A relatively large (7-10mm) oval beetle, almost black but with a distinct pale band across the front of the wing-cases. The larvae are white after first hatching, but turn brown and are covered with tufts of bristly hair. They grow to 10-12mm long and occasionally tunnel into soft wood to pupate. The life cycle takes about three months.
Both beetle and larvae are scavengers, feeding on scraps of food – especially ham, bacon or cheese, or on dead mice or birds. They often enter houses from old birds’ nests.
Check lofts, eaves and odd neglected corners for corpses or nests. Destroy badly infested food and thoroughly clean the storage area. Spray with a household insecticide or use a puffer pack of insect powder to treat all cracks and crevices where fluff and debris may accumulate. Select a product labelled for stored product beetle control.