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Spider Beetle FAQ: Do Spider Beetles Bite? How to Prevent Them

tiny, red spider beetle on a piece of paper

What Are Spider Beetles?

So what do spider beetles look like? The American spider beetle adult is 1.5 to 3.5 millimeters in length and has an abdomen that is dark reddish-brown or black and shiny. Its head, legs, thorax, and antennae are covered with pale yellow to cream-colored hairs. They are small beetles that belong to the family Anobiidae, and they are called spider beetles because they look like small spiders. Though some think they look more like large mites.

A whitemarked spider beetle has patches of white hairs on its wing covers, as the name suggests. However, these white patches are often rubbed off on older beetles, and the abdomens of the males are thinner and more elongated than those of the females.   The smooth spider beetle is smaller in shape than the American spider beetle, but its coloring is the same. This species, more than the others, resembles a large, red-colored mite.

The larvae of all three species of spider beetles are cream-colored with light brown heads and are shaped like a ‘C’. Larvae can reach up to 4 millimeters in length.

What Attracts Spider Beetles?

These scavengers feed on a variety of items including:

  • cereals
  • grains
  • seeds
  • cocoa
  • dried fruits and veggies
  • fish food
  • spices
  • old wood
  • dead insects
  • rodent droppings

Where Are Spider Beetles Found?

Spider beetles are usually found inside wall voids and drop ceilings, but they can also be found in your pantry, where they are likely to find food. Although they can be found in homes, they are primarily warehouse pests where they attack various seeds and certain grains such as barley, wheat, flax, and rye. Some spider beetles have been discovered to be very active even during freezing weather.

Do Spider Beetles Bite? Are They Dangerous?

Yes, spider beetles bite, but no, spider beetles are not dangerous. A spider beetle bite is not known to be harmful to people or pets, nor do they spread any diseases. They don’t damage your belongings either, but they are known for infesting food products, which can be harmful to those products and make them unusable.

How Do You Get Rid & Prevent Spider Beetles?

The best, most effective way to get rid of spider beetles is to locate the source of the infestation and get rid of it quickly. Here are some things you can do to eliminate or prevent a spider beetle infestation:

  • Use a flashlight and examine food storage areas and foods. Dispose of infested foods in heavy plastic bags that are tightly sealed.
  • When purchasing foods, closely examine items such as flour, dried foods, and pet foods. Also, check dates for freshness.
  • Always buy seldom-used foods in small quantities to avoid having to store food for a long time.
  • Store foods in the refrigerator or in tightly sealed containers.
  • Use older packages before newer ones, rotating items on your shelf by putting newly purchased items to the back and moving old ones to the front.
  • Ventilate storage areas to eliminate moisture.
  • Promptly clean up any spilled food or liquids.
  • Thoroughly clean hard-to-reach places such as under the refrigerator and between the stove and cabinet.
  • Eliminate rodents, spiders, and other insects since spider beetles feed on dead insects and insect feces.

Preventing and controlling spider beetles can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. By simply removing the food sources that these pests enjoy, you are likely to prevent spider beetle infestations. Vacuum your kitchen pantry and cupboards thoroughly to remove the food residue that spider beetle larvae may eat; this will also remove any beetles that are still in their cocoons. Before purchasing items at the store, make sure the packaging is completely intact as destroyed packages are more likely to have holes and thus food infesting pests. When you bring new food products into your home, protect them in sealed containers.

If you continue to have problems with spider beetles or you’re not sure that spider beetles are the problem, contact the professionals at Rottler Pest Solutions. We can help identify the pests causing you problems with a thorough inspection. We can also offer effective treatments and preventative solutions to keep these pests from being a problem for you in the future. Contact us today to learn more about spider beetles and to schedule an inspection with our St. Louis pest control professionals. Offering exceptional pest control solutions to the St. Louis area since 1956, you can trust that the experienced professionals at Rottler will handle all your pest concerns.

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