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Urgent Grain Mite Problem

This is a discussion on Urgent Grain Mite Problem within the Waxworms, Mealworms, Maggots, etc forums, part of the Food: Live, Frozen, Freeze-Dried, Pellets, etc category; I've been keeping superworm, mealworm, and dubia roach colonies in the top of my closet on the side that has ...

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Old 29th June 2012   #1 (permalink)
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Default Urgent Grain Mite Problem

I've been keeping superworm, mealworm, and dubia roach colonies in the top of my closet on the side that has my reptiles. My closet has two set of doors, the insides connected. I have various reptiles in tub enclosures below. I have gotten a huge infestation of grain mites, and they have migrated to the enclosures, my clothes, the cords, etc.

What the hell do I do. I can't seem to figure out a way to get rid of them all. Will they go away with a little time? I stuck the tubs, the source of the problem, to sit in the bathtub, and now they're climbing up the sides of the tub. How long will it take for them to die off in my home if I remove the food source? I know they're not harmful, but it is disgusting to see them on everything I touch.



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Old 29th June 2012   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

I've been there and feel your pain. If you remove the food source and thoroughly vacuum and generally clean everywhere, you can expect to be rid of them in about 2 weeks. I tried spraying all the surfaces with an emulsion of clove oil, but it didn't do much; grain mites are tough little buggers. Also, I wouldn't say that they're harmless; they can cause dermatitis in humans, and I wouldn't want to expose my newts and sals to them in large numbers.



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Old 10th July 2012   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

Thanks for the help. I hadn't realized they could cause dermatitis - that would explain why my girlfriend and I both ended up very itchy and with small rashes when they had their first big outbreak! I moved the containers outside and found some reptile mite spray, which I sprayed around the cages and room since it is only deadly to invertebrates. The mites are now gone from our room, but they are still in my colonies. I have been trying to feed my colonies off. I haven't fed them anything, but I left their oat bedding in. I was hoping that without moisture the mites would go somewhere else and die, but they haven't moved out yet. I invested a lot in order to get my colonies going, so I really don't want to have to get rid of them all.

Is there a way to transfer my worms and roaches to new bedding without dragging the mites along, or at least decreasing the population enough to starve them out? I have thousands of meal worm babies that have doubled in size with no feed (probably eating each other. Good, I had too many) but I don't want to lose them all and have to start my colonies over again. I have heard that some people have had success putting mealworms in water, then pulling them out after 20 seconds. The mites apparently drown in that time, but the worms don't. I can see how that would work, since I've had superworms dive bomb into reptile water dishes and be alive after a few minutes. I wanted a better educated opinion, though. I can't use the mite spray on the colonies without killing my worms.



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Old 10th July 2012   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

You can greatly reduce the number of mites by thoroughly rinsing the roaches and mealworms in running water, using a sieve or something that lets the mites pass through the mesh and down the plughole but retains the roaches/mealworms, and then transferring them to fresh containers with fresh bedding. Dispose of the old bedding and wash the old containers out with a 10% bleach solution or boiling water or something if the containers are worth keeping, or just bin them if they're not.

After you rinse the roaches/mealworms, visually inspect them to see if they're relatively free of mites and continue rinsing them if they're still crawling with the little things. Rinsing will probably be more effective for the mealworms than for the roaches, since there aren't a lot of places for a mite to hide on the body of a mealworm.



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Old 10th July 2012   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

Thanks a lot! I'll do that tonight. I'm sick of these things, and very disgusted by what is in oatmeal. This is like the time I ate weevils in sunflower seeds. I need to start microwaving my oats longer, and clean out the uneaten food sooner. If I can at least save most my baby worms and my roaches, that would be great. Not sure if my beetles will make it. I hope they don't start flying. I have dermestids in with all of them too. Can't tell the difference between those beetles and my mealworm beetles anymore.



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Old 23rd December 2012   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

Grain mite infestations suck.
But thanks to this thread I think I saved my colony.



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Old 24th December 2012   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

This is pretty old, but I've had grain mites another time since. I've tried methods of freezing for 30-45 minutes or rinsing in water, and nothing works to kill them. My only luck has been with keeping multiple smaller colonies and isolating the ones affected (and keep them separated in the first place) to feed off from until it's no more. Luckily mealworms are very quick to build up, and I can go from 1000 to a couple thousand more in no time, so keeping them separate makes the loss of one not much of a problem.



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Old 24th December 2012   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

Another product that might help with control is anti-mite shelf paper. If you google that phrase you'll find many suppliers.



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Old 24th December 2012   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

I've tried all kinds of mite products. Grain mites are pretty resistant to anything short of fumigation.



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Old 24th December 2012   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Urgent Grain Mite Problem

I got rid of the inflected bran and washed their container out with hot water and dried it.
For the mealworms, I dunked lots of 10 in water, then individually rolled them dry on a paper towel, inspected it, and then popped it into new bran.

Why I decided to do that at 2am, I don't know

I got 218 mealworms, can't imagine what cleaning out a gran mite infestation in a colony of the thousands would be like

Also, I don't think I can get the anti mite paper in NZ



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