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Are these mites? (photo attached)

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by nicholo85, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. nicholo85

    nicholo85 Arachnoknight

  2. Hobo

    Hobo ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Staff Member

    Nope, that is a dead roach :p

    ...yeah, those are mites.
  3. PhobeToPhile

    PhobeToPhile Arachnoknight

    From what I know...yup. If that roach is six feet under, I would not be surprised at all. That there's a bonanza for them.
  4. nicholo85

    nicholo85 Arachnoknight

    and are these said mites harmful to the tarantula?
  5. Hobo

    Hobo ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Staff Member

    I wouldn't think they'd be, unless you are completely overrun.

    I had a much worse outbreak in a superworm colony a while back, with a fine dusting of mites visible crawling on the enclosure and surrounding areas. Rehoused the worms, trashed the old enclosure, and dried out some Ts enclosures that seemed to have a ton of mites. Problem (if any) solved.

    I've no doubt most, if not all, of my T enclosures have some compliment of mites, but they've never proven to be a problem for me, but I do generally keep things clean enough so they don't get out of control.
  6. Lorum

    Lorum Arachnosquire

    IME, mites can be a problem if they get out of control. At least, in the (maybe short) time when I worked with some Dendroctonus spp. (small Pine beetles), those who had a lot of red mites on them seemed to be more "weak" than the others.
  7. Since we're not card carrying acarologists who can identify mites in their sleep we assume that all mites are dangerous to all captive non-mite arachnids and religiously seek to exterminate them from our collection. The $64,000 question is how do you eradicate them from your roach colony now that they're infested. It's also likely that everything in the same room is now preparing to become mite infested as well! Beware!

    We know how to get rid of mites in a tarantula's cage (clean the cage, then keep it bone dry but with a water dish from now on, see http://people.ucalgary.ca/~schultz/mites07.html), but I don't think roaches will suffer such treatment for very long.

    I WOULD be most interested in hearing how others meet this challenge.
  8. Bill S

    Bill S Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Some people here do work with mites, and have even discovered new species and genera of them. I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your sentiment of killing all unknown life forms on the basis that a few of them might not be good. We spend a lot of time and effort trying to convince people that they shouldn't kill all spiders just because they think that a few might be dangerous. To then turn around and say that it's OK apply this bad attitude to other arachnids seems a bit hypocritical. As with spiders, I'm going to urge people to learn a little and exercise some cautious acceptance. As for the mites shown in the picture - they are obviously feeding on carrion. That is not a form of parasitism. That by itself should provide the necessary clues that no immediate threat exists. Follow this up with an examination of live animals in the vicinity (tarantulas or roaches) and if you see none on them, despite the presence of a concentration on a piece of carrion, and you should be able to rest more easily.

    The red mites that Lorum saw on the pine beetles may have been Leptus mites or something close. And if examination shows them attached to live beetles and feeding on them, it's a good bet that they could be a problem - to the pine beetles. But since there is often host specificity (or at least restriction to a narrow range of hosts), they probably wouldn't be a threat to tarantulas either.
  9. AbraxasComplex

    AbraxasComplex Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Predatory mites work great to get rid of other mites. Problem, which usually doesn't exist, solved.

    The ones in the photo are a scavenger, not a parasite. They feed on decaying animal and plant material. There is no need to freak. If you see a few on healthy adults or even tarantulas they are usually just catching a ride in the various more humid micro environments on their exoskeleton to be deposited on the next feeding site. Why expend energy finding food when another organism can do that for you? The issue is when the population gets too large and starts to coat joints and around the eyes. Then they just become an irritant for the larger organism.

    As for any feeder colony or terrarium an excess of mites usually just means the substrate is a touch too damp and/or there are far too many food sources available (dead feeders). A small population of mites will always exist in any feeder bin or tank unless the enclosure is bone dry, so doing the scorched earth technique to rid them is a futile endeavor in the long run. Dry the enclosure out a bit, remove food sources, and move on.
  10. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Even though there seems to be an endless list of mite species, the one we commonly have problems with is a kind of grain mite that comes in with crickets and meal worms. Crickets, meal worms and these mites eat the same grain foods, so they get on the crickets and the meal worms. They are creamy white, walk around slow, look just like the ones in the pic above superficially. All my money is on it. They eat decaying vegetable matter and rotting feeder parts. They go into a stage called the hypopus stage when food runs out and stick to your arthros. They form a hard shell like a mini-limpet in this stage so they are hard to get off. Endless info if you a search. Isopods do a great job at cleaning things up, leaving nothing for the mites to eat.

    Grain mites are small—0.2–1 mm; there are about 200 species spread throughout the world. The mites dwell in the soil, in accumulations of rotting matter, in burrows and nests of animals, and on the roots and green parts of plants, feeding on plant matter and microflora. They multiply intensively in humid areas.

    Grain mites are characterized by a special development phase, the hypopus, into which the nymph turns under such unfavorable conditions as insufficient moisture or food. Covered by a carapace, the hypopus is very resistant to external effects; it does not feed but migrates by attaching itself to insects and other animals. When favorable conditions are restored, the hypopus molts and begins a new colony of grain mites.

    Grain mites are carried into storage areas from the fields during harvesting. Grain and cereal products are damaged by the long mite (Tyrophagus noxius, Tyrophagus per-niciosus), the flour mite (Tyroglyphus farinae), the dark-legged mite (Aleuroglyphus ovatus), and others. Onions are damaged by the bulb mite (Rhizoglyphus echinopus); cheese by the cheese mite (Tyrolichus casei); and wine by the wine mite (Histiogaster bacchus), which dwells on the surface of wine.
  11. nicholo85

    nicholo85 Arachnoknight

    Very interesting and helpful replies. Much thanks goes out to everyone. I'll be examining the live roaches tonight.
  12. And I’m very happy for them and wish them continued success in their careers. But, the overwhelming majority of the members of this and its collateral forums are not so interested in mites, and are largely completely disinterested in their taxonomy and lifestyle beyond "how do I get rid of them." You just might be "preaching to the wrong church."

    Could you suggest one or two Internet forums for amateurs that deal primarily with mites? (I would think twice before openly advertising such a forum intended primarily for professional acarologists.)

    No, no, no, no! I am not advocating mass genocide of any species or other taxonomic group. I AM advocating killing all MITES when they are found in the cages with other arthropods that I am trying to keep. (But see the notes at the end.) This is very much like killing weeds in my lawn, uncaged mice and rats in my home, fleas on my cats and dogs, spider mites on my weeping fig, and chiggers in my back yard.

    Not "other arachnids" in a generic sense. "Other arachnids" in a very specific sense: mites in the cages with other arthropods. Specifically, mites that we can’t identify as being safe or desirable.

    Not in the least, no more than keeping a pet rat in a cage in your bedroom but setting traps for the wild ones in your basement or garage.

    And, I laud you for it. As long as they’re not mites in the same cage with my $300 Poecilotheria metallica, or any of my other treasured tarantulas, scorpions, or any other arthropods I may be keeping.

    You are quite correct. This is a common misconception by enthusiasts. In fact, very few mites have evolved to take advantage of the relatively singular niche of spider parasitization. However, history has clearly demonstrated that when even the non-parasitic mites reach overwhelming numbers in our tarantulas’ cages (and those of most other arthropods as well) the pets that we’ve spent so much money, time, and effort to acquire and maintain will die. As far as I know, although many have advanced a number of hypothetical explanations, no one has proven why they die, but the incontrovertible truth is that they do.

    But only long enough to arrange a full cleaning of the cage!

    Notes: I am given to understand that here are several species of commensal mites that live on millipedes and certain large tropical cockroaches that may be necessary for the host’s well being and survival. Perhaps someone with hands-on experience would be willing to verify or refute that.

    And, I am also keenly aware of predatory mites used in the hobby for controlling other mite infestations when cage cleaning becomes impractical.

    But, the fact still remains that very few of us who keep tarantulas, scorpions, and assorted other exotic arthropods can identify the mites we’re occasionally faced with, or care to expend the effort to try to do so. Let’s be realistic: Our primary focus is keeping tarantulas, scorpions, etc., not mites. Almost all of our interactions with mites are bad, and in our cages at least, mites are vermin to be eradicated.
  13. Formerphobe

    Formerphobe Arachnoking Arachnosupporter

    VA, USA
    Like several others have said, I can see the potential for non-parasitic mites to become a problem if allowed to get out of control. I don't let them get out of control.

    I know there are mites in my communal P. imperator tank. I see them occasionally working alongside the isopods doing their scavenger thing.
    On rarer occasion I will see a few in one of the tarantula enclosures, usually under a water bowl. I stir up the substrate so it dries faster, move the water bowl to a new location and refrain from overfilling it for awhile.
    I have never seen any mites actually on any of my chosen arachnids.

    The first time I found mites in an enclosure I freaked out. New enclosure, new substrate, bleached everything within a 20 foot radius, etc... Now i just practice husbandry that minimizes their chances to overpopulate. As one of my mentors suggests, they are just little garbage men.

    Should I ever find any of the little boogers on any of my Ts or scorps, then I would want to evaluate the overall health of that animal and exert more effort toward mite eradication.
  14. Lorum

    Lorum Arachnosquire

    Thank you for the clarification.
  15. Bill S

    Bill S Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Hi Stan. I guess we just have different approaches to things, and yours is probably the more civilized. :D A couple days ago we (my wife and I) collected some mites from a bat colony that lives on my front porch, and while Jillian was packaging them up to send them to another friend who specializes in these she discovered a Loxosceles spider (recluse) in the box she was using. She caught the Loxosceles and relocated it to behind a cabinet in the kitchen "where it could do some good". That evening while I was catching Triatoma kissing bugs off the windows and glass doors on the back porch (for another research project) I was joined by two skunks - a striped skunk and a hooded skunk. They each received a handout of some dried dog food (got to keep them happy). I get the feeling that you (and probably a majority of the people on this board) may have approached these situations a little differently. :D
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2011
  16. Not necessarily. But as I age I reminisce about wilderness, tent camping while in my late teens and twenties ... as I sit in my 36' motorhome with two air conditioners, solar power, satellite TV, a microwave, etc., etc., etc.


    (Uploaded with ImageShack.us)

    For years I tried tempting bats to live in and around our property. I was never successful. They are fascinating little critters. I was absolutely astounded to learn that there were over 1200 species of bats known to science.

    While I fancy myself a bit of a naturalist, I generally draw the line at my doorstep, sometimes at the property line. This part of planet Earth is mine. They can have the rest. And, if they violate that basic rule they do so at their peril. Generally, if there is any hope of merely relocating them without harming them or me I'll at least give it a try. If there is real danger involved for me and mine, however, I'm likely to use deadly force instead. I have as much right to enjoy my territory as any other creature on the planet does theirs. And, I reserve the right to use the same rules to defend it as they do.

    Having said that, I am impressed with your attitude and tolerance. May you enjoy your world at least as long as Marguerite and I have enjoyed ours. (BTW, Marguerite turns 89 on July 8th! Most of you can only hope to live so long and enjoy life so fully!)
  17. Chripin

    Chripin Arachnopeon

    Thanks for rubbing it in. ;P
  18. Formerphobe

    Formerphobe Arachnoking Arachnosupporter

    VA, USA
    There is no hope, Stan, short of intense anti-parasitic treatment, then moving into a sterile bubble. Dermatophagoides and Demodex come to mind. Only problematic in allergic or immune-suppressed individuals, but present none the less, whether we like it or not. :)
  19. I am keenly aware of house dust mites and hair follicle mites. I'm also pretty liberal when it comes to widow and recluse spiders, and I take great joy in digging in all sorts of "yucky" places just to see what's there. I only get excited and defensive when some of the 10 million (by some estimates) living organisms on planet Earth threaten to cause me and/or family and/or my valued pets discomfort, money, health, life, and limb.

    One of my most favorite books is still Ralph Buchsbaum's Animals Without Backbones. As a result of reading it, I almost never eat poorly cooked meat, sushi is definitely off my food list, and outside of the USA and most of Europe, even vegetables that aren't thoroughly cooked are avoided.

    One of my fondest nightmares is elephantiasis!

    Be afraid. Be very afraid. {D