Isopods/Springtails Burrowing

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Very simple question. So isopods and/or springtails burrow to seek out more moist substrate?

Some context. I've got a few deep burrowing tarantulas who need it quite humid, but as some of you know, I've run into a bit of a fly problem. Since the flies only reproduce on the surface of the substrate, I'd like to be able to dry out the enclosures. The first inch or two of substrate will dry out, with deeper inches still being quite humid. Will the isopods and springtails burrow down to survive, or would they just die along with the larvae on the surface?

As always, thank you all for the help :D
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Well, scratch this freaking question.

I went to soak down my H. gigas, who had moist lower substrate but dry top substrate. Watering her resulted in a good number of flies emerging from the substrate. So apparently at least the adults burrow, meaning there is likely larvae down there as well. So this is a moot point. Apologies.
 

Jeff23

Arachnolord
Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
621
Well, scratch this freaking question.

I went to soak down my H. gigas, who had moist lower substrate but dry top substrate. Watering her resulted in a good number of flies emerging from the substrate. So apparently at least the adults burrow, meaning there is likely larvae down there as well. So this is a moot point. Apologies.
Nice posts even if it was all by you.:D

I've been getting some flies and more fungus lately myself. South Carolina has turned into a humid mess with lots of rain lately.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Nice posts even if it was all by you.:D

I've been getting some flies and more fungus lately myself. South Carolina has turned into a humid mess with lots of rain lately.
I know that I'll never get rid of them entirely, which is fine. I've had flies pretty much since my collection gar larger than a couple dozen. I'm just trying to figure out how to reduce the sheer numbers. And these recent phorid fly sightings have me nervous. Fungus gnats are harmless, not so much with the phorids. I know that the cause was my springtail culture - I think I was feeding them too much, so I'm slowing down on that.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
It depends on with phorrid flies. Some species aren't dangerous, they are as annoying as hell, but they aren't honestly dangerous, unless possibly your T is molting. I have yet to have an issue with molting insects and phorrid flies. There are a huge number of different species of phorrid flies, compared to the large number of them very few of them are actually parasitic. Those are the species you want to look out for because they will attack living insects and animals. Phorrid flies are easy to take care of in a roach colony from my experience, I have saved an entire colony of dubias from phorrids (non-parasitic variety) but I don't think what I did would work as much for T's. Various cleaner crews like you have will help a lot with keeping phorrids from appearing usually. Most phorrids happen from rotting food etc. or stagnant moisture in the soil, thankfully cleaner crews stir up soil nicely and clean rotting foods <3 love the little guys. I am not sure what to do about the gnats in general. I always have them with humid enclosures... *frowns* I mean cleaner crews help with it, but there is only so much the guys can do sadly.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
It depends on with phorrid flies. Some species aren't dangerous, they are as annoying as hell, but they aren't honestly dangerous, unless possibly your T is molting. I have yet to have an issue with molting insects and phorrid flies. There are a huge number of different species of phorrid flies, compared to the large number of them very few of them are actually parasitic. Those are the species you want to look out for because they will attack living insects and animals. Phorrid flies are easy to take care of in a roach colony from my experience, I have saved an entire colony of dubias from phorrids (non-parasitic variety) but I don't think what I did would work as much for T's. Various cleaner crews like you have will help a lot with keeping phorrids from appearing usually. Most phorrids happen from rotting food etc. or stagnant moisture in the soil, thankfully cleaner crews stir up soil nicely and clean rotting foods <3 love the little guys. I am not sure what to do about the gnats in general. I always have them with humid enclosures... *frowns* I mean cleaner crews help with it, but there is only so much the guys can do sadly.
Yeah, there have been a lot of reports about phorid flies killing tarantulas. I've also got several sacs on the way, meaning these phorid flies could cost me a very, very pretty penny. I luckily nipped this in the bud, so I think the phorid flies are gone for good this time. Hopefully.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
Be super careful then, I wish tons of luck with your new babies on the way, phorrid flies can be a nasty business. I am wondering if there are any beneficial bugs that eat phorrid flies. (research time)
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Be super careful then, I wish tons of luck with your new babies on the way, phorrid flies can be a nasty business. I am wondering if there are any beneficial bugs that eat phorrid flies. (research time)
I've found some species of isopods that apparently eat small larvae if given the opportunity, but they seem to be very rare in the hobby (if present at all). Please do say something if you turn up more info.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
Do you know which species of isopods they are? I may be able to find some...
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Do you know which species of isopods they are? I may be able to find some...
I don't know the species, sorry. They were purple with black specs, I remember that much. They were also an Asian species.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
Ok so here is a way to kill off all pest insects in the vivarium in case you are worried about possible phorid flies/larvae still being there. You will need to remove your T of course, and you will likely lose your cleaner crew but this is a just in case. It is totally safe, and if you have live plants it won't harm them. It's just not safe the inhabitants while you are doing it.

"If you've already built your vivarium and skipped the industry-standard plant & decor processing procedures, with any luck you might still be OK. However on the off chance that one of the above pests found it's way into your vivarium, there is a fairly simple & inexpensive procedure you can use to rid the enclosure of them. It's called Co2 bombing, and has been popularized by many users of online forums. We need to stress that this procedure can easily be avoided if the proper preventative measures are taken. Co2 bombing is a "last ditch effort" to save a vivarium, and is not considered a standard practice. First, the inhabitants must be removed from the enclosure. Then you'll need to seal the bottom and sides by covering up any gaps, vents, or door jambs with tape (if applicable). After the bottom & sides are well-sealed, simply place some dry ice in a basin of water above the terrarium and allow the Co2 gas it produces (as it evaporates) to flow into, and fill up the vivarium. Be sure that the heavier Co2 gas completely displaces the air in the enclosure. Once it's full of Co2, close/seal the top to keep any drafts in the room from blowing air into the terrarium if possible. Leave the vivarium completely full of Co2 overnight, and repeat the cycle again 2-3 weeks later to remove any pests that were in-egg during the 1'st treatment. Dry ice can usually be purchased from your local ice shop, and should be handled extremely cautiously to avoid burns. Co2 bombing will kill your springtail/isopod population, so restocking your vivarium with them after the last treatment is really the most expensive part of this procedure. The good news is, your vivarium's plants will receive a huge boost from this process, as they thrive on Co2!"

And then for the fungus gnats if you use these correctly and replace them often enough you should eventually kill them before they can reproduce correctly.

http://www.neherpetoculture.com/horticulturenutrientsandpestcontrol#houseplantstickystakes

I will look up the asian variety of isopods you are talking about. I will be getting permits/licenses down the road. So here's hoping.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Ok so here is a way to kill off all pest insects in the vivarium in case you are worried about possible phorid flies/larvae still being there. You will need to remove your T of course, and you will likely lose your cleaner crew but this is a just in case. It is totally safe, and if you have live plants it won't harm them. It's just not safe the inhabitants while you are doing it.

"If you've already built your vivarium and skipped the industry-standard plant & decor processing procedures, with any luck you might still be OK. However on the off chance that one of the above pests found it's way into your vivarium, there is a fairly simple & inexpensive procedure you can use to rid the enclosure of them. It's called Co2 bombing, and has been popularized by many users of online forums. We need to stress that this procedure can easily be avoided if the proper preventative measures are taken. Co2 bombing is a "last ditch effort" to save a vivarium, and is not considered a standard practice. First, the inhabitants must be removed from the enclosure. Then you'll need to seal the bottom and sides by covering up any gaps, vents, or door jambs with tape (if applicable). After the bottom & sides are well-sealed, simply place some dry ice in a basin of water above the terrarium and allow the Co2 gas it produces (as it evaporates) to flow into, and fill up the vivarium. Be sure that the heavier Co2 gas completely displaces the air in the enclosure. Once it's full of Co2, close/seal the top to keep any drafts in the room from blowing air into the terrarium if possible. Leave the vivarium completely full of Co2 overnight, and repeat the cycle again 2-3 weeks later to remove any pests that were in-egg during the 1'st treatment. Dry ice can usually be purchased from your local ice shop, and should be handled extremely cautiously to avoid burns. Co2 bombing will kill your springtail/isopod population, so restocking your vivarium with them after the last treatment is really the most expensive part of this procedure. The good news is, your vivarium's plants will receive a huge boost from this process, as they thrive on Co2!"

And then for the fungus gnats if you use these correctly and replace them often enough you should eventually kill them before they can reproduce correctly.

http://www.neherpetoculture.com/horticulturenutrientsandpestcontrol#houseplantstickystakes

I will look up the asian variety of isopods you are talking about. I will be getting permits/licenses down the road. So here's hoping.
Yeah, I've come across that CO2 bombing in the past. I'm sure that's a godsend for people with vivariums, but the tarantula I'll be putting in here is a deep burrowing species... meaning I'd have to dig her up regardless. At that point I may as well do it proper and replace the substrate.

Something that I'm doing in my isopod/springtail culture is way, way overfeeding them with mushrooms. The phorid fly larvae are drawn to them like magnets. Then I simply pluck out the mushrooms and throw them down the garbage disposal. Some springtails take the ride as well, but frankly I'm not too worried about their population dwindling by a few dozen!
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jul 1, 2013
Messages
402
Sounds like a nice way of getting rid of the phorid flies. Depending on the species of your T you can get rid of phorids usually by doing a cool period and feed very little. Phorids have a short life span, so if you let it dry out a bit and then let it cool down, you would be fine. But if you have a burrower I would worry about her tunnel holding. And depending on how much heat she needed and whether she could do a kind of brumation/hibernation period for a couple weeks I wouldn't risk the cool down. With T's it's so much harder. With my roaches I turned off their heat pad, put them in a cooler part of the garage for a bit, they weren't fed anything for the first couple weeks, and for a good measure went another week without heat and only dry food. Afterwards it was business as usual. They also had their cleaner crew which helped as well. It's just a pain in the butt dealing with dangerous insects when you are already trying to keep something built like them
 
Top