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Spider Beetles

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

 

I have been finding these little critters in my egg buckets.  I have a stash of them in a cabinet I built into my chicken coop, accessible from the outside, right next to the nest box hatches where I collect the eggs.  Some start in the buckets, but sometimes even a clean bucket will end up with more of these guys in them after I collect the eggs.  I don't notice them on the eggs, but that doesn't mean I might have missed them.

 

Looking around on the internet, the closest match I can find for them are Spider Beetles.  There are several varieties and each look a bit different, but I think it's a pretty close match.  They are scavengers and will eat just about anything.  Often they are found in food mills, or other storage locations, but they are happy to live off of feathers and bird or rat droppings as well.  Sounds like my chicken coop would be a mecca for them.  Lots of grains, feathers, chicken droppings.

 

The standard advice is to get rid of the food source.  They will continue to grow in population as long as food is plentiful.  The problem as I see it, is that I can't get rid of the food source.  My chickens need to eat, and they will continue to create "droppings" as well.  Plus broken eggs, feathers and other leavings from the chickens.

 

The good news is that they only eat dead stuff.  No mention of them biting people or birds.  No mention of carrying diseases.  So they are relatively harmless, outside of them pro-creating and the risk of them infesting my house or cupboard.  I need to be super careful about not bringing them into the house, which I fear I may have already done before discovering what they are.

 

I'm surprised that this isn't a more common thing.  A search of the internet and of this web site turned up zero mention of this pest in connection with chickens or coops.  Although there are plenty of references to "bird nests" as a source of food for them.

 

Anyone ever run into these before???

 

Any advice?

 

I started using DE in the coop after discovering them, but I have not treated the cupboards yet.  That will happen after I give them a good cleaning to make sure there isn't any food in them, like cracked corn.

 

Brokk...

post #2 of 6

I have never heard of them before, but think you are right.  The only resource for control states:

 

If the food source for the infestation cannot be found, place monitors (sticky traps) in the vicinity where beetles were seen. When beetles are captured on a trap(s) in one area, move more traps to that section. Continue to focus the movement of the traps until the infestation is located. All effort should be made to remove the infested material. If you are unable to gain control, enlisting the aid of a pest management professional may be necessary.

 

That's what I would do - get those stick traps and place them in and around the coop.

 

IMO DE won't do anything to those beetles.

 

And store the extra feed in plastic airtight bins.

 

Hope this helps you get rid of those buggers.

 

 

Oh, and they state they may be living in the vicinity of rats or mice :(


Edited by sunflour - 12/27/15 at 5:02pm

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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

I thought I was going crazy.  With a clean bucket, and inspecting every egg, as I was collecting eggs, yet still finding the bugs in my bucket when I got it back to my house. How in the world did they get in the bucket?!?

 

I found them!

 

They are on the outside wall of the chicken coop.  Where I collect the eggs.  I have the bucket in my hand when opening/closing the nest doors and they are falling into the bucket.  I went down after dark last night to collect the eggs and had a flashlight with me.  I found them on the wall.

 

Since it is outside the coop, I think I will use a pesticide on the wall.  The chicken run is on the opposite side of the coop, so there is no chance of exposing the chickens to the pesticide.

 

I will continue to use the DE in the coop.  My understanding is that DE should work on any insect with an exoskeleton. I don't see why it wouldn't work on these guys.  Of course it might not wipe them all out, but should reduce their numbers.

 

Brokk...

post #4 of 6

Interesting.

Where are you located?

 

As long as you have a lot of them easily located, why not collect some in a container with some coop bedding/detritus mixed with some DE, see if it does kill them?

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

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Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokk View Post
 

I thought I was going crazy.  With a clean bucket, and inspecting every egg, as I was collecting eggs, yet still finding the bugs in my bucket when I got it back to my house. How in the world did they get in the bucket?!?

 

I found them!

 

They are on the outside wall of the chicken coop.  Where I collect the eggs.  I have the bucket in my hand when opening/closing the nest doors and they are falling into the bucket.  I went down after dark last night to collect the eggs and had a flashlight with me.  I found them on the wall.

 

Since it is outside the coop, I think I will use a pesticide on the wall.  The chicken run is on the opposite side of the coop, so there is no chance of exposing the chickens to the pesticide.

 

I will continue to use the DE in the coop.  My understanding is that DE should work on any insect with an exoskeleton. I don't see why it wouldn't work on these guys.  Of course it might not wipe them all out, but should reduce their numbers.

 

Brokk...

 

So glad you discovered the source.  And I agree, I would spray that wall carefully.  But bet they come from somewhere close by, but outside the coop.  Unless you plan to inspect periodically at night to see if they come back, you might still hang some sticky traps on the bottom of the wall to see where they are coming from?  And then spray the "hive".

 

There are a lot of blogs on the DE - but I am skeptical that it will make a big difference.   And it is ineffective if it gets wet, even morning dew can do that.  It is really dusty, will blow with the wind and neither you or your chickens should inhale that stuff.

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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aart View Post
 

Interesting.

Where are you located?

 

As long as you have a lot of them easily located, why not collect some in a container with some coop bedding/detritus mixed with some DE, see if it does kill them?

I'm in the NorthEast.  MA to be specific.

 

So I went down to the coop 48 hours later, with my trusty can of bug spray and low and behold...  I couldn't find a single one of those buggers.  There were hundreds on the outside wall two days earlier, but then...  nothing.

 

I left the can down there in case they come back.  I have collected eggs several times since then and haven't seen a thing.

 

It was unseasonably warm when I found them.  A cold snap hit, now I can't find any.  According to what I read, they can survive the cold just fine, but I still suspect they try to get away from it and are not likely to be very active when it is cold.  I might not run into them again until the Spring.

 

As far as collecting some and treating them with DE...  I have a lifetime of experience with raising creatures and the one consistent thing I have discovered is that when I take a creature out of the wild and put it in a container and try to keep it alive, it is almost a guarantee it will die.  DE or not.  I am also concerned about where to keep the container and how to I keep them from escaping.  These things are pretty darn small and well known for getting into a pantry and really making a mess of things.  I have no interest in taking them into the house!

 

I still need to clean out those cabinets and start fresh.  I just wish it were a little warmer outside to do that.

 

Brokk...

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