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 Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought

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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/14/2010, 6:53 pm

So a few days ago I noticed that a cluster of mites were floating in the water dish in my tank. I replace the water everyday with fresh water and every time I do, more mites return. I've read all the other mite related posts and have an idea of how to distinguish between the good and bad types of mites. I scanned the tank and saw a few of the good mites running around, but also found a few on my scorpion Shogun not moving near his joints. I've put aside some dead cricket parts in a plant pot to try to start a larger colony of good mites to introduce to my tank. Shogun has been really active all day for some reason and just now as he was climbing the corner of the tank I got a good look at his underside and was very disappointed to see that he is covered in bad mites. I'm worried because the seem to be clustering around his book lungs. Based on the relative severity of the infestation what method of removal do you all think is most appropriate? Vaseline on a Q-tip? Submerging him in water? Moving him to a "dry out" holder? Wait for a colony of good mites to develop in the plant pot? Ahh I'm really stressing about it! pale
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The-New-Guy
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/14/2010, 9:44 pm

I hear vaseline is good, but i never tried it myself, my scorps have some mites but not anywhere near enough to worry about, too many good mites come in with my locusts
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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/14/2010, 11:48 pm

I may try the vaseline, my only hesitation is I've never handled him and dont know the safest (for him) way to stabilize him while smearing the mites off. The more I think about it, I think he came to us from the local reptile/exotics store with mites on him. This makes me think I should also consider housing him in a temporary set up, remove everything from the tank, take the substrate/hide to work where I can autoclave everything (one perk of working in a microbiology lab), and start his tank scene over. This time with a colony of good mites. What do ya think? I'll try to get a decent picture of Shogun's unwanted friends and post it.

Also, I'm not sure submersion is going to effectively rid Shogun of mites. I removed the first cluster of floating mites I found in the water dish and put them in a test tube of water so I could take them in to work and have a peak under a microscope. They've been floating in the tube for 3 days and still appear to be alive and moving themselves around in still water (implying they are not just dead and moving when the surface of the water is disturbed).
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 2:32 am

I had this problem with a female emp of mine once. My work seemed to knock down the bad mites, but she died several months later for reasons unknown (though this was during a move where I lost a lot of my collection).

I immobilized her by wrapping her in a dish towel such that she was upside-down and only her underside was exposed. By gently holding her in the towel this seemed to calm her down effectively (possibly like when Steve Irwin would throw a towel over a crocodile's eyes?). I gently dabbed some vaseline in a thin layer over the mites that were covering her genital operculum and booklungs. Additionally, I introduced predatory mites from other tanks in an effort to bump up the beneficials' population.

Within a few days the mites on her underside turned black as though they had died. I probably should have removed them at this point, but I neglected to (which may have ultimately contributed to her demise).

Those mites on your water, do they bounce? I've observed springtails utilizing surface tension to hang out on top of water.

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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 3:34 am

I havent observed any jumping springtails in the water. The mites in the water appear to be 2 different distinct sizes. Perhaps a combination of good mites and bad mites? I researched purchasing Hypoaspis sp online but cannot get a reasonable quantity for a reasonable price (but if I ever need an acre worth I know where to go) As I mentioned above, I'm trying to start my own colony. I have dead crickets in a plant pot and am hoping for a good turn out. Any tips to improve my chances?
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 4:18 am

The only other thing I can think of is to check the undersides of various leaves for them running about, but those species may only be able to survive on plants (they're about the size of newborn aphids). I've found them on hazelnuts and grapes -- but that was about all I looked at in the lab I used to work at.

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H. laoticus
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 6:24 am

A few members on Arachnoboard have had success submerging their scorpions in water for up to 45 minutes.
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 6:36 am

From what I read that was used more like an anesthesia for the scorpion so it would remain immobile while they removed the mites.

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binksyboy3
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/17/2010, 11:19 am

Mine became immobile when i submerged it.
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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/21/2010, 5:45 pm

Thank you to everyone who read and responded to this post! I thought I'd update everyone on how I decided to deal with the mites...

After no luck raising enough good mites on the dead crickets, we (my boyfriend and I) decided to try the Vaseline method. Shogun was extremely feisty through out the entire process. We first removed him from his tank and submerged him in water for about 5 minutes to see if he would calm down. He did not. We moved him to a shallow tote-like container with a dish towel (the container was to keep him from escaping into the apartment if he freed himself from the towel) We were able to manipulate him on to his back by carefully flipping the towel over. He struggled the whole time but we successfully smeared his affected areas with Vaseline. We let him relax on the towel in the tote while we washed out his tank with hot water and replaced the substrate with new coconut fiber. We have never tried to handle Shogun before so I'm sure our nervousness made the ordeal worse for him. Luckily he didn't appear to receive any injuries. He's back in his tank and seems to have started to relax. I think it's safe to say that this was the worst day of Shogun's life! Since we've had him (about 3 weeks) he's been a really consistent eater, eating about 2-3 crickets a week, but after this I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to have a stress related fast.
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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/21/2010, 5:50 pm

The-New-Guy wrote:
I hear vaseline is good, but i never tried it myself, my scorps have some mites but not anywhere near enough to worry about, too many good mites come in with my locusts

Do you mail order your locusts? If so, where from? I'd like to try them just because I feel that the crickets that I get from my local mega-chain pet store aren't in the cleanest of environments and definitely start to get sketchy
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/26/2010, 1:58 am

Check your scorp again in a day or two -- if the mites turn black, they're dead, and should probably be removed (probably with a Q-tip and the towel again, but no more vaseline).

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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/27/2010, 6:55 pm

Its been about a week and none of the mites have turned black Chin Scratch Plus, I found a cluster of mite squirming around in his water dish last night, so they are apparently alive and well. I'm guessing I didn't use enough Vaseline or it all wore off him right away. Shoot. I'm going to try ordering some predator mites online. The smallest order I can make is 7500 mites for $29.99 plus $30 shipping. My brilliant mother suggested contacting the exotics store he came from and talking them into buying the extra mites off me to treat their remaining emperors. This would make the whole thing more affordable for me and give me something to do with the extra 7300 mites I'll have left over...
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   1/28/2010, 12:23 am

If you buy live mites, make sure they're compatible with what you're using them for -- the only ones I've seen available are used to treat infestations of mites on plants, not on arthropods or soil.

Have you been able to find predatory mites in your other tanks?

FYI, the ones "squirming around in the water dish" may have been springtails . . . .

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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/3/2010, 1:59 am

According to information I found on other scorpion forums and sites Hypoaspis sp is a suitable species for this situation. Do you know of any research to back this up before I purchase them?

Unfortunately I do not have any other tanks as Shogun is my one and only. He's my companion scorpion.

The mites in the water only appear in the water after it is evident that Shogun has been in the dish. I change his water daily and can tell when he's been in there by the trail of substrate in the bottom of the dish. What are some characteristics of springtails that might help me positively or negitively ID the things in the water as springtails?
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LXDNG79
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/3/2010, 6:24 pm

I tried a method from a Tarantula forum...

1. one small film capsule with small holes punched into the lid...
2. Vaseline applied on the inside wall....
3. Insert dead cricket (or some water) at the bottom.
4. Insert film capsule into enclosure....

Tried it for my C. hentzi that was worrying me... the amount of mites i saw on her made me think she was a goner. After 2 days... about 70% of the mites were gone and my C. henti looked a lot better.

I threw away the capsule and set up a new trap... Hopefully this second try will rid them for good.
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Nomadinexile
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/3/2010, 7:16 pm

That's a great idea. Keep us updated please. I would change out substrate and clean cage thoroughly with 10% bleach at least once after it's clean of visible infestation, rinse COMPLETELY, then dry thoroughly. Refill with clean substrate and full scorp. You don't need to introduce food right away, and you could nip off any hatch-ups like that, plus, they can get up to an inch in sub I believe. Better just to clean. Then YOU shower and Change Clothes. Then refill and enjoy! Smile
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Mr. Mordax
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/3/2010, 11:30 pm

The trap method sounds interesting . . . Chin Scratch

If you hear people saying that Hypoaspis work, then you may as well try it. I've only seen them offered to control plant pests, but that was in a horticulture department where those would be the only relevant ads. Smile

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Nomadinexile
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/4/2010, 12:30 am

Mr. Mordax wrote:
The trap method sounds interesting . . . Chin Scratch

If you hear people saying that Hypoaspis work, then you may as well try it. I've only seen them offered to control plant pests, but that was in a horticulture department where those would be the only relevant ads. Smile

The Tarantula Keepers Guide-revised edition-Stanley A. Schultz and Marguerite J. Schultz-Copyright 2009, 1998-Barrons

P. 224 TIP
Mites and springtails are easily confused by the enthusiast. They are about the same size, both may appear as tiny white specks in the beam of a flashlight, and both may fall into the water dish to form a raft of faintly colored or colorless granules. Springtails seem to jump and disappear in the beam of a flashlight. Mites merely crawl. Springtails also possess a distinct "tail" when viewed under a magnifying lens; mites do not. Mites are a much greater threat than springtails.


P. 226 *I left out the part that says H. miles. (Don't believe me? Buy the book! It's good. We need a scorp version.)

The species that has the best reputation for controlling mites in a TARANTULA'S cage (Elliott, 1996,, West, 1995). Under optimal conditions they will destroy all infesting mites within a very few days. They will live for some time thereafter by preying on whatever other small creatures they can find, even eating algae, plant debris, and each other. Although they have been observed crawling on tarantulas, they apparently do not harm them (West, 1995)
These mites or their close relatives probably exist in the wild over much of North America, perhaps the entire planet.
Thus, it is possible that some hobbyists, especially those with larger collections, may already have a few of these mites resident.

~~~~~

I think there is a bright orange one here in Austin that can be on C. vittatus sometimes. They are large, and die out in captivity quickly. *I have not seen them on P. reddelli, even found under adjacent rock of C. vittatus with them.
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binksyboy3
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/4/2010, 2:41 am

^ Nice post! Razz
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LXDNG79
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/5/2010, 9:57 pm

Ok from what I know, at least.... springtails or other micro inhabitants are easily seen scurrying around... mites however move like little stars in the night or like at the speed of clouds in sky... that's how I differentiate them... those mites have really short legs so they look like they pushing forward on their belly like a snail... not that you will can see how short the legs are...

Oh yea... the film capsule mite trap really works... mites are gone! Now I'm out to get the rest out from the other tanks....

cheers
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Truj8488
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/8/2010, 11:23 am

So just to verify, the film canister trap can be used to trap the bad mites that are feeding on my scorpion's underside? Or is this method used to trap the good preditor mites?
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Majestic
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PostSubject: Re: Mite Infestation!!! Best removal sought   2/15/2010, 12:16 pm

can you show a picture of the trap so i get an idea what and how you do it Very Happy
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