I have been a faithful, daily reader for some time now and really enjoy your website. I have also been trying to identify these little critters but can’t seem to find them on your website. I live in St. Louis, they like my bathroom and at any given time there are 3 or 4 of them hanging around. They appear to have only 6 legs but are the size of a mite, maybe 2 mm. Please tell me they are nice bugs. They are so cute I don’t have to heart to kick them out.
St. Louis, MO
Granted, Spider Beetles in the genus Mezium are cute, but they are nonetheless, household pests. These tiny beetles will infest grain as well as exotic substances like cayenne, tobacco and opium. We doubt that you have an opium stash in your bathroom, but perhaps they are feasting on pet food, or shudder, the dead remains of an animal in the wall. Occasionally they will even eat woolens and other non-synthetic fibers. You could have found images of Spider Beetles from previous readers on our Pantry Beetle page.
Expert Update: (05/22/2008) spider beetle errors
I believe I had written earlier when looking at many of the spider beetle pictures. Almost all of the shiny brown, globular body, images are of Gibbium aequinoctiale and not Mezium species. There is a combined 2 image photo (finger and beetle & 2 beetles) of Mezium : the answer was posted by Eric Eaton, I believe. Gibbium species do not have a velvety covering on the thorax, Mezium species do. You should correct your website postings so people will have a better idea of what they have been finding. Best regards,
Louis N. Sorkin, B.C.E.
Division of Invertebrate Zoology
American Museum of Natural History
Thanks so much for resending this vital correction to our website. We really appreciate your expertise on this. We sincerely hope that addressing you with such familiarity doesn’t detract from your professional status.