Dermestidae Beetle Explained


Dermestidae Beetles, or dermestids, are called by many names. Dermestid comes from the Greek word dermis which means skin and is often referred to as skin beetle, flesh-eating beetle, carpet beetle, leather or hide beetle, khapra beetle, or carrion beetle.

These beetles are tiny, which grows to about 2 to 12 millimeters long. The males are usually shorter than the females. They come in black or brown colors with hairy covering. These beetles multiply through laying eggs, which hatch in meat or within its proximity. The larvae are also hairy and mostly brown with yellowish stripes. They have many uses and they also have various destructive roles.

The Good: Scientific Associates

Forensic laboratories, museum curators, taxidermists and scientific researchers have always turned to dermestids to help them skeletonize carcasses as specimens for evidence or collection. They are the preferred choice of experts in cleaning skeletons compared to their chemical counterparts because the latter can often cause damage on the bones, such as discoloration or marks that can unfavorably affect an evidence or museum display.

Colonies of these beetles are contained by experts for their scientific processes. After the beetles are used to eat the flesh from cadavers so that only bones and skeletons remain, the specimen is placed in a freezer so that the beetles will not escape and infest the rest of the laboratory.

The Bad & The Ugly: Household Pests

While they are of use in laboratories, they are destruction to many households. If one is not careful and these bugs get into a house, they can infest desiccated and organic substances like carpets, wood, things with feathers, furs, woolen fabrics, and similar materials. They can get into your clothing, upholstery or curtains.

Why are they in your house, in the first place? These unwanted beetles may be attracted to get in your house if a dead animal is present. When you see them in your home, check your interiors thoroughly. There might be a lifeless mouse or pest stuffed somewhere without your knowledge. Wasp nests, animal hair build-up, or food, especially meat, which is left out in the open may also invite these beetles into your home. Once you discover them, contact an exterminator to take care of the problem.