Monday, November 12, 2012

Tiny, Shiny, Reddish-Brown Beetles - Spider Beetles

spider beetle, shiny, hump-backed, reddish-brown
These tiny beetles are fairly uncommon but because they resemble mites or even bed bugs they get a lot of reaction from homeowners when they are found.
Spider beetles are small (1.5 - 4mm), shiny, hump-backed, reddish-brown beetles that are considered to be minor stored product pests (infest stored foods and natural fabrics). They are usually not a major problem in homes but can damage museum collections of animals and dried insects. These beetles are especially common in older buildings.

On first sight people sometimes mistakenly identify spider beetles as mites or bed bugs. They are of course completely unrelated to either of these critters.

The majority of questions I get about spider beetles come from New York City but these beetles occur in other regions of the country as well. There are at least three species that can be found in homes.

Since spider beetles are general scavengers they can infest a wide variety of organic debris so finding a few beetles is generally not a reason for concern. Cleaning and food source elimination is usually enough to manage the infestation. Insecticides are not needed nor are they very effective in this case.

Identification and control tips for a wide variety of other household pests can be found at our main site LivingWithBugs and DIY pest control supplies, including traps and baits, can be found here.