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Subject: Spider beetles

Spider beetles

From: John Simmons <jsimmons>
Date: Sunday, November 29, 1998
Michael Maggen <maggen [at] netvision__net__il> writes

> Cathy Aster <aster [at] hoover__stanford__edu> writes
>
>>Has anyone had a problem with a spider beetle infestation in a
>>library/archive collection storage area?  In particular, I am
>>looking for photographic documentation of spider beetle damage to
>>paper-based collections...
>
> Recently I searched the web for other matters concerning spider web
> and so, I found many sites with relation to pest management so this
> can be only a start for your questions.
>
> The following is an excerpt from
> <URL:http://gardening.wsu.edu/library/inse005/inse005.htm>
> Washington State University "Gardening in Western Washington":
>
>     Spider Management

There is an unfortunate bit of confusion here in this question and
answer. Spider beetles are *not* spiders.  Both are in the phylum
Arthropoda, but spider beetles are insects (Class Insecta) in the
family Ptinidae.  This family includes 10 genera and at least 50
species in North America.  Spiders are in the class Arachnida.

Spider beetle adults and larvae feed on dead, dried plant and animal
materials, thus they can be a serious pest in museums.  Dead plant
and animal materials includes such things as grain, seeds, feathers,
fur, stuffed animals, sometimes wood, and so forth.

If you do have spiders in a museum collection, you should not try to
spray for the spiders or take other actions aimed directly at the
spiders until you know why they are there.  Unlike spider beetles,
which feed on the dead parts of a collection, spiders are predators,
feeding on live insects and other arthropods in the collection,
frequently those that are actually damaging your collection.  So,
before trying to control spiders, try to control their food source
in your collection.  The spiders will then, in all probability, go
away by themselves.  Also, although there are several pesticides on
the market that can be used in museums that are reasonably effective
against beetles, including spider beetles, very few of these are
effective against spiders.

If you have a pest problem in the collection, the best approach to
solving it is through a careful program of Integrated Pest
Management.

John Simmons
Natural History Museum
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas 66045-2454

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:48
                 Distributed: Monday, November 30, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-48-010
                                  ***
Received on Sunday, 29 November, 1998

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