Mites in whiteworm cultures

Otterwoman

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In my cultures, springtails kept the mites in check , I think by competing for the extra food. Also I noticed if I put a piece of wood in there (twig) a lot of them would all crawl onto the twig and I could throw them away. I have also heard that pillbugs would eat them. I've also used mite paper, you can tape that inside the lid. I don't think that gets rid of them but helps them not come back.
 

esnailme

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Dawn,

Do you think if I put a portion of my spring tail culture into my white worm culture that it will decrease my mites?
 

Molch

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talking of whiteworms, what's a better way to harvest them? So far, I just put a few clumps of earth w. whiteworms into some water and wait till they all wriggle together and clump up, and then I take out the worm clumps.

But my cultures are booming now and I'd like to find a good way to quickly harvest larger numbers - how do you folks do it?
 

peter5930

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a stray thought - wouldn't the mites themselves be good food for small terrestrial newts?

I wouldn't try feeding them to terrestrial newts:

http://instruction.cvhs.okstate.edu/kocan/vpar5333/533ot3aa.htm

Harvest and grain mites . This group of mites isconsists of numerous species that live in grain and have been associated with dermatitis in both domestic animals and man. Infestatoins are most common in situations where grain is stored.
I had an explosion of grain mites in some cricket cultures that I kept on a shelf above my desk, and I ended up itching for a couple of weeks because of the mites getting on my skin and clothes. I doubt newts would appreciate having them on their skin either.

I spent a while last night separating mites from a bunch of my whiteworms so that I could start a mite-free whiteworm culture. All my other cultures are crawling with mites. There doesn't seem to be anywhere in the UK that sells mite paper except for dartfrog.co.uk, and I'm wary of using dichotomous earth since it's not entirely unlike asbestos, and not something I'd like to get in my lungs. Definitely not something I'd sprinkle in the carpets around the house, and I have a cocker spaniel who follows her nose everywhere, so she'd snort it into her lungs while sniffing for mice if any of it ended up on the floor of my garage, where I keep my whiteworm cultures.
 

jane1187

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Thought I'd add my thoughts after reading this post and buying diatomaceous earth.

I found it for sale online as a natural flea powder for cats and dogs, rather than at a garden centre (who all looked at me funny too!) I've used it and, along with regularly churning up the soil in the culture and not keeping it too moist, has kept me pretty much free of mites. Might be easier to look for it as a flea killer than garden fertiliser (also apparently you can eat it :confused:)

Also I don't know if Molch now has a different method of harvesting the worms now (that was posted in 2011) but Davo showed me a great method. Place a blob of porridge oats (ready-brek) onto the soil and then place a piece of glass, or a sheet of plastic, or similar item on top of the blob. The worms will then wriggle up into the gap between the soil and the flat glass surface (over time) and you can pick up a clump of worms with no soil or wipe them from the glass. Simple.

This webpage has photos of how it looks Harvesting White Worms for Aquarium Fish at Ken's Aquariums & Pond
 
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