Spider beetles and bed bugs

by nobugsonme on April 17, 2012 · 4 comments

in bed bugs

When many of us go looking for bed bugs, we find other pests.

A common discovery is the shiny spider beetle (Gibbium aequinoctiale) and closely related species. Spider beetles are often mistaken for bed bugs when people don’t know what they’re looking for because spider beetles look bloated and reddish-brown — like they might have just fed on human blood.

However, as Lou Sorkin’s photos below show, when you compare them side by side, spider beetles bear no real resemblance to bedbugs.  And the good news is that spider beetles don’t feed on humans.

Cimex & Gibbium

Photo credit:  Cimex & Gibbium by louento.pix (Lou Sorkin), used under an Attribution-No Derivatives Creative Commons license.

(You can click the image above to see other sizes.)

Lou writes,

Cimex & Gibbium

Here are some images of the shiny spider beetle and the common bed bug so you can see that bed bugs look like bed bugs. Lighting and focus was changed in the ones on the left. There are 3 spider beetles in each picture, the rest are bed bugs. The majority of bed bugs are adults, many with legs missing. See the scattered, slender bed bug legs. Thickened legs are on the spider beetles. Basically dorsal and ventral views of bed bugs and lateral views of spider beetle.

We’ve shared another of Lou’s excellent spider beetle shots before, but it makes sense to include it here, as it’s such a great close-up:

Gibbium spider beetles in food item

Photo credit:  Gibbium spider beetles in food item by louento.pix (Lou Sorkin), used under an Attribution-No Derivatives Creative Commons license.

(You can click the image above to see other sizes.)

Lou writes of this image,

Gibbium spider beetles in food item

NOT a bed bug, but a beetle called Gibbium aequinoctiale. Its common names are hump beetle, shiny brown spider beetle and it’s a scavenger and stored product pest. Most often confused with bed bugs because of its reddish brown color and globular shape causing people to think that it is full of blood — it is not.

Thanks, Lou!

Here’s a Penn State University fact sheet on spider beetles.


1 cilecto April 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I’ve seen the last spider beetle pic before and have always liked it. It’s like what an ad for spider beetle hiking boots would look like (if spider beetles wore hiking boots).

2 nobugsonme April 17, 2012 at 9:44 pm

“an ad for spider beetle hiking boots”–

Very nice, Cilecto! That’s very accurate.

Note: scientific name of Gibbium corrected above from Gibbium psylloides to Gibbium aequinoctiale.

Thanks, Lou!

3 loubugs April 18, 2012 at 2:42 am

Gibbium psylloides is also a correct name, but not for the species we have.

4 nobugsonme April 19, 2012 at 2:01 am

Thanks Lou– sorry I was not clear.

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