What is a Spider Beetle? and What to Do if You See One

Spider beetles are a group of insects that belong to the family Ptinidae. These beetles are 3-4mm, rotund pests that feed on stored food products such as grains, rodent droppings, feathers, flour, and cereals.

Spider beetles have long legs that resemble spiders, hence their name. These insects live indoors or outdoors, depending on the season and climate. Although spider beetles do not bite humans or spread diseases, they can become a nuisance if left unchecked because of their ability to reproduce quickly in large numbers.

Spider beetles are often mistaken for other insects, such as bed bugs or drugstore beetles. However, the majority of spider beetles you see indoors can be distinguished by their round body shape, red color, and small size. Therefore it is essential to know how to identify them and what steps to take if you see one in your home or business premises.

If you are unsure, please text us (212 851 3990) a photo of the bug you found, and we can help you figure out if it’s a spider beetle or bed bug. ??

spider beetle identification

Spider Beetles: What to Do if You See One

Since spider beetles don’t intentionally bite us and are not known to spread any disease, there is no need to panic if you see one. However, if there are multiple spider beetles in your home or business premises, it is crucial to act quickly and take measures to prevent a more significant infestation.

The first step is to identify the source of the infestation. You can make identification by inspecting food products for signs of contamination and sealing up the perimeter of your home. If you keep on top of vacuuming, you’ll remove any dirt and debris on which the spider beetle may feast.

If you see a spider beetle on your bed, you can capture it and place it outside. Since they are one of the common bugs in the bed that are not bed bugs, we often get photos of one that is mistaken for a bed bug.

Spider Beetle Facts

What Do Spider Beetles Look Like?

spider beetle - 3 real life examples
3 spider beetles found in NYC – They are common NYC apartment bugs.

What is That Bug That Looks Like a Spider but It’s Not?

spider beetle on a bed

A spider beetle looks like a spider because of its long legs, long antenna, and round body. People often mistake the antenna for an extra set of legs, hence which is why they think it’s a spider. A spider beetle only has six legs, whereas a spider has eight legs.


Spider beetles range in size from 1.5mm to 4.5mm.


There are over 600 species of spider beetles, and their color can range from red, brown, white, and black to variegated.

What Do Spider Beetles Eat?

A spider beetle forages for food, which means they are scavengers. They will eat wood, plants, rodent droppings, roach droppings, grains, stored foods, hair, feathers, and just about anything! Spider beetles can feed off of water and mold in walls. If you have abundant moisture in your walls, you may need to work on dehumidifying the room first.

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How Long Do Spider Beetles Live?

A spider can live up to 1 year, although most only survive for a few months.

Do Spider Beetles Bite?

Yes, they can bite a human, but they are not seeking you out to bite you. A spider beetle will bite in self-defense, so if you agitate a spider beetle, it may bite you.

What are Shiny Spider Beetles

spider beetle in NYC

The Gibbiums are a subspecies of smooth spider beetles that can turn up in apartments and homes. In fact, they are one of the most common bugs that look like bed bugs. While performing our pest inspection, we find many of these pests inside NYC apartments.

Spider Beetles in Bathroom – What To Do?

A spider beetle is not one of the typical bathroom bugs. However, if you see one, you can capture it and place it outside. A bathroom has limited food for a spider beetle to scavenge.

What Bugs Do People Confuse With A Spider Beetle?

Spider Beetles vs Ticks

spider beetle vs tick

Since both a spider beetle and a tick can look like a spider to the untrained eye, it makes sense that people confuse the two. A spider beetle has six legs and is usually a red or brownish color, whereas a tick will have eight legs and can be black, grey, spotted, or reddish.

A spider beetle will wander around, whereas a tick lives on animals (including humans) by embedding itself into our skin to take up a blood meal.

Spider Beetles vs Bed Bugs

Spider beetles are one of the most common, mistaken for bed bugs. It’s because of their red body and ability to turn up on a bed. Rest assured, spider beetles do not drink blood and do not typically infest mattresses.

If you happen to see one on your bed, it’s probably lost and scavenging for food. Make sure you keep mattress encasements on both your mattress and box spring; it will reduce the dust and debris around your bed.

Spider Beetles vs Roach

To an untrained eye, if you glance, a spider beetle may resemble a roach. For this reason, we included them on your list of beetles that look like roaches. However, their body shape, size, and behavior are nothing alike.

How To Get Rid of Spider Beetles?

  • Clean out your kitchen cupboards and ensure that your grains do not have an infestation.
  • Use an airtight container for your flour.
  • Keep all grains off of the floor. You don’t know how many homes we visit for pest inspections with large bags of grains on the floor. ?
  • Break down and recycle all cardboard boxes quickly. Spider beetles can feed off of the paper and hide within the boxes.
  • Use sticky traps in areas where you see the spider beetles. If you have pets, place them in areas where your pets do not roam.

  • Repeatedly vacuum your home a few times per week.
  • You must dust, vacuum, and clean all shelves and books within the home.
  • Use a dehumidifier if you think your walls have a moisture issue.
  • Declutter your home regularly.

Final Thoughts on Spider Beetles

Spider beetles are 3-4mm, rotund pests that feed on stored food products such as grains, rodent droppings, feathers, flour, and cereals. They often get confused with spiders, hence their name. People are constantly thankful that we identify the pest as a spider beetle, which is less horrifying than some others, like bed bugs and roaches.