• Call (800) 479-6583
  • Mon-Fri 8am-5pm
  • |
  • Sat 9am-5pm

How to Control Hide BeetlesHow To Control Hide Beetles

Don’t let the name confuse you, hide beetles aren’t named as such because they like to hide. Though they do a good job of hiding, when you’re trying to look for them, they are named hide beetles because of their affinity to feast on dead animal hides. That is also why they are alternatively called skin beetles or leather beetles. These beetles are not a pretty sight as they usually are black, bumpy and warty.

Hide beetles have a ferocious appetite for flesh and hair and as such, they are used in forensics when there is a dead body that needs bones to be cleaned for examination. While they can be a help on that front, if they make way into your home looking for things to feed on, this can cause a considerable problem. Luckily, we here at Solutions Pest and Lawn know about this species of beetle and how to properly treat a hide beetle infestation.

Hide Beetle Background Information

Hide beetles(Dermestes maculatus) belong to the family of beetles known as trogidae. They are found throughout the world, mostly in dry environments. Adult hide beetles are almost completely black with a white underside. Adult beetles can range in size between 5-10mm with the larvae being longer (up to ½ an inch). Hide beetle larvae are reddish-brown to black in color and is slender and hairy.

Hide beetles are quite talented. In the larval stage, these pests can drill into wood, cork and wool materials to pupate. In the adult stage, they have wings and can fly and can also eat through practically any material. Hide beetles are primarily attracted to decaying or rotting flesh but also enjoy meats, pet foods, and cheese.

An interesting fact about hide beetles is that they are often used by forensic crews In suicide and homicide cases. The beetles feed on human remains helping investigators estimate the time of death of bodies that have been charred in a fire or otherwise mangled. Rather than through chemical means, hide beetles are used to clean flesh and hair off of bones for investigation. As awesome as that sounds, you wouldn’t want these little monsters in your home.

How To Get Rid of Hide Beetles: Solutions 4 Step ProcessHide Beetle

Step 1: Identification. You need to first make sure that the insect you are encountering is, in fact, a hide beetle. Adult hide beetles are between 5.5 to 10.0 millimeters long with a black body and banded white hair on each side as you can see from the images we have posted. On its underside, the hide beetle is mostly white with black spots. Its antennae are short and clubbed at the tip.

If for any reason you are not sure that the bug you are seeing is a hide beetle, pull out your phone and snap a picture of it and email the image to us at identification@solutionsstores.com. We have entomologists on staff who can promptly identify the pest and respond back to you with the correct pest ID as well as some control product recommendations.


Step 2: Once you have confirmed that you are dealing with hide beetles, the next step is to conduct a home inspection. Track down and note where the beetles are coming from. Find where they are feeding, be it in your food sources, in animal hides, carpeting, furniture, or any other area which may need to be sanitized. Places in the home that are rarely used may also be hotspots where you can find these beetles, for instance, the attic or basement.

If you find an item or area that is infested, discard of the item immediately and perform a serious sanitation procedure. Belongings that are infested which you wish to keep should be covered in plastic and placed outside the home. Wash and dry any infested clothing immediately and toss out any food which they have gotten into and contaminated since hide beetle larvae possess hairs which can upset the digestive tract.


Step 3: A good sanitation may be enough to ward off hide beetles but if you have a particularly large infestation, we suggest laying out a combination of insecticides and traps. An aerosol spray like Pyrid Aerosol can be a quick killer of these problematic pests.


Step 4: Once the hide beetle infestation has been eliminated, make sure they don't come back by monitoring your home semi-regularly and keeping a good sanitation routine, especially in those rooms of the home that are not often used.


Control Hide Beetles

Tips for Hide Beetle Control

When you have hide beetles in your home, it may be an indication that there is something in the home that may be rotting like perhaps a dead rodent between the walls, in the roof-space or the chimney. Scanning your home and disposing of it can be a natural form of getting rid of hide beetles. Hide beetles can also scavenge around places in the home that are rarely used like the attic or the basement.


Treating hide beetles through chemical means is simple once you know where to treat. Hide beetles is easy once you know where to treat. Scan your home closely to figure out where they are feeding, be it in your food storage, on animal hides, carpeting, furniture, or any other place that can potentially be unclean. Depending the the level of infestation, we have a variety of options we recommend for hide beetle control.


Solutions Recommendations For Hide Beetles

Hide Beetle Traps

These are a good way to catch hide beetles since they can be quite difficult to search around for. Place a trap like Pro-Pest Pantry Moth & Beetle Traps or X-lure Beetle Floor Trap in rooms where activity is suspected along with surrounding rooms just for added protection. These contain pheromones which should lure hide beetles and you can then easily dispose of them.


Aerosol Spray for Hide Beetles

For a small hide beetle infestation or if you are in an area with close quarters, an aerosol spray works great to control hide beetles. We recommend using Bedlam Aerosol  or EcoPCO ACU Contact Aerosol.  The good thing about these sprays is that they can also treat various other bugs that you may encounter in the home. Spot treat areas you suspect may have hide beetle activity and apply quarterly to work as a barrier to hide beetles and other insects.


Liquid Insecticides for Hide Beetles

For larger areas or infestations a professional-grade liquid insecticide will work best to control hide beetles like Tempo SC Ultra. This is a highly effective liquid insecticide and the active ingredient can continue to control hide beetles for several weeks.


Hide beetles may be a difficult pest to deal with in the home but they can be controlled with the right product, a little bit of patience and persistence. Browse our hide beetle products below and as always, feel free to email us or give us a call and one of our knowledgeable representatives to further assist you with your order or with any pest problems you have.


Learn More About Hide BeetlesLearn more about Hide Beetles


Hide beetles are a small dark-colored beetle species.  Adult hide beetles range between 5-10 mm and may be either colored dark brown or black. They have exceptional flying abilities and are attracted to filth such as rotting flesh and dead meat.


Hide beetles are known to make their way into pantries and nest in packaged goods such as pet food or cheese. It’s not uncommon to find them in a butcher shop flying around to get of taste of meat hanging such as hams and sausage. While adult hide beetles enjoy these types of food, it’s the hide beetle larvae which are the ones with the large appetites.


A female adult hide beetle will search for a sufficient amount of food to eat so they will be well fed to lay eggs. Under favorable conditions, hide beetle eggs will hatch within 48 hours. Hide beetle larvae then emerge from the eggs and will begin to hunt for food which is usually in close proximity to them since females tend to lay eggs close to a food source.


The hide beetle larvae will have a ferocious appetite and will eat and eat and eat until they are ready to go into pupation and transition into adulthood. In order to satisfy their hunger, hide beetles can chew and drill there way through almost anything to get to the food they seek. The duration of hide beetle feeding may be as short as a month to as long as 8 months depending on factors like temperature, humidity and the food sources available.


Once larvae are satisfied, they'll cease eating and locate a protected area on which to pupate. This could either be in a small hole or crevice, behind some sort of siding or on a tree. Larvae can bite into wood and have been known to be quite destructive toward homes and structures during their travels to discover a safe spot to pupate.


Hide beetle pupa will take possibly 14 days to completely transition into adults. This procedure could be postponed if the temperature is cool or other climate factors. Whenever done, they will rise as a frenzied adult hide beetle that is averse to light.

Hide BeetleAdult Hide Beetle Lifespan


Adult hide beetles are great flyers and will mostly to their flying around nightfall for the purposes of finding a mate to reproduce. Males will be chasing females, which can start egg laying in as little as a week, and females are always seeking good food supplies on which to lay eggs.


Female hide beetles can lay hundreds upon thousands of eggs in their lifespan. As mentioned earlier, these female hide beetles often make sure to place their eggs close to a food item that a hide beetle larvae can consume upon hatching from the egg.



Hide Beetle Eating Habits

Hide beetles are a vital component to the animal life cycle. By devouring both flesh and bone, hide beetles help through the decomposition process.


Hide beetles can become an annoying pest when they enter into homes and different structures. Barnyards, poultry houses, sheds, dog kennels and other facilities where creatures are kept appear to regularly be targeted by hide beetles. They appear to lean toward eating rotting meat yet hide beetles will gladly eat whatever they can find in the form of animal skins, cowhide, mats, sleeping pads and clothes when choices are limited. They can live on hats, animal fabrics and pretty much anything which utilizes animal parts, for example, hair, skin or hide (hence the name).


Hide beetles are even known to infiltrate museums, taxidermists and butcher shops. Ranches where there are livestock are another most loved area as are zoos and even animal shelters. Hide beetles have been discovered living on animals themselves.


Sick dogs and other animals and wildlife which are sick can all wind up being a target of this bug. Their little size can make them hard to detect where they are present. When left to their devices, they can cause significant damage and can even cause death through their eating habits.

How To Approach Hide Beetle Treatment

Treatment for hide beetles can be a simple task to tackle if you know the areas where they are active. If you noticed hide beetle damage, we recommend inspecting the entire room as well as other parts of the home to try and see how severe of an infestation you have.


Treatment options will depend on just how significant the hide beetle problem might be. With hide beetles, it’s always better to treat more then only what you see them eating.


Trapping Hide Beetles

A good way to find out just how active they might be is to set out hide beetle traps. These should be placed in rooms where you have seen hide beetles present as well as in adjacent rooms to ensure that they will be nabbed if they travel out of the room.


After placing the traps, wait between 1-2 weeks and then check the traps to see if any have been caught. If you happen to find a large number of beetles on a trap placed in one room but only a small number in surrounding rooms then you will be able to pinpoint where the main problem is when moving to the insecticide spraying phase of control. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat all the rooms with insecticide but you’ll know where you should place emphasis when you spray.


Laying out traps is a good task to conduct as a extra measure that will protect you from hatching eggs you will not be able to plainly see. For example, if you have a small throw rug or animal skin which has activity, it’s best to assume larva may have moved to other parts of the home. By only treating the rug, you could allow other stages of hide beetle close to continue infesting the rest of your home and increasing the problem.


Our Top Aerosol Recommendations for Hide Beetles

When it comes to spray treating for hide beetles, this should be determined based on how severe the hide beetle infestation is and the range of areas involved.

Small sheds, taxidermy shops and small rooms won’t need a lot of material and can be maintained with an aerosol known as Novacide Flea & Tick Killer. This product is water based and commonly fleas and ticks but can also be used for a large number of different nuisance household pests.


We recommend Novacide because it also contains an insect growth regulator which can control the hide beetle eggs and prevent them from hatching.


Go ahead and spray Novacide on baseboards, carpeting, wood flooring, finished taxidermy like mounted animals, drapery, furniture, area rugs and pretty much any kind of hide or fabric. Treat these areas every few months to make sure you have a preventative barrier; once a month when treating an active infestation.


If the rooms with activity have a lot of cracks or crevices, you’ll need to inject aerosol into these tight spaces since migrating larvae love to use them for pupation. The best aerosol for spot treating is Pyrid Aerosol. This product is unique in that it goes on “dry” and is mostly odorless.


Pyrid is great for use around windows, molding, under baseboards and for directly treating animal mounts.


Insecticide Treatment To Prevent Hide Beetles


For larger areas, it may be better to use an insecticide concentrate rather than an aerosol which will be costly to keep replacing and using up cans. We recommend Reclaim IT insecticide. This is a potent insecticide killer and repellent and you can place it around cracks, crevices, along the baseboard and pretty much around the opens along the perimeter of your house to keep hide beetles out.

Be sure to apply the spray with a good handheld sprayer. We have a number of great sprayers available in our store which are both durable and comprised of high-quality parts so it will last for many years. Plus the selection of nozzles that comes with it will enable you to make the proper treatment successfully without wasting chemicals or making a mess.


Additional Hide Beetle Control Resources:

hide beetle - Dermestes maculatus DeGeer (University of Florida)

Hide and larder beetles - Insects in the City (Texas A&M Agrilife Extension)

Hide Beetle Dermestes maculatus - Museum Pests

Contact Us