wit's end here. I've been in my barn 12 years now. We finished off the tack/feed room and built in a tightly fitted grain bin. It has 4 compartments, two lids that fit closely, and in the 12 years I've used it, I've never had a problem.
It's made of wood, not lined with anything.
About 4 weeks ago, I was running low on one type of grain, so I stopped at my local Blue Seal sub-dealer for one bag. I've never had an issue with freshness with them, and they have an Agway, so it seems like their stock rotates pretty regularly.
The sub dealers all buy from one main distributor here, one I frequent normally.
A day after I put this bag into it's compartment in my grain bin, I saw a couple of small beetles on the top, mottled black and brown.
I would later learn these rotten little bastards are called "larder beetles", and are commonly found in infested pet food, but will eat grain based foods.
At the time, in ignorance, I simply scooped them out and didn't think much of it.
The next day there were more. Same deal, scooped them out, wondered how they got there, but didn't dump everything out. Dammit.
Well they spread like crazy. Suddenly, they were in all the feed bins (the partitions don't go all the way to the lid).
Now I finally pulled everything out, threw away all the grain (over $100 worth) vaccumed the bin thoroughly, and sprayed the hell out of it with a beetle killer spray (which I was not happy to do, but couldn't see how else to kill them all, and get any eggs)
I bought fresh grain, and fed it out from the bags while the bins sat. I saw no beetles in the bags.
I re-vaccumed, re-sprayed, repeated the process. Then I scrubbed them out 3x, first with Murphy's, then dish soap twice, followed by one last vaccuming.
No sign of bugs in the bins.
Waited a week after the last scrubbing, then put grain back in. I bought a fresh batch to go in the bins, being as I had used up the bags and was going away for a few days and wanted enough grain to last. I left the grain in the bags, tops rolled down tight. The person taking care of the horses was also supposed to roll them down tightly.
That was a week ago.
I came back Thursday, saw no issues.
Today, I had several more of the little *&^# in one of the freshly opened bags that had the top rolled down as tight as I could get it, and some in a bag of sweet in the other bin.
This time I pulled everything immediately and tossed it, then vaccumed and re-sprayed. The grain that didn't show signs of contamination went into my old plastic stack 'n store bins for now.
How do I get rid of these for good without poisening my horses in the process?
Any thoughts as to whether or not they are still coming in from the grain (all of which has came from the main dealer) or if I have an infestation of my own now?
I know they can get into minute cracks, hence the vaccuming and toxic spraying. (which freaks me out to have to do that, I really, really don't like having to use chemicals anywhere near my feed)
I'm thinking I may need to caulk/seal all seams in the bins. I'm not sure if I can line them with any kind of plastic or tin.
Can I use any sort of sticky trap?
I have been thinking of placing a fresh bag into a clean, sealed plastic container and waiting to see if any bugs appear. Not sure if that's a definative way to find out if I have the problem or it's still coming in.
I'm spraying my tack/feed room too.
I told the main dealer about these originally and they were going to tell the sub dealer, and to let him know he had a problem.
At this point, I am not sure what to do about that. It's starting to cost a fair amount of money and labor here. Should I call them and tell them what is going on? I'm not trying to point fingers, but to be honest, I am starting to wonder if they have a problem in their warehouse as well.
Any help is greatly appreciated!

Jun. 19, 2010, 10:40 AM
I would call your dealer to let them know what's going on. Could be a problem with the main distributor or even a problem at the mill.

As far as lining your grain bins.... at my barn, the bins are lined with fiberglass.

Find a guy that does fiberglass decks, shower pans or boat repairs. They'll be able to do it for you. It's wonderful having a seamless, non-porous lining for the bin. Very easy to clean and no problem with bugs (even in our humid summers).

Jun. 19, 2010, 11:23 AM
Try this stuff; http://www.killtheroach.com/pages/homepestcontrol.html

Silicone caulking would seal the bin.

Jun. 21, 2010, 11:33 AM
I can almost guarantee they are coming in with the grain. I was a pest control tech for many years and know it is almost impossible to get rid of pantry pests once they are established in a facility. That means in your premises or the store where you purchase the products or the place the products are manufactured or stored. Unless you can keep new feed in airtight containers while you battle the bugs in your feed bin you'll never know if you are bringing in new bugs or not. Personally, having been a pest tech for so long I would never choose a wooden container to keep my grain in. I use large plastic containers and have, over the years, had pests come and go but none have been able to become entrenched. The proliferation of pantry pests in pet food is why we recommend that pet food NOT be stored where you store your people food. Always store dry pet food in another room if possible. I keep my pet food in bins in the laundry room of my home. All of my horse feed is kept in a feed room outside near the barn.