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ICU? What do I do? Help!

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by msfairydust, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. msfairydust

    msfairydust Arachnosquire Old Timer

    I've read different threads on here where people were told to put their tarantula in an ICU. I can't remember what that involved. If someone could help me I'd be much appreciative.

    Basically my a seemani has some sort of little bugs in her tank. I don't know if they are crickets or mites. The way I found out was I went to pour water in the waterdish and it came alive with movement. At first I thought it was just the dirt that was moving around in the waterdish but then I realized dirt doesn't climb. They looked like little brownish/dark dots.

    I freaked and tried to do a quick search on here but nothing came up when I typed "ICU" in the search field. So I put her in a tupperware type dish with a few holes punched out of the top so she doesn't have to stay in there (the infected tank) until morning, when I will be able to change out her tank.

    What do those bugs sound like to you?
    Did I do the right thing in removing her? I
    s she OK in just a tupperware dish until tomorrow?
    Do I need to do anything else to ensure the bugs aren't on her and if they are how do I kill them off?

    PLEASE HELP! I've never experienced this before and would hate to lose another tarantula (we lost our pink toe a few months ago)

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2005
  2. Morbus ascendit

    Morbus ascendit Arachnopeon


    As far as I know this is just a bowl that contains a wet paper towel.

    Don't know exactly as you said they're of some brownish color. Could be Collembolas.

  3. liveprey

    liveprey Arachnosquire Old Timer

    Is your substrate wet, if so then dry it out and the mites should die off. I keep my tanks dry to prevent infestations. Most soils contain some sort of mites. Depending on your tank decor, live plants can harbor mites also.
  4. DanHalen

    DanHalen Arachnobaron Old Timer

    ICU involves placing the spider in a secure, well ventillated container with a damp paper towel for substrate. This should then be kept warm, dark, and undisturbed. However, unless the spider is showing any real signs of ill health then this probably isnt neccessary.

    Could you post a photo of the little bugs? If they were crickets, you'd probably be able to tell even at a small size. It sounds like they may be a type of mite. Even so, mites only usually prove a real threat if left with the spider for a prolonged time, or when the spider is molting.

    What substrate are you using? In regards to cleaning the tank, just use a mild soap and warm water. Making sure to rinse and dry very well before putting the spider back in.

    Chances are, she'll do fine.
    Good luck - Dan.
  5. msfairydust

    msfairydust Arachnosquire Old Timer

    Thank you so much for your replies. I have her in a tupperware dish without a wet papertowel. I sliced holes in the lid...this is just a makeshift spot until we are able to buy new substrate (in a few hours when the store opens).

    I looked closer at the dirt in there. We use the bed-a beast by the way. It was kind of damp around the waterdish...It seems to be on an angle and was probably leaking a little when I'd fill it. That might have caused this. Anyhow, I found *one* and it sort of looks like a tiny ant, but different shaped. I couldn't get my camera to focus on it. Does that sound like a mite? I google image searched "mites" but could only find enlarged photos...there were none life-size that I could compare it to.

    Tabitha appears OK. I don't see anything crawling on her...would I be able to see if she was infested as well? Or do they hide inside their hair?

    Thank you again for all of your help.
  6. Ronj

    Ronj Arachnobaron Old Timer

    I will go out on a limb here and am sure that others will support or crucify me.

    Unless your T is showing signs of ill health there is no reason for ICU. Now that you have the T out of the enclosure I suggest that you throughly clean and replace the substrate, and then return your T as soon as possible. You may be placing your T in a stressful situation by trying to help too much. I like the fact that you are worried and are attempting to care for your T!

    Good luck!
  7. tarangela2

    tarangela2 Arachnosquire Old Timer


    Once I had a cricket lay eggs in a tank filled with regular potting soil. (i was still fairly new in the hobby). When the eggs hatched my T was literally covered with little bugs. I put him in a dry container and about a week later all the bugs were dead, meanwhile I cleaned out the cage to a vermiculite substrate, which the T liked much better.

    these days i've been using 'lizard litter' (which is finely crushed walnut shells I got at PetCo), and some cactus soil mixed. The Ts seem to like this and the advantage is it holds moisture but doesn't encourage little bugs.

    I never put more than one or two crickets in at a time either. That way the T can consume before eggs could be laid!

    I think your T will be fine, especially if you keep the new substrate drier! :)

    PS, Sorry to hear about your recent loss. It is hard to lose a T because you do get attached to them and they are not JUST A SPIDER!!!
  8. becca81

    becca81 Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    It may very well be pinheads, which can be a little annoying to a tarantula but will die if you dry out the enclosure.

    Putting it into a tupperware dish overnight is fine to get it away from whatever is in the tank. Even if the "bugs" in the tank aren't anything to worry about, you aren't hurting your T at all by putting it in a tupperware container for a few hours. Many of mine live in tupperware with some peat on the bottom. ;)

    You can also go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get some peat moss - it's cheaper.
  9. bonesmama

    bonesmama Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Definately sounds like pinheads to me- I freaked out the first time too! I thought I had ants in the tank. Unless you look really closely, they do look like ants. My T was climbing the walls-they really bothered her! You can just keep a waterbowl in there, and they will all drown. You could try and see if a trap will work, I've heard of people using one for mites, but not pinheads. I don't see why it wouldn't though. Basically, you just take a little container- like you get dipping sauce in ( a tiny deli cup) and poke a bunch of holes in it. put in something for the pins to eat, and smear the inside of the container with vasoline. (Put the top back on) and leave it in the tank. The ones that don't drown should get stuck in the vasoline. If you do try this- let us know if it works!
  10. Gesticulator

    Gesticulator Arachnoangel Old Timer

    Hopefully it is just pinheads, which are a nuisance and one of the reasons I swithched to roaches as feeders. IMO, I would just chuck the infested substrate and start anew. The t will be okay in the tupperware for the time being, and you said there is nothing crawling on the T, so that's good. The best way to prevent this is by keeping the substrate bone dry. The crickets hatch at any sign of dampness (often near the water bowl where it splashes). I use straight peat for substrate and if any water splashes, I can bot it uo with paper towel. I they are pinheads, you can tell bec they look like tiny crickets, and they do jump. Hope this helps!
  11. msfairydust

    msfairydust Arachnosquire Old Timer

    I wanted to really thank you guys for your quick responses and very helpful advice. I also wanted to update you in case you are wondering how she is doing :)

    We threw away the infected tank. I didn't want to take any chances with cleaning it out. Because our funds are pretty limited right now we got her a smaller plastic critter-keeper type container...I hope she likes it in there. I know she spends a lot of time in a burrow but she also liked to walk around on top of the soil too and I'm not sure this is the best tank for that. We'll get her another aquarium once we are back on our feet.

    I checked her over and didn't see any bugs on her before we transfered her...I hope she's bug-free. The more I looked at the bugs in the tank the more they looked like pinheads to me...I hope. Like I said, I really don't want to lose this one too.

    Thank you again for all of your help. I honestly don't know what I would do without this board and the kind people on it. You guys have helped me out so many times....consider the fact that you've probably saved my tarantulas a few times :)

    Thanks again,
  12. bonesmama

    bonesmama Arachnoprince Old Timer

    We'd all be lost without AB! One thing you can do,too that really helps cut down on the probability of crix laying their eggs in your tanks is to put a small container of moist soil in the cricket tank-they will lay their eggs in there instead of in your T's tank.(they will lay their eggs just about anywhere--I once saw one laying in a peice of cucumber or zucchini or something that I put in for food! Nasty little buggers!)