Mites, how bad?

Sebby

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Hello all,
sorry if I have missed a post with this info but I am interested in what problems mites cause in fruit fly cultures.
Although some people find them very irritating, causing an itching sensation (including myself) and they obviously take food from the flies we are trying to breed, can anyone point me in the direction of any papers or obvious problems they have experienced with them?
Any problems such as, irritations on animals, drastic reductions in fly (or other food animal) numbers?
Thanks for any help received
Sebastian
 

Coastal Groovin

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Mites just ruin fly cultures. The cultures will just not produce the amounts they should. If you get them it's best to just start over.
 

Greatwtehunter

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Mites will destroy a fruit fly culture if their numbers explode. You will always have mites in your cultures, there is no way around that. There are some things you can do to reduce the amount of mites. Always use boiling water when starting new cultures. Before you add the flies, microwave your cultures for about 20 seconds. Also, keeping the cultures on some type of mite paper (just remember to change the paper about every 3 months) will reduce the number of mites that crawl into your cultures.
 

Coastal Groovin

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I never get mites. Now I know it's cause I boil my water....lol.
 

Mark

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Itchy skin, sneezing and sometimes wheezing is the affect they have on me. :mad:

I always assume my fly cultures will have mites. You can sterilise as much as you like but there'll nearly always be mites carried across with the flies used to start the next culture. As Justin says, sitting the cultures on mite paper really helps to reduce the numbers.

I us a commercial mix for my fly medium and despite large numbers of mites towards the end of the culture I still get plenty of flies. Once you have a steady culture cycle mites just become part of the cycle too. When starting new cultures just make sure the new pots, medium and rafia are as mite free as you can make them.
 

Jennewt

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I cultured fruit flies for years with zero mites. But since moving house 8 years ago, I've had a battle with them. I've tried starting over with a fresh starter culture of flies and boiling everything and using mite paper. But now I have the mites again, in spite of my efforts. I think I'll just have to persist and accept the lower yield of flies.
 

Molch

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huh. I've never had mites, and I don't boil the medium. I do use a bit of yeast in the medium - maybe that deters mites as well?

Are these the same mites you get in worm cultures - those fat, shiny, whitish balloon like ones?
 

Jennewt

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I am using dry mix from Carolina Biological, plus a sprinkle of yeast. I don't think yeast deters them.

Yes, the mites are those lovely fat shiny white ones. I don't know if they are the same species as the ones that get in worm cultures, but certainly similar.
 

Molch

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would those fat lil mites be a good food for young terrestrial newts? They certainly look juicy..
 

oceanblue

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If you've got mites and really want to minimise or get rid of them daily transfers of a few flies across culture medium may work. Moving cultures on fast helps control them. One reason D hydei is more tricky is it is slower than mites to breed while D. melanogaster is quicker. It also has a long post emergence period of sexual immaturity for the males (10 days).

I've only just started culturing D hydei so at the moment I can't give much in the way of practical tips but if my cultures look infested I'm going to attempt to achieve clean cultures.

Here is how the professionals control mites! Mites and how to avoid them
 
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