White Mites in GBB enclosure

Stella Maris

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
172
I received my GBB sling about a 1 1/2 weeks ago and noticed today while feeding him for the first time there were 2 very tiny mites I could see crawling around the wall of the container. Substrate has been kept dry and keep the water bowl full. I have kept my GBB in the same 16 oz container I received him in; I'm not sure what type of substrate he is in.

I have been checking his water bowl and don't see any mites congregating in any wet places. I'm assuming it's safe for me to be paranoid and I will have to rehouse him into a new container/new substrate/etc.?

I'm not exactly sure what kinds of mites these are but I'm assuming they're "bad." Help?
 

Stella Maris

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
172
Well I guess I'm not crazy then, because I could have sworn about 2 weeks ago I saw a tiny white mite crawling on top of my dresser that houses most of my tarantulas. Which means that they must have come from either one of my other tarantula enclosures or from the feeder crickets.

My anxiety and paranoia are now clouding the logical part of my brain, and I'm not sure what to do to pinpoint where they are coming from. I have only seen them crawling on the walls of an enclosure or on top of my dresser; I haven't seen any crawling on any of the substrate.
 

Devin B

Arachnobaron
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
326
Like KezyGLA said if there isnt a significant amount its probably nothing to worry about. If I were you I woukd make sure there is nothing for mites to eat in your enclosures such as dead prey or leftover bolus laying around.
 

boina

Lady of the mites
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Mar 25, 2015
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Mites come from everywhere. They are a normal part of every environment. Mite eggs can spread through the air. I don't know why people panic when they hear the word "mites". They are a helpful and necessary part of the normal soil fauna. Do you have plants? They may even come from there. As I said: They are normal, even helpful and necessary. Ignore them. And DO NOT rehouse your T. They cannot live in dry soil anyway, that's why you always find them drowned in the water bowl. If you rehouse it they will probably be back in a matter of days anyway.
 

sasker

Arachnoangel
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Messages
794
If you feel that there are too many of them, you can try to get rid of them by keeping your terrarium completely dry, safe for a small water bowl (and don't overflow it). The mites will be attracted to the water and you will find them floating on the surface. Just rinse the water bowl daily with hot water before refilling and you will see that there will be fewer of the mites in the water every day. This is how I managed a minor mite infestation in my Euatlus sp. red enclosure.

If there are too many mites, or if your T needs to be kept moist you can try the following: take a small pill jar with tight fitting lit and drill small holes in the lid (big enough for the mites, too small for your T to get through). Put Vaseline on the inside of the pill jar and then a dead prey item. Then burrow the pill jar halfway in the substrate where the spider usually doesn't go. The dead prey attracts the mites and they get stuck on the Vaseline. This should solve your problem.

Success!
 

boina

Lady of the mites
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Mar 25, 2015
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2,205
If you feel that there are too many of them, you can try to get rid of them by keeping your terrarium completely dry, safe for a small water bowl (and don't overflow it). The mites will be attracted to the water and you will find them floating on the surface. Just rinse the water bowl daily with hot water before refilling and you will see that there will be fewer of the mites in the water every day. This is how I managed a minor mite infestation in my Euatlus sp. red enclosure.

If there are too many mites, or if your T needs to be kept moist you can try the following: take a small pill jar with tight fitting lit and drill small holes in the lid (big enough for the mites, too small for your T to get through). Put Vaseline on the inside of the pill jar and then a dead prey item. Then burrow the pill jar halfway in the substrate where the spider usually doesn't go. The dead prey attracts the mites and they get stuck on the Vaseline. This should solve your problem.

Success!
DO NOT do that, especially in a moist enclosure. You want a healthy population of soil fauna to eat tarantula poop and fungus spores - and mites are part of it. With this method you kill off anything beneficial that lives in there, not only mites, but also spring tails and everything else and that's very good for any fungal spores wanting to settle in there. Very, very bad idea.

Instead, if you really have more mites than you are comfortable with in a moist enclosure introduce some springtails. They will outcompete the mites.
 

sasker

Arachnoangel
Joined
Oct 9, 2016
Messages
794
@boina I agree that most mites one finds in his terrarium are saprophyte and thus harmless. However, there are some species that are parasitic. Severe infestations of even harmless mites could potentially threaten the well-being of the tarantula.

Mites may be harmless, but personally I prefer not to have them. It's my personal preference to keep them at bay. If the OP feels the same way about mites as I do, I think the methods I proposed could be helpful. If you disagreed with my post because I proposed something that could be dangerous to tarantulas, please let me know. I may unknowingly be doing something wrong and your advice is much appreciated :)
 

Stella Maris

Arachnoknight
Joined
Jan 28, 2017
Messages
172
While I don't necessarily disagree with the fact that white mites can be beneficial, what about the fact that I live in close proximity to other people (family) and other animals (cats and dogs, who do have anti-flea/anti-pest gel)? Are these mites generally found existing only among tarantula enclosures in a household?

I know for a fact that they are moving outside of the tarantula enclosures at least in my dresser area, perhaps only looking for decaying/organic matter to feed on in other enclosures. Can they eventually spread to the rest of my bedroom and therefore the rest of my house if they can hitch rides on people or other animals?

That's what I'm afraid of, not really the mites themselves. I don't want an infestation of white mites in my bedroom. While us invert people might appreciate some beneficial aspects of white mites in tarantula enclosures other people will not, and other people will not listen to me.

So my solution appears to be either 1) get rid of all my tarantulas or 2) introduce isopods/springtails. I do admit I like the idea of introducing isopods, but what is shipping isopods like. Do they get overnight shipped for $40 like tarantulas or can they survive better in U.S. Mail for several days ie cheaper shipping?
 

Ellenantula

Arachnoking
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Sep 14, 2014
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I hate all mites.
My ball python had snake mites and I had no peace of mind until they were eradicated. I felt the same about grain mites when my mealies had them.
Logically and in theory -- I can understand the concept of beneficial mites, even accept we share our homes with millions of various mites unbeknownst to us.
But if I am actually seeing them in a T enclosure -- I would thoroughly clean the enclosure and change the substrate -- basically do a rehouse and start over.
I don't deny that mine is NOT expert advice or even necessarily good advice. I know many keepers let mites run their course and do nothing and all ends well.
But me? I gotta try to eradicate mites. I feel itchy just thinking about mites. (shudder) I am no mite expert so I certainly couldn't look at a mite and know if it were a beneficial or harmful one. I suspect many other T keepers may not know either. I do know it's worse to see mites on a T than just in an enclosure.
Are you sure it's not springtails -- 'cuz they are different and truly are harmless, imo. (I have kept a springtail colony for several years, actually).
But if it's mites, sorry, my advice is always going to be to get rid of them. Pronto.
Especially if they were in my bedroom.
I am so sorry -- you have my full empathy for your plight. Good luck.
 
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