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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » Stored Product Insect and Engineering Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #297567

Title: Effect of diet and refugia on development of Dermestes maculatus DeGeer reared in a laboratory

item FONTENOT, EMILY - International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
item Arthur, Franklin
item Hartzer, Kris

Submitted to: Journal of Pest Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/17/2014
Publication Date: 2/23/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Fontenot, E.A., Arthur, F.H., Hartzer, K.L. 2015. Effect of diet and refugia on development of Dermestes maculatus DeGeer reared in a laboratory. Journal of Pest Science. 88(1):113-119. DOI:

Interpretive Summary: The hide beetle can infest a wide variety of stored food products, particularly protein based food and feed. Mass-rearing of this insect can be difficult due to variation in development with different food products, and cannibalism of different life stages. We conducted studies to evaluate different food products for growth and development of the hide beetle. Commercial dog food and protein based shake powders were the best diets for the hide beetle and supported development to the adult stage. Utilizing cork and wood as refugial sites for larvae enabled them to escape cannibalism by other larvae and adults. Results show the hide beetle can be mass-reared under laboratory conditions using commercial dog food and by providing the larvae with refuge sites to avoid loss due to cannibalism.

Technical Abstract: The hide beetle (Dermestes maculatus DeGeer) is a Dermestid beetle that can infest a wide variety of stored products, including pet foods and animal feeds, dried foods, and grains products with high protein content. Although there is published information concerning the biology and habits of D. maculatus, there are few studies that examine these factors in terms of mass-rearing for maintenance of laboratory cultures. Multiple experiments with factors such as diet type and amount, container size, refugia type and amount and effect of larval density were examined to assess methodologies that could be utilized in mass-rearing. Protein-rich diet sources such as commercial pet food, vanilla-flavored protein shake powder and bone meal provided adequate nutrition for D. maculatus and supported egg to adult development. Cannibalism by larvae and adults, especially on the pupae, is common but could be minimized by utilizing refugia for larvae to use as pupation sites. At greater larval densities, cork and wood refugia increased survival to the adult stage by nearly 50% by reducing cannibalization. Results show that D. maculatus can be mass-reared in the laboratory but the diet must have adequate protein content and precautions must be taken to reduce cannibalism.