Australian & Golden Spider Beetles (Ptinus tectus & Niptus hololeucus)
Originating from Tasmania, the Australian Spider Beetle species now has full distribution throughout temperate zones of the world, although it favours the indoor environment. Associated with bird’s nests and stored foodstuffs, it is also present in many industrial food storage situations. The beetles are up to 3.5mm in length and have a thin waist, large abdomen and long legs, giving the insects its spider-like appearance.
Much larger than the Australian at up to 4.5mm long, the Golden Spider Beetle has a roughly spherical shape and is covered in golden hairs and scales. Occurs in flour and feed mills, food warehousing and the domestic environment. Seldom seen in more than small numbers.
Adults of both species are extremely cold hardy, but free water is essential to them. They are nocturnal in foraging behaviour. A widespread pest in the food industry, larvae can bore through many types of packaging. There are usually up to 2 generations per year and the average life span is 9-12 months.
The source of infestation should be traced and eliminated. Old bird’s nests/infested food stuffs etc should be removed and destroyed. Good hygiene practices, stock rotation, quarantine of inbound stock and monitoring should be considered. Fumigation, residual spraying, dusting and temperature / atmospheric control may be applicable.