preparing potting soil

kellygirl

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i just discovered mites in my potting soil and i think that may be why so many of my slings died recently. i dont know for sure, but could you guys please tell me how to prepare potting soil so that there are no mites? i remember people talking about microwaving but i'm not exactly sure how to go about doing that for such a large amount of soil. could someone walk me through it step by step? thanks!

kellygirl
 

Lasiodora

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Hi Kellygirl,
There have a couple of threads on that topic. Just type mites in the forum search. You'll find many answers to your question.
Mike
 

Lasiodora

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Oh, and are you sure they are mites. They may be harmless spring tails which are found in soil too.
Mike
 

kellygirl

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how do i know? they're tiny little white bugs.

kellygirl
 

Lasiodora

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I believe spring tails move a bit faster and are elongate in body shape.
Mike
 

kellygirl

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ok, i did a search on this forum to see how to go about microwaving soil and here is what i produced:

Code Monkey said:
"since we don't raise our animals in clean rooms, the minute you put the substrate into the cage it's fair game for whatever wants to move in there. Since you've killed off everything (or almost everything as the case may be ), what gets to move in with the less than natural selections of spores that occur in the household is anyone's guess. You're far more likely to get a lovely culture of a pathogenic mold or bacteria starting with a sterile medium than you are a "thoroughly infested" with relatively harmless bacteria and fungi medium. This is why I sterilise nothing and I don't sweat springtails, or even what are obviously just scavenging mites, - trying to eliminate what are harmless tank residents would just leave me open to getting actually harmful ones. As they teach you in ecology, only one species can dominate any particular environmental niche - so long as the niches are occupied by harmless flora and fauna, anything else would have to be an unusully good competitor to get a foothold."

"I doubt very much that sterilisation is necessary...But, really, it's probably unnecessary unless you suspect your petstore of having peat preloaded with parasitic mites."

"One of the things that occurs to me is that a lot of "mites" that people come here freaking out about probably aren't even mites at all, but rather some species of spring tail. There are literally 1000s of species of Collembola and to the (untrained) naked eye many are going to be indistinguishable... Since they also can feed on prey remains, are attracted to moisture, multiply quickly, and can be seen as small critters swarming over the cage and sometimes even the larger invert, I just wonder how many people work themselves up over a perfectly harmless scavenger?"

minax said:
"Actually, there's been good evidence to indicate sterilized potting soil could be more prone to mold/fungal growth. Source is[Tarantulas and other Arachnids;S.Marshall,2nd edition]. He believes this could kill the "good" bacteria and other things that provide a natural balance to resist mold/fungus. I have used this, apprehensibly at first, and have had no fungal/mold problems since. It does seem to fly in the face of logic in some ways, as he says in the book. You just have to make sure you have good quality soil, no bugs the main worry with non sterilized soil."

Wade said:
"The most common mites in T cages are scavengers and not parsites. The scavengers only become a problem when they multiply to large numbers and annoy the spider, some have been known to cluster around the mouth and booklungs. Most of the time, they come in on feeder crickets. Letting the tank dry out should help."




so the question is, do i even bother trying to get rid of these little guys? i have no proof that they are harming my tarantulas. i have yet to see one on one of my spiders. but they are definitely in the soil.

kellygirl
 

The_Phantom

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Sorry to hear u lost slings. How many did u lose ? Im not brave enough to try it with slings.:(
 

kellygirl

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9 slings... ouch. :( never had one die on me before this winter. of course, until august, i only had my rosie!!! lol. yall werent kidding when you said these guys were like potato chips (cant have just one!)

kellygirl
 

kellygirl

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please help me, someone! how do i know whether to treat for these little white bugs or not? if microwaving is bad, what should i do? i havent seen any on my Ts and there arent hoardes of them yet. but i dont want it to get bad.....

kellygirl
 

pauls

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Are you adament on using potting soil? Or is it required for your particular slings? If not, try going with peat moss/vermiculite mix. My rosie loves it. Just a thought

-Paul
 

kellygirl

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well potting soil is just what i happen to have right now. where can i get that stuff and how much does it typically cost? i've got about 50 spiders now but most of em are slings. so i dont need a LOT but i do need a fair amount.

kellygirl
 

pauls

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I got a small bag of vermiculite for around $5. It was enough to fill a 10gal tank 1-2" deep. The peat moss was around $5 as well. The bag I got filled my 2.5gal tank around 3" deep and I have enough left over for at least 5 more refills. I mixed my substrate 60% peat, 40% vermiculite. I've heard you can vary it depending on how much humidity your spiders need. The vermiculite holds humidity well, so use more if more is needed.
 

kellygirl

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thank you so much! :) i have heard that ratio before. i'm just gonna have to go out and get this stuff...

kellygirl
 
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