Millipede mites: good/bad, can they spread to other animals?

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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We got two giant black millipedes at the pet store where I work, and they have mites. The owners freaked out and wanted to kill them, I said I would take them but they started using reptile mite spray on them :eek:

I've read some conflicting info on the nature of the mites on millipedes, is it a symbiosis or are they true parasites? They are the reddish ones that I've seen on countless millipedes before, including ones I owned and at other pet stores and insect museums, etc.

The most important question is - will the mites be able to spread and possibly infect other animals? I have a feeling they are host specific but I want to be able to tell my bosses that I heard it from other people and am not just pulling information out of my ass. I have to hand it to them they are very careful about not wanting to spread any parasites or diseases amongst the animals in the store, we try to take great care of the animals we have, thats why they were worried. They don't do much with invertebrates though, I'm the one who suggested getting the millipedes, so now they're looking to me for answers :rolleyes:

Anyone here that can help?
 

Ted

Arachnoprince
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i await some good firsthand opinions here..
i have never had any prob's..they seem to stay on their specific host.
but i cant say i have a definitive answer.

*waits for one, lol*
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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Yeah I tried explaining I had a millipede for years and mites never appeared on any of my other pets... but we've had a few snakes turn up with mites (totally different kind, the black ones) and so they're super paranoid now.
 

Ted

Arachnoprince
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Yeah I tried explaining I had a millipede for years and mites never appeared on any of my other pets... but we've had a few snakes turn up with mites (totally different kind, the black ones) and so they're super paranoid now.
understandable..i am curious as top the answers you may get in here.
 

christin

Arachnosquire
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I had a millipede some years ago, along with a few T's. I never had a problem. The mites always stayed on the milli, never got out of control, couldn't be seen anywhere else in her enclosure. I never kept the cages near each other. I am interested to find out what others think.

I have recently been debating on getting another milli, but I too had some concerns about the mite thing.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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My biggest concern right now is them using the reptile mite spray - isn't that stuff toxic to *all* invertebrates??
 

millipeter

Arachnoknight
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Most of the mites on millipedes stay on their specific host. I tested if the normal mobile mites on A. gigas also survive on several other tropical millipede species but they did not.
Maybe there are some mite species that are not associated with only one species but till present there are no reports on that.

I wouldn't use such products cause it will most likely kill the millipede too. These products work on the nervous system of (all) invertebrates or on the tracheae.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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Yeah I didn't think of it yesterday while I was there, but today I'm going to let them know that most likely that stuff *will* kill the millipedes. I remember now reading on the bottle that you can't use it on arachnids so I'm assuming it's also not good for other inverts.
 

Bark

Arachnoknight
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You can't get rid of them all, but you can reduce their numbers by cotton swabbing them off and drying out the cage/container they are housed in. The millipedes get a little P.O.'d when there are too many mites and you will see them quickly twist and coil like a snake to get some of them off. I have even seen a millipede bang itself against the glass to crush a few of these things.

I have 2 A Gigas in with a Madagascar Hisser and the roach doesn't have any of the millipede mites on it. I also have some tarantulas on the same shelf as the millipedes and none of the mites have migrated to other cages. I did find a few silverfish in multiple containers though.

I have often wondered if it would be ok to use compressed air to blow the mites off or if that would hurt the milli.
 
Last edited:

spydrhunter1

Arachnolord
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In the text book Invertebrate Medicine by Gregory A. Lewbart there is a very good write up about ectoparasites of myriapods. The fast mobile mites are seen as beneficial and should do no harm and should be left alone. If mite numbers are excessive (millipedes may rub against the substrate for relief) or parasitic mites are evident (grey sessile mites), then control may be attempted. Methods can include:
1. Washing the millipede under a steady stream of warm water.
2. Washing the millipede as above, then coating with flour and placing on a porous screen. Coated mites will fall off and through the screen. Rinse off the millipede after an hour.
3. House with terrestrial isopods that will eat the mites ( they may also eat millipede eggs).
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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See, that's what I thought. I know I have heard that the small reddish mobile one's aren't really a problem. It's the fat grey/black ones that are bad. The ones we have at the store, are just the little reddish ones that run around.

I almost got fired today for bothering one of the bosses about it. :wall:

First they wanted to kill them, then they wanted to give them to me, then they wanted to cure them by spraying reptile mite spray on them, then I told them it would kill them and they didnt seem to care. I tried, very nicely, explaining what I knew. But they are keeping the millipedes OUTSIDE because they are freaked out. Said they called the company and they had appologized up and down because the millipedes werent supposed to have mites.

Sigh.

I hope they'll change their minds and let me keep them instead of killing them.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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Well, yesterday I took the two millipedes for $20 (the price they paid for them apparantly)... one of them wasn't looking so hot, and this morning it was very nearly dead, and now, it is quite smelly dead. :( Their mite numbers had definitely dwindled so the mite spray did its job. sigh.

I just really hope the other one survives, I love giant millipedes, used to have them for many years when I was younger. The one that's left is bigger, very pretty, and ate a huge leaf of lettuce last night while I watched. Very difficult to tell the sex because it wont uncurl its head quite enough to see the correct segments. I was able to sex the dead one as a male though.

The 10 gal tank is set up with three inches of eco-earth partly mixed with grass clippings from outside, a chunk of moss, scatterings of oak leaves, a water dish, and two pieces of bark as hides. I also found the scattered carrot pieces munched upon.

I'm going to call it Nagini, because I just finished reading the last harry potter book and I don't have any more snakes that need names, hehe.
 

spydrhunter1

Arachnolord
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Congrat! Sorry you lost the male. Maybe you should try and wash off the miticide.
 

AviculariaLover

Arachnoknight
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One of the girls at work, who had realized what the others had done only once it was too late, washed them off right away, and I did once I brought them home... but the smaller one I guess was too badly affected.

I really like the other one though, last night it uncurled and was crawling on me for over an hour.... they're so fascinating. Don't understand how my bosses can think they are so gross, I think they're cute!

I'll take pics soon.
 

Vanilla

Arachnosquire
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My millipede is housed with some isopods.They have bred too,so I have a nice colony going on.Anyway I also use a small brush and wipe the mites off when they breed too much and there are too many.

In my experiance the mites will not leave the millipede and I have watched them scramble around looking for a host,once they have been wiped off.They have never once affected my other animals or the humans in the house.
 
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