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Subject: Spider beetles

Spider beetles

From: Michael Trinkley <chicora1>
Date: Friday, November 27, 1998
Cathy Aster originally inquired about spider beetles, with a
subsequent response from Michael Meggen that focused on spiders.
It's important to realize that "spider beetles" are, in fact,
beetles, not spiders. Without getting too complex and, hopefully,
without raising the ire of purists, spiders have four pairs of legs
and no wings; beetles have three and also may have 2 pr. of wings or
be wingless.

    **** Moderator's comments: My apologies, I should have caught
    that error before posting the reply.

Regardless, spider beetles are also known as Ptinid beetles and are
generally small and oval in shape, often resembling upon causal
inspection a small spider. They primarily feed on dried animal or
vegetable matter (i.e., the kinds of stuff that we have in
collections). They are usually scavengers and tend to be resistant
to cold. While found in museums and libraries, they are usually
overshadowed by the dermestids and more commonly discussed pantry
pests. They are more common in warehouses and grain mills, it seems
(or at least relatively few museums notice them).

Control begins with sanitation. They are drawn to animal
nests--hence buildings must be free of bird nests, rodent nests.
They are drawn to fecal material and other accumulations of dirt and
debris--hence cleaning, especially in cracks and crevices is
critical. They are drawn to dark and locally moist areas--hence
inspection and appropriate attention to environmental conditions
(even microclimates) is equally critical.

Control also requires attention to where they are coming from. Many
spider beetles are nocturnal, wandering about in search of food.
Consequently, control may take time, patience, and diligence to
determine where the point (or points) of origin is.

Finally, chemical control is somewhat problematical if you haven't
located "ground zero." Applying sprays in the hope that you will get
to the problem area isn't a particularly good approach, although it
seems to be used rather commonly by PCOs. Hope this is of some help.

Michael Trinkley, Ph.D.
Chicora Foundation, Inc.
PO Box 8664
Columbia, SC  29202-8664

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:48
                 Distributed: Monday, November 30, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-48-008
Received on Friday, 27 November, 1998

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