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Thread: "mite" problem

  1. #1
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    Default "mite" problem

    I'm battling with what I believe is some kind of mite, but not the parasitic snake mites we're all familiar with. Let me give you the whole scoop and hopefully some of you can offer some advice. I had a small rubbermaid container for my colony of mealworms sitting on top of an exo-terra enclosure that housed a chahoua. I had noticed some condensation on the inside of the mealworm container and was trying to dry it out by leaving the lid open every so often. A couple nights ago, I got home and thought I saw mold growing on their container (since it still had some condensation inside, this didn't seem very unusual).

    Once I looked closer, I realized what I was seeing was a cluster of tiny bugs. I looked all around and they had totally swarmed my mealworm container and there were a lot of them all down the exo-terra they were sitting on (inside and out). They were congregated around the moist areas of the mealworm container and thousands of them had already drowned in the gecko's water dish below. So they seemed to be hanging out in moist areas, but not a single bug was on my gecko, despite her enclosure being covered with them.

    So I pulled the gecko out and set her up in a temporary enclosure and fogged down the exo-terra with permethrin spray. I moved the mealworms outside and thought the spray would kill all the bugs left inside on the exo-terra. By the next morning, there were still plenty of them moving around even on surfaces I'd sprayed directly. These bugs resemble snake mites except for the fact that they're white/transparent (too tiny to say for sure) and haven't showed any interest in my reptiles, only water.

    Since the spray didn't work, I have washed down the whole exo-terra with soapy water which seems to have worked fairly well so far, but it's too early to say for sure. I want to make sure there aren't any re-infestations though, and the spray doesn't appear to be working well, if at all. The spray I've been using is Repel Permanone .5% Permethrin from Wal Mart. It's marketed as an insect killer/repellant, but I've read in several places that it's essentially the same as Provent-A-Mite and it seems quite a few people have used it to successfully kill snake mites. I just have it as a precaution, never actually treated anything for mites with it, but the can is less than a year old so it should still be good.

    So has anyone dealt with these before? If so, do you know what they are and what the best way to treat them is? Any help is much appreciated, thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have not dealt with this before, but my advice is to discard and sterilize everything and start anew.
    ~Alan

    "You know, one of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror."
    President Geo. W Bush in an interview with CBS News, Washington D.C., Sept. 6, 2006

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    i just found those tiny white mites all over one of my bioactive tanks a couple days ago! i don't know where they came from other than the soil. but i have also been having a problem with tiny black flies (smaller than fruit flies) in the soil in both my tanks so i will probably just toss all the substrate. what a pain in the @$$!

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    The spray I've been using is Repel Permanone .5% Permethrin from Wal Mart. It's marketed as an insect killer/repellant, but I've read in several places that it's essentially the same as Provent-A-Mite and it seems quite a few people have used it to successfully kill snake mites.

    I had not heard of this one but there are a couple other products out there with the same EPA number as provent-a-mite sold as insect replellant.
    "The dead are likely dull fellows, full of tedious complaints - 'the ground's too cold, my gravestone should be larger, why does HE get more worms than I do...'".

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    i had the same problems with my roach colonies. They seem harmless as of so far. They only appear in humid conditions..I normally let me bins sit outside without a top to let it dry out and then they are good for a bit until the humidity rises agian.

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    Are you sure they are mites? I wonder if they could be springtails? Do they jump? I had some in my potted houseplants, and from there they got into my gecko tank. I wigged out at first, but a little research led me to believe they were springtails. A lot of the images online show massive clusters of these little critters congretated in damp moist places around the house. You may want to look them up and see if that's what you have. I believe I learned that they were harmless. But I also don't want to give you a bum steer. This may be something more for the more experienced gecko keepers to help figure out.
    1.1 Crested Gecko- Kai and Felix
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    I just found these on my roach colony too! I noticed them when I put the roaches on dirt (worst idea ever!).

    Do you guys think I need to get rid of all the roaches? I have hundreds of them and would hate to have to kill them all.. I'm going to take them off the dirt tonight.
    Olivia
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    I had that happen in my mealworm colony too. I was so disgusted I froze all the mealworms and containers to get rid of them.
    ~Christa~
    Avalon Reptiles

    " If all the beasts were gone man would die from loneliness of spirit... for whatever happens to the beast, happens to the man" -Chief Seattle-

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    I read up on springtails, and I don't think it's the same thing..at least to what I have... they're described as "like fleas, but white" and "long grains of rice", but the ones I have are definitely round, and there aren't tons of them.

    It does sound like it might be what you have, though, Kevin. Good suggestion, Silver!
    Olivia
    "...Because what's more efficent than doing nothing?"

    "...Doing nothing in a Hybrid?"
    -stephen colbert's writers

  10. #10
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    I've seen those bugs from time to time when I allow my bioactive tanks to get too damp. What you're seeing are probably a species of mealy bugs if they aren't white springtails. I sometimes get both in my tanks, but springtails are harmless and good for breaking down waste and fungus. You will sometimes get mealy bugs in houseplants, and are parasites to living plants but should be harmless to your geckos. They cut off the supply of water to the roots of plants in large numbers, slowly killing them.

    The only thing you can really do without using poisons is to try and keep them under control by rinsing off plants from time to time in fresh water and letting the tank dry out in between mistings and squish the bugs whenever you see them. You can also try dipping a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dabbing areas where you see the bugs to kill them as an alternative route to harmful pesticides. If they're mealy bugs you'll also notice a cottony substance on plant stalks or leaves where the adults will lay their young.
    ~*~*Mandy*~*~

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