Infestation in mealworm colony!

ledzeppelin

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Hi, I have a large mealworm colony for my little ones.. I have noticed that there are billions of tiny white dots that move around the sides of the containers and on the lid.. I have no idea what they are, but I have seen a bunch of them eating a beetle. They might be scavengers but I fear that they are parasitic. Does anybody have any idea what they might be? I suspect that they appeared after I put too much fruit at once inside. I just fear that I can kill all my slings feeding mealworms from that colony.

LZ

UPDATE:

I figured out that they might be grain mites. Any idea if those are harmful to a T?

I'm sorry, I found answers to all my questions. I was panicking too much to google everything and just turned here. I found a thread on AB. Sorry again.

LZ
 
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Ghost56

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Kinda crazy, I came in last night after vacation to the exact same issue. But with my dubia colony, I think that they came from the chick starter I use to feed. Never seen that many bugs in one spot in my life...thousands....lol
 
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Andrea82

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I'd dump the whole thing and start again. Check the enclosures as well. I don't like critters with my critters that i didn't put in myself ;)
 

ledzeppelin

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I'd dump the whole thing and start again. Check the enclosures as well. I don't like critters with my critters that i didn't put in myself ;)
Yeah I can't really afford to dump everything :/ We're talking tens of thousands.. Sad.. Fortunately I found out, that these are harmless to Ts. I have 3 large tubs of them, so I will experiment for a bit. Mealworms can take low temperatures and these guys apparently not. I will place 1 tub outside for the night (there'll be about - 5 to -10 degrees C) and see if that makes any difference. It should in theory kill off the mites but not sure about the mealworms. The second tub will be placed on the radiator, since the mites need a humid place.. If everything dries out, it should be over for the mites. The third tub will be my emergency one if both my tests fail.
 

Ghost56

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I'd dump the whole thing and start again. Check the enclosures as well. I don't like critters with my critters that i didn't put in myself ;)
While I would usually agree, after panicking like zeppelin, and THEN doing research. Grain mites are harmless, so with a little maintenance every other day, they can be dealt with. Still rehoused everything, but definitely wouldn't scratch my colony, and wouldn't recommend zeppelin doing it either IMO.
 

Andrea82

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While I would usually agree, after panicking like zeppelin, and THEN doing research. Grain mites are harmless, so with a little maintenance every other day, they can be dealt with. Still rehoused everything, but definit wouldn't scratch my colony, and wouldn't recommend zeppelin doing it either IMO.
Like i said, 'I'd dump the whole thing'. To each his own. Mealworms are bred easy so a new colony would be formed in a couple of weeks, which would be fine for the critters i keep.

But maybe OP has some reptiles as well to need that much mealies, but i don't know that. I simply stated what I would do.
 

cold blood

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UPDATE:

I figured out that they might be grain mites. Any idea if those are harmful to a T?
Harmful...not generally, but theyre a major annoyyance none-the-less.

Kinda crazy, I came in last night after vacation to the exact same issue. But with my dubia colony, I think that they came from the chick starter I use to feed. Never seen that many bugs in one spot in my life...thousands....lol
Doubt it. Theyre everywhere, although generally in numbers that arent really noticable. Under ideal conditions though, populations explode very quickly.

I have had the same thing occur in my roach bin....its a good indicator that you (or I) went too long without a cleaning.

Starting over is the best option, but that doesnt mean dumping the worms or roaches and starting over from scratch.

Just set up a new, clean enclosure and move your feeders into the new clean enclosure....and dump and clean the rest of the enclosure....the bedding/frass.

You dont want to be dealing with an explosion of mites any longer than you have to. Good luck zep.
 

ledzeppelin

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Just set up a new, clean enclosure and move your feeders into the new clean enclosure....and dump and clean the rest of the enclosure....the bedding/frass..
Do you think putting the bin overnight and let it freeze the outer layer and the sides (where most of the mites are) would work? I personally think that it would kill the mealies as well, but I think it's worth the shot being winter and all..
 

Ghost56

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Harmful...not generally, but theyre a major annoyyance none-the-less.



Doubt it. Theyre everywhere, although generally in numbers that arent really noticable. Under ideal conditions though, populations explode very quickly.

I have had the same thing occur in my roach bin....its a good indicator that you (or I) went too long without a cleaning.

Starting over is the best option, but that doesnt mean dumping the worms or roaches and starting over from scratch.

Just set up a new, clean enclosure and move your feeders into the new clean enclosure....and dump and clean the rest of the enclosure....the bedding/frass.

You dont want to be dealing with an explosion of mites any longer than you have to. Good luck zep.
All I know is I had zero issues with them till I got back from vacation. Everything was cleaned before I left, but I had just started using top soil and the chick starter. I was gone for 2 weeks so it may have not came from them, but I highly suspect one of those two introduced them. Both the chick starter and top soil were stored outside from the places I bought them so that's what seemed likely to me. Not sure what all zeppelin has done, but everything I've got has been rehoused.

Under ideal conditions though, populations explode very quickly
I think that may be an understatement.. lol. Never seen so many white, moving specks in my life.
 

ledzeppelin

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It would kill everything im pretty sure.
I have one extra bin and I'll try this :D I might discover a quick fix :D Im counting that the deeper substrate won't go below 0°C and the mealies there will survive. It's a long shot but I guess worth a try. Beats the hell out of sorting everything by hand. The worst thing being that I'm doing this just to get baby worms for my slings.. And those are a nightmare to pick out :D

Everything was cleaned before I left, but I had just started using top soil and the chick starter. I was gone for 2 weeks so it may have not came from them, but I highly suspect one of those two introduced them. Both the chick starter and top soil were stored outside from the places I bought them so that's what seemed likely to me.
It's the chick starter. I've read that they thrive on wheat bran and stuff similar to that.. I've got an infestation after I put too much fruit which raised the humidity too high.. I have not had this problem for 10 years until now
 
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Ghost56

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It's the chick starter. I've read that they thrive on wheat bran and stuff similar to that.. I've got an infestation after I put too much fruit which raised the humidity too high.. I have not had this problem for 10 years until now
Ya that's what I figured after reading the same info. Hopefully you get yours under control without losing too many feeders, really is a bummer to walk in and see all those moving dots.
 

ledzeppelin

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Ya that's what I figured after reading the same info. Hopefully you get yours under control without losing too many feeders, really is a bummer to walk in and see all those moving dots.
same to you man :) Luckily my dubia colony is not infested yet.. I hope it stays that way.. I have thousands there >_<
 

cold blood

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All I know is I had zero issues with them till I got back from vacation. Everything was cleaned before I left, but I had just started using top soil and the chick starter. I was gone for 2 weeks so it may have not came from them, but I highly suspect one of those two introduced them. Both the chick starter and top soil were stored outside from the places I bought them so that's what seemed likely to me. Not sure what all zeppelin has done, but everything I've got has been rehoused.


I think that may be an understatement.. lol. Never seen so many white, moving specks in my life.
I dont use substrate in my roach bin....i imagine that would make cleaning it more difficult.

I have one extra bin and I'll try this :D I might discover a quick fix :D Im counting that the deeper substrate won't go below 0°C and the mealies there will survive. It's a long shot but I guess worth a try. Beats the hell out of sorting everything by hand. The worst thing being that I'm doing this just to get baby worms for my slings.. And those are a nightmare to pick out :D
Good luck, personally i would just sift out the worms and beetles.

It's the chick starter. I've read that they thrive on wheat bran and stuff similar to that.. I've got an infestation after I put too much fruit which raised the humidity too high.. I have not had this problem for 10 years until now
It probably didnt come in on that, but im sure it played a big role in the mite explosion.
 
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