The shiny spider beetle is a small beetle from the family Ptinidae and is a food product pest. The larvae will chew through food packaging in most dry food. This particular beetle cannot fly. The shiny spider beetle will play dead by pulling its legs up into its body when bothered. It can tolerate cool conditions and live for long periods without nourishment. Old houses are the most likely place to find shiny spider beetles in large numbers.
Shiny Spider Beetle Identification
Shiny spider beetles have long legs and large, round abdomens, which makes them resemble little spiders. The head, thorax, legs, antennae, and abdomen are the same reddish color. The shiny spider beetle’s wing covers give it the appearance of a large red mite with a hump. When viewed from above, the shiny spider beetle appears to be headless as its head is hidden underneath the body.
The larvae of the shiny spider beetle are off-white and “c” shaped with light brown heads.
Shiny Spider Beetle Habitat and Food Source
The shiny spider beetle can be found in United States and Canada. Spider beetles scavenge on animal and plant material. They are often found in infested food with other food storage beetles feeding on the carcasses of dead insects they encounter within infested food. Shiny spider beetles infest food and spoil it by leaving body parts, fecal matter, and pupal cases in it.
Shiny spider beetles hide during the day in dark areas like crevices and between food packaging. They are most active at night or in dark areas and in cooler temperatures. They tend to be more active towards the perimeter of a pile of food rather than the center of it. Foods that have been heavily infested will be full of tiny exit holes from spider beetle larvae and their silken pupal cocoons.
In some instances, the shiny spider beetle has been found in bird and rat nests feeding on dead animal carcasses. When they run out of food in an abandoned nest they will migrate into the building supporting the nest. They also like to feed on woolen material, old paper, and unusual substances, such as opium and tallow.
Shiny Spider Beetle Life Cycle
A female shiny spider beetle usually lays eggs in lesser numbers than other spider beetle species. She deposits eggs on food. When they hatch, the larvae eat their surroundings and grow. As they feed, they spin webbing made of silk. As they ready for the adult stage of the life cycle, the larvae spin cocoons made of silken material. Adults have stayed in cocoons for a couple of days before emerging to mate. The life cycle of a shiny spider beetle usually live for only ten months on average. Once inside an infested food product, the larvae pupate with cocoons in spherical shapes. Adult shiny spider beetles can live several months to a year.
Shiny Spider Beetles and Humans
Shiny spider beetles are often confused with bed bugs, but unlike the bed bug, shiny spider beetles do not bite humans. The harm they do is in spoiling food products in bakeries, homes, hotels, and warehouses.
Shiny Spider Beetle Control
Shiny Spider Beetle Identification: Contact a pest management professional to help identify if the insects invading your home are indeed shiny spider beetles. A pest management professional can also aid in locating the root of the infestation and finding likely moisture issues that have been contributing to making a hospitable environment for shiny spider beetles.
Bait and Insecticide: To help locate the food source for these pesky bugs, an exterminator might first set sticky traps or monitors in the area the shiny spider beetles seem to be congregating in. To get complete control of an infestation of shiny spider beetles, it may be best to apply insecticide such as a synthetic pyrethroid. A liquid version should be applied where adult shiny spider beetles are visibly active. An aerosol insecticide should be used where shiny spider beetles are hiding in cracks and crevices. An insecticidal dust can be used inside walls and void spaces where the pests hide out of sight.
Removal of Shiny Spider Beetles: A pest control professional can use a vacuum to remove shiny spider beetle carcasses, eggs, and larvae and sanitize the area with a disinfecting spray.
DIY and Green Solutions for Shiny Spider Beetle Control
Inspect it! A close inspection of items under suspicion of infestation and removal of these items may solve your bug problem immediately since many times shiny spider beetle populations are small. The silken webbing spun by shiny spider beetle larvae is your first clue to where you have an infestation.
Throw it out! Because the shiny spider beetle is able to feed on such a wide variety of items, from wool to bat droppings, locating infested materials and foodstuffs and disposing of it outside the home is the first and most important step to shiny spider beetle management. As with all stored-product pests, all efforts should be made to wrap food tightly before throwing it into outside trashcans with snug fitting lids to discourage re-entry into the home.
Plug those leaks! Fixing moisture and mold issues is vital to the prevention of further infestations. Plumbing leaks are often the source of mildew and damp conditions in the home. Make sure your bath traps have access doors for inspections since moisture is likely to collect in them. Free those crawl space vents from anything blocking them. Use a dehumidifier in your basement to keep it nice and dry.
Clean it up! Use a vacuum to thoroughly remove the dead beetles, eggs, and larvae from the infested area. Make sure you use a strong disinfectant to sanitize the area as well. Once pantry and cupboard shelves are clean, dry, and free of bugs, use new shelf paper to line the pantry and make sure to clean up food spills as soon as possible so as not to provide a buffet for freeloading pests.