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The shining Ptinus, a dangerous polyphagous

Who is the shining Ptinus ?

Ptinus furLatin name : Ptinus fur, Gibbium psylloides
Order : Coleoptera
Family : Ptinidae/Anobiidae
Size : 2 to 5 mm
Location : home, premises
Period : all year round

Larva : size: 4 mm. Resembles a small, rather soft, slightly arched white worm with a pubescence of yellowish bristly bristles all over its body.

What you need to know about Ptinus

Ptinus like to live and grow in the corners of our homes. It seeks humidity and darkness (it doesn't really like light). It is found especially in old houses, in attics, barns, cellars, between old walls and the plasterboard covering them, under floors. By its smooth and shiny globular appearance, this insect is very characteristic and easily recognizable.

Resembling a small spider or a large tick, it measures between 2 to 5 millimeters, consists of 3 pairs of legs, two antennae, a round reddish body and a small black head. It cannot fly because its elytra are fused together and it moves quite slowly. This insect is harmless. It does not sting, bite or cause allergies. He is content to be there and consume what he likes.

Ptinus also like damp places : the dark corners where water seeps in unknowingly are veritable spiderweb cities! Poorly ventilated spaces between a partition or plasterboard and old walls are usually breeding grounds for gibbiums. It is often believed that their presence is due to poorly maintained spaces. It is not so !

The dressed spider or Australian spider (Ptinus Tectus) is not very present in France. Its diet is similar to that of the robber beetle, but its fecundity is much higher: around 1,000 eggs instead of 50 for the shinning ptinus !

Out of sight, the shinning ptinus grow by taking advantage of the buffered conditions of their hiding place. When the densities become too high, the adults migrate to colonize favorable but sparsely populated places. These seasonal dispersions suddenly reveal them and make them particularly unpopular. They appear in the bathroom and then invade every corner of the house. But don't panic: most of them will quickly die of dehydration and exhaustion at your feet.

The Domed ptinus adapts very well to cool climates and can survive for a long time without any food; the adult can live up to 1 year. Some Hymenoptera belonging to the Bethylidae family can parasitize its larvae.

A very greedy insect

Very polyphagous, the shinning ptinus attacks practically everything: wheat, flour, semolina, oatmeal, bran, straw, pasta, biscuits, dry bread, tobacco, liquorice, honey, dried fruits (dates), cocoa , herbal products, spices (pepper, ginger, chilli), leather, skins, furs, stuffed animals, wool, feathers, brushes, broom hair, paper, cardboard, book bindings, meat, smoked meat, dried sausages, etc

It can cause quite significant damage to fabrics and books and some minor havoc in stored foodstuffs. However, its damage is considered to be less than that caused by neighboring species.

The development cycle of the Ptinus

The biology of this species is very similar to that of other Anobiidae. Full development takes an average of 12 to 16 weeks under normal conditions, and only 7 under optimum conditions at 33°C. Females lay 50 to 100 eggs, usually in late spring or summer, hatching 2 weeks after laying. Larval development lasts around six weeks, with pupation lasting 3 to 4 weeks. There are 3 to 4 generations per year.

Other Ptinus

le ptine, Gibbium psylloides

the Ptinus, Gibbium psylloidesIn the same family, we can find the curved Ptinus (Gibbium psylloides) which is an insect pest of spices, grains, altered flour, dry bread, cocoa, leather and artificial silk. It has also been found in Egyptian mummies in museums. The Golden Ptinus (Niptus hololeucus) is also polyphagous and omnivorous.

How to eliminate the Ptinus ?

The fight against gibbions must above all be preventive: in at-risk homes, you need to be alert to anything that could encourage their existence. Prevention must begin with the renovation of the building, at the time of erecting partitions or constructing floors. Next, you should never overlook damage to roofs or damp spots.

However, caution and prevention will not prevent pests from invading your home one day. Suspicion should immediately turn to old floors, which will have to be removed to eliminate the debris that has accumulated over the years. A pyrethrum-based insecticide treatment will then be applied. If the infestation is spectacular, a disinfection company will probably have to be contacted. 

This is done in the same way as for food moths. Here's how to proceed :

1. Take a large bin bag and throw away anything that isn't in a totally airtight box, even products that look impeccable.
2. Vacuum every nook and cranny of the cupboard or storeroom.
3. Fill a basin with hot water + washing-up liquid + disinfectant (organic, of course!). Using a brush, scrub the entire cupboard, leaving no nook or cranny untouched.
4. When everything is completely dry, treat the entire cupboard with our 4J insecticide diluted at 5% (allow 500ml for 5m² of surface area treated). To treat large areas, use the same insecticide in concentrated form. In this case, you'll need to dilute the insecticide with 5% water in a spray bottle (50 ml of insecticide for 950 ml of water).

5. For less accessible nooks and crannies, the treatment can be completed with Ecodoo Insecticide. It contains pyrethrum, alcohol and essential oils. Our Habitat fogger completes the direct treatment by spreading pyrethrum and geraniol smoke in the treated room. This product remains a complementary aid to a contact action such as 4J insecticide. Despite this, it will still enable you to reach and destroy the beetles in the open when out walking.

6Diatomaceous earth placed in floor grooves or wall gaps will give good results on this type of insect. Diatomaceous earth can either be powdered directly into holes and nooks, or injected into wall cracks using a diatomaceous earth aerosol for better penetration of the powder.

7. Place a few food moth repellent sachets in various places in the cupboard.

8. Place food moth traps (Aries or Kapo brand) in various places in the cupboard or in the rooms. For a major invasion or large rooms, you can opt for the Aries XXL trap (field of action = 70 m²).

9. All that's left is to put all your food back in the cupboards, but always in completely airtight boxes.

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