YIKES! we have been invaded!

rapunzel

Arachnodemon
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Jan 17, 2003
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I just read the thread about bed-a-beast so that is out of here! I have dealt with mold already but now there are creatures in my T container. Only one of them..little white crawling things. About forty of them! I don't know HOW they are there or where they came from...they appear to be mites..but I thought mites were red. These are white. They look like grains of moving sand. Or salt.
My sling is only about an inch and a half..and is currently webbed up inside of a film canister hide..premolt. I have no choice but to get it out of there, and throw out all my substrate in all my containers.
Straight peat it shall be....as soon as a store opens.
 

KelliH

Arachnosquire
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bed a beast

The same thing happened when I used bed a beast in my T. blondi enclosures. Well, actually bed a beast mixed with vermiculite. I saw the same little white bugs, yuck, I assumed they were mites and immediately switched to a peat/vermiculite mix. I have bed a beast/vermiculite in a couple of my other T enclosures and in several lizard enclosures in the past also but have not experienced any problems. I guess because the blondi enclosure is kept much more humid and the substrate is damper in places it is more condusive to mites and other nasties.

No problems so far with the peat (knock on wood), it's been about 6 weeks since I switched.
 

Infinity

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I had the same problem with BAB the first (and only) time I used it... Gross little mites cruisin' around in the substrate is not a sight that any T keeper wants to come home to. :8o

We've been sticking with a peat/vermiculite mix for all of our t's with no problems, although with the recent cancer scare in the media with respect to vermiculite, I've been trying to come up with some safe alternatives as the horticulture variety isn't always easy to find.

I've found that most commercial mix pet substrate with wood products tends to produce mites and such... has anyone had any luck with any other products?
 

sunnymarcie

Celestial Spider
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vermiculite is easy to find

Frank's Nursery has it all the time,
it is one of their products, and comes in
a gold bag. You should find it with the
orchid bark at most of their stores. :)
 

Infinity

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Re: vermiculite is easy to find

Originally posted by sunnymarcie
Frank's Nursery has it all the time,
it is one of their products, and comes in
a gold bag. You should find it with the
orchid bark at most of their stores. :)
Yes, I've seen it there as well, however, it's usually not as heavily stocked as some of their other items... I usually get as much as I can carry when I see it.

We have well over 100 T's, so I've been trying to find some place to get the horticulture variety in bulk, since the contractor grade is questionable, these days. :confused:
 
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ceaser68

Arachnosquire
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Feb 2, 2003
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ok but does anybody know how to get rid of them and if not are they a hazard ???? to my T :confused:
 

MizM

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I have used straight peat moss for 12 years and have never had a pest... I use vermiculite for my slings so I can keep them a little more "moist" and am able to see them. If you happen to experience mold, just drop in a couple of roly-poly bugs. They luuuuuv mold!

See The Tarantula Keeper's Guide by the Schultz's... the best advice for little buggies AND how to rid yourself of them! If you don't have or can't get this book... e-mail me and I will type up the chapter for you!

Good luck.
 

deifiler

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they wont do any harm, if you notice they are only present in areas where the water levels are higher, which also means they drowned (what a stupid life cycle...)

i get them with standard peat, the way to get rid is to vastly increase the ventilation... you'll notice a change in aweek or so

or bake the substrate to kill them
 

Baphomet

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This is quite often encountered in the Herp industry as well. Yes, what you are experiencing is a type of mite...and although very unsightly, they are harmless to T's.

Here is an easy (and harmless) way to rid your substrate of these ugly little mites...NIX brand lice shampoo.

Delute it 50-50 with water, and spray directly on the substrate...be sure to remove any water dishes from the cage first.

...this is also a common treatment for mites one finds on snakes.

Of course, if you have the resources available, replacing or switching to a different substrate is desireable.

Good luck!
 

MrDeranged

He Who Rules
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Where did you get that information from? I would think that if it killed mites, it would be harmful to T's as well. Have you ever tried it with T's?

Scott
 

rapunzel

Arachnodemon
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if mites are arachnids...

and Ts are arachnids, i dont know how a product could differentiate between the two critters...BUT, i will check it out on a site for one of the products and see what I come up with....
 

Henry Kane

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No, don't ever use any chemical intended to kill any bugs on your T.
Tarantulas have no immunity built up to chemicals and are likely more sensative than even common house spiders, yard spiders/insects etc..
Using the chemicals on herps is one thing but I would never advise using them on your inverts.

On another note, the idea that mites are harmless is also debatable. Mites in small numbers may not hurt your T. Ignoring them and letting them thrive under the assumption that they are harmless will quickly lead to stress and yes, eventually death. They can infest your T's joints, mouth and book lungs which is obviously a concern to say the least.
Also, if the T's enclosure is in a state that is promoting mites, that may be a reason to maintenance your tanks in itself.

Not trying to shoot down anyone's info, just speaking from my experience.

Atrax
 

Henry Kane

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Oh, btw, you can beat the mites. It takes some work but it can be done.

What you do is simply quarantine your T or T's in deli-cup. It will need to be kept in there for a couple days or so.

Try and determine where the mites originated from. Check any leftover bagged substrate, prey tanks, etc.. They can also hitch hike in on prey items sometimes as well. It's a good idea to buy your prey from respectable sources. Avoid buying prey from shops that aren't maintenanced well. (nasty, unkept prey/animal enclosures and such)

Completely empty, wash, and sterilize your T's enclosure along with all inorganic accessories. You can do this with very hot water and a 5% bleach solution.

Throw away all organic decorations. Do not reuse them.

It's probably a good idea to do the same with your prey enclosures if you keep one as well.

Purchase brand new substrate, don't use any leftover substrate as it's likely that if your T's home is infested, it will be too. That may also be the original sourse of the pests anyway. Sterilize your new substrate as well. You can bake it or microwave it to do this.

I would recommend a peat/vermiculite mix. The issue of substrate is a touchy topic but peat/verm seems to be the least problematic as far as mites may go. You can go with straight vermiculite but a lot of T's don't like it. (Straight verm looks pretty drab too.) The percentage of the mix will depend on the specie of T. The more humidity the T requires, the greater the percentage of vermiculite. (I wouldn't personally use any higher than 50% vermiculite.) For the species that require less humidity, I'd recommend something in the range of 65-70% peat to 30-35% vermiculite.
This is not scripture but as I said, you can't really go wrong with this substrate where mites or mold are concerned.

If you keep several inverts near the infested enclosure, it's very likely they have the mites as well which means that (unfortunately) if you want to be 100% fool-proof, do those enclosures too.

Do not mist or pre moisten the new enclosures. Let them sit dry for the 2 or 3 days that your T is quarantined.

Keep the quarantined T as dry as it will tolerate in good health. Keep a good eye for signs of dessication though. Most T's will tolerate being dry for a couple days with no problems.

After 3 days or so, closely inspect the T and it's deli-cup to make sure there are no signs of mites. If there are none, introduce the T to it's fresh enclosure. Make sure there's fresh water, the T will likely be a bit thirsty. It's probably fine to mist and get the T back to it's required humidity level. You will need to carefully monitor the enclosure. If there are any signs of the pests returning, completely repeat the entire process. If you didn't get them the first time, you will likely eliminate them completely the second time...I did.

Sounds like a big pain in the butt (ummm...'cause it is) but it works.

Hope this info is useful to someone.

Atrax
 
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Vayu Son

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><

Atrax is right.

I had a mite infestation but curbed it before it got too bad. Sterilize the container and quarantine the T in an ICU, switching it every 8-12 hours. If the T seems clean, place him in the new container, and watch out.

-V
 

Baphomet

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1. Where did you get that information from?
2. I would think that if it killed mites, it would be harmful to T's as well.
3. Have you ever tried it with T's?


#1. The information was passed on to me by a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles. This was also confirmed by a Entemologist who I spoke to at a local university.

#2. How is it that many medications can differentiate between fleas & ticks...they too are from the same order.

When used for snakes, the solution used is 75/25.

Yes, I have tried it with the following T's with no ill effects:

Grammastola rosea
Pterinochilus murinis


I have NOT used nor tried this with Arthropods.


4. On another note, the idea that mites are harmless is also debatable. Mites in small numbers may not hurt your T. Ignoring them and letting them thrive under the assumption that they are harmless will quickly lead to stress and yes, eventually death.
5. They can infest your T's joints, mouth and book lungs which is obviously a concern to say the least.


#4. This is true, as with any animal that has a infestation of or in its enviroment.

#5. The type of mites that inhabit and thrive in various substrates is of a different class than those that can infect/infest a T.
BUT, be sure you know the difference as the life-cycle of many mites that are harmful to the animal itself also start thier life-cycle in most substrates.

I will agree 100% that one should NEVER use popular products for reptiles such as Mite-B-Gone, Mite-Away, or Vapor-strips with Arachnids. These and many other popular products designed for reptiles are indeed much too potent for T's.


Most mites found in differing substrates thrive on fungi, mold, or both that is harbored by such substrates...not the living tissue, blood, nor secretions of living animals.

I would also like to add that trying to kill-off a population of mites found in ones cage substrate should only be tried once, not on a continual basis. If after the first treatment the infestation returns, thouroughly clean and sterilize the tank/cage, and replace the substrate with fresh.

...for those so interested, one of the worst products (substrates) I have found for these type of mite infestations is a product sold under the Brand name: Forest Floor.
 

MrDeranged

He Who Rules
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Originally posted by Atrax
The dryer the T requires, the greater the percentage of vermiculite.
Gary,

I think you may have that backwards. The vermiculite is better at retaining water than the peat is. If you need a dryer tank, you would want less vermiculite, not more... :)

Scott
 

Henry Kane

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Originally posted by mrderanged
Gary,

I think you may have that backwards. The vermiculite is better at retaining water than the peat is. If you need a dryer tank, you would want less vermiculite, not more... :)

Scott
Oops! I knew that. You're right Scott. I must have spaced out for a minute. Thanks for pointing that out. :) I edited the post so as not to confuse anyone.

Atrax
 

Blue_neutrino

Arachnopeon
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Feb 18, 2003
Messages
3
The use of Head lice shampoo, doesn't have to be very harmfull to your spider.

Hello,

I have a degree in Chemistry, and I think in this case the use of head lice shampoo is worth trying but only as a last resort.

First I would try to dry the spider cage out, and keep it clean.
If that does not work, and the mites have attached themselves to the spider then I would try the use of chemicals.

Permethrin (the active ingredient in NIX head lice shampoo), is a man-made insecticide, structurally similar to a naturally-occurring chemical called pyrethrum. Pyrethrum was initially derived from the crushed dried flowers of the daisy Chrysanthemum, whose insecticidal properties have been recognized since the 18th century. The permethrin which is currently sold to consumers is a synthesized product that was developed in the 1970's.
Permethrin works as a contact insecticide, damaging the nervous system of insects which come in contact with it, leading to either their death or "knockdown".
Permethrin is also effective against mites (mites are not insects)!
Permethrin has a half-life less than 30 days in soil.

T's and mites are very closely related, so what is bad for the mite will also be bad for the spider.
But you have to keep in mind that mites are a lot smaller (and have a thinner exoskeleton).
This means that mites have a relatively larger body surface (by weight), and take in a much higher dose of the contact-toxic by means of diffusion.
The relatively larger body surface is also the reason mites dry out a lot faster.

I'm sure Permethrin has a side-effect on the spider, but due to the lower dosage in the spider than in the mite it will be (far) less.
It is the choice between two evils. Mites are harmfull and even deadly because they can molt inside the book lungs of the spider


Peter



P.s.: I once tried alcohol on an adult Pterinochilus mammilatus to dry the attached mites out. But because this species is so aggressive the alcohol got on the abdomen (lungs) and the spider got really really drunk.
 

Henry Kane

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I simply do not see the point in taking the risk of using any chemicals when there is a safer alternative. Especially in the case where an expensive or rare T is concerned. There is no need for chemicals as a "last resort" when again, there is a safe and viable alternative.
Most people are aware that mites are arachnids. That being the case, (and as just stated above) what will harm the mites will harm the T. Being that mites are much smaller, clearly what effects them will not effect the T as much, (due to difference in size) but then what would be the ratio of the amount of pesticide that will kill mites with minimal effects to your T. That cannot be answered without actually experimenting on your T. Unfortunately you won't know what amount will harm your T until you HAVE harmed your T, no? Plus, since we are talking about killing the mites, then is that to say that you will only be 20% killing your T as a side effect?

I myself and many others have beat the mite problem with NO risk or harm to the T by simply using the methods I mentioned earlier in the thread.
As far as anyone else's T's or money are concerned, do as you please, they're your bugs. I'm simply stating that there is absolutely no need whatsoever to even CONSIDER using pesticides. It's a completely unnecessary risk to which no one here can predict the outcome. The idea of suggesting pesticides as a last resort is ludicrous IMO because there is no "last resort". Mites are not immortal. You just have to put a little effort into it and be very thourough...plain and simple.
Not to knock anyone's education in chemistry but knowing what the chemical is composed of doesn't really help unless an actual measured amount of said chemical that will absolutely not harm the T (yet still kill the mites) can be stated.


Atrax
 
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Henry Kane

Arachnoprince
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I also want to add that sometimes juvie T's and s'lings can get infested too. Some species even as adults are quite small. If there ever were a safe ratio of pesticide that would kill mites and still somehow not hurt your T, that amount would obviously be minimalized to pose the absolute least possible risk to your inverts, no? That being the case, how could there be a measured amount of pesticide that would be effective against mites but not on T's of various size?
That pesticide theory isn't possible in that aspect.

Atrax
 
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