Cabinet beetle, museum beetle fight in the apartment

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Cabinet beetle, museum beetle fight in the apartment: apartment

Cabinet beetles, also known as museum beetles, have their name from the property that they can cause by their lifestyle and their feeding habits in the insect collections of museums great damage. But also in apartments nest the unloved pests, there to ruin carpets or furs.
The beetle's small, hairy larvae prefer to feed on hair and feathers. They are very small and hide well, so they are usually recognized very late.


  • scientific name: Anthrenus museorum
  • other names: museum beetle
  • belongs to the family of bacon beetles (Dermestidae)
  • Size: between 2.2 and 3.6 millimeters
  • Color: black, on the wing covers white to brown-yellow drawing
  • strongly rounded body shape
  • Larvae: up to 4 mm in length, light brown color, very hairy

Species and occurrence

Cabinet beetles are native to North Africa, Europe and Asia north of the Himalayas. They were introduced to North America and much of the world. Cabinet beetles are among the so-called cultural successors. This means that they live close to the human being because it provides them with good living conditions. The genus Anthrenus, to which the Cabinet Beetle belongs, is divided into six subgenera, many of which are classified as pests.

Distinguishing features of the museum beetle

The museum beetle is one of the smaller species among the bacon beetles with its body length of about two to three millimeters. His body also has a more rounded rather than oval shape. Overall, the beetle is predominantly dark (deep brown to black) colored. On the wing caps of the Anthrenus museorum are some bright scales striking. In addition, the neck shield in the outer area more bright drawings can be seen. Across the elytra, three wavy, blurred transverse lines run from ocher to yellow.
Its antennae end in a typical club shape (front thickening). The about four millimeters large, light brown larvae of museum bugs are very hairy. Like the other Anthrenus species, they have so-called arrow hair, which serve as a defense against predators.

Lifestyle and development

Cabinet beetles are at home in almost all climatic conditions. The adult museum beetles can be found from April to autumn, especially on the flowers of mountain ash and hawthorn, from whose pollen and nectar they feed. For oviposition, the female beetles choose bird nests, dead animals, stables or even human dwellings. The beetles are not particularly prolific, because the female lays only about 30-35 eggs. In warm weather, it takes about 10 days for the larvae to hatch and start eating immediately. How many stages the larvae undergo and what time they require depends on many external influences.
On average, there are about 10 larval stages. After that, the larva pupates and develops in about 7 days to the sexually mature beetle. A development cycle is between seven and 14 months, depending on the food supply and temperature. That is why usually only one generation of new generation is created each year. In contrast to their parents, the larvae of Kabinett beetles eat mainly the protein keratin, which occurs for example in hair, feathers or horn.


Like its relatives of the herbal flower beetle and the carpet beetle, the cabinet beetle is also counted among the typical material pests. Harmful are not the beetles themselves, only their larvae. If the larvae have a choice, they prefer to feed on dead insects. If these are not available in sufficient quantities, museum beetle larvae also love animal fibers and hair of all kinds. In flats, you can infest a wide range of animal products such as:
  • Wool
  • furs
  • leather
  • feathers
  • silk fabrics
Anthrenus dermatitis
The arrowhead hairs of the tiny larvae of Anthrenus museorum can cause damage to the health of humans and animals. On the skin and in the respiratory organs, these hairs can cause bad allergies. Thus, it may happen that residents of an apartment that is infected with the museum beetle larvae, develop a dermatitis with severe itching.

Where are the larvae to be found?

Mostly the beetles and their larvae hide well. The larvae are light-shy and therefore usually found in dark corners. Sometimes you can find the adult beetles on the windowsill.
  • under carpets
  • in board scores and behind baseboards
  • in wardrobes
  • in the bed box
  • in bird nests
Who cleans his apartment regularly thoroughly and airs well, creates unfavorable conditions for an infestation with the museum beetle. Therefore, this measure is by far the best prevention against museum beetle.Especially owners of strong hairy pets, fur coats and real carpets are at risk. Even lesser-used attics or cellars, in which dead beetles or mice lie, provide a good food base.
  • ensure a cool, dry environment in the apartment (air regularly)
  • Move the furniture slightly away from the wall for better air circulation
  • if airing in the evening: switch off the light!
  • Regularly remove feathers, animal hair and dead insects
  • Wash or clean textiles or carpets before placing them in storage.
  • Remove bird nests (abandoned) near the house
  • Hang cedar wood rings or lavender flowers (up to three weeks protection)

skin beetles

In an infestation, various measures can be helpful. Anything that can not be cleaned (such as cracks in the floor and wall) can be sprayed with a contact poison such as pyrethrum. For garments, a normal machine wash at over 55° C or dry cleaning will help to kill the larvae.
  • Carpets: knocking (outside the house)
  • Upholstery, curtains and carpets: brush, tap or vacuum (if possible wash)
  • Textiles: wash, brush, pat or iron.
  • Skins or furs: pack in plastic bag and freeze and thaw several times (fast). In winter, put things outside, otherwise in the freezer.
Tip: To avoid irritation and allergic reactions to the skin and the respiratory tract, gloves, dust mask and long-sleeved clothing should always be worn when rugs or textiles are shaken or tapped outside!
If insecticides are used indoors, they should be carefully selected. Many products are harmful to human health. Active ingredients such as fossil plankton or silica damage the waxy layer of the beetle and larva and cause dehydration and death. These preparations are safe for humans and animals. If it is a very serious infestation with the cabinet beetle, health problems occur or you are not the plague Lord, you should ask at an early stage, a professional pest controller for advice.
The larvae of the museum beetle are among the material pests. Since they feed almost exclusively on the animal protein keratin, which is found in hair, horn and feathers, it is helpful to leave as few of these substances lying around in the apartment as possible. Frequent cleaning and airtight packaging of skins or fur coats can have a preventative effect.

Worth knowing about the museum beetle soon

In nature, the museum beetle is not a pest. Rather, it helps with the removal of animal carcasses, which in itself is a very useful matter. However, if the museum beetle comes close to humans, it quickly becomes a material and hygienic pest. Here are the larvae the problem. They are endowed with long hairs at the end of their body that can lead to allergies in humans. The adult beetles feed on bee pollen and nectar, while the larvae need the protein keratin, which is found in hair, horn and feathers.
  • The name Museum Beetle comes from his predilection for causing great damage to insect repellant and stuffed animals in museums.
  • In apartments and houses the museum beetle is often seen at the window in spring.
  • Inside the apartment you will find larvae in bed-boxes and clothing chests, rarely in skirting boards.
Fighting the larvae
  • Since the larvae pose the greatest danger, they must be fought sustainably.
  • However, larvae are produced by adult beetles, so you should make sure that they do not get into the apartment.
  • The control of the larvae is feasible with different means. Most contact insecticides are used.
  • They are available in spray form and are applied directly to the affected areas.
The museum beetles can be very well controlled by plant resources, which brings a certain harmlessness to humans and pets.
  • Use finds Pyrethrum extract, which is won from Chrysanthemen.
  • The extract is extremely effective and it comes in a short time for the death of insects.
  • Subsequently, the active ingredient decomposes on incidence of light.
  • The pyrethrum first has an exciting effect on the larvae.
  • After that, there are coordination disorders and paralysis, followed soon afterwards by death.
  • Even more natural is tea tree oil and neem oil. This also has a lethal effect on the larvae of the museum beetle.
Which poison is used depends on the overall circumstances of the infestation. If the population lives in an uninhabited house, harder means can be resorted to from the outset. In addition, care must be taken to how strong the infestation is. However, in line with the abundance of resources, there should be no problem identifying what is right for one's own needs.

Video Board: Beetles, Mites, Cockroaches Oh My! [Insect Collection Tour].

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