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How to keep mites out of FF cultures ?
#1
Can anyone give me some advice on keeping mites out of fly cultures ? They have invaded and in some cases wiped out my flies. I am ordering some mite paper from Black Jungle and I know there are some additives for cultures to prevent or treat this mite problem. I have found a few tips on websites, but would love to get input from everyone here.

Thanks
1.1.1 Hawaiian Auratus (reticulated), 1.2.2 Leucomelas, 3.2.1 Cobalt Tincs, 1.0.0 Kauluha & Creme / Camo Auratus, 2.0.1 Yelloback Tincs, 0.0.4 Azureus, 1.1.0 Spotted Auratus
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#2
While I have never heard this from others, I don't seem to get mites when I use coffee filters, but always get them towards the end of cultures (4-6 week old cultures) when I use excelsior. It could be just that they blend in with the coffee filter.

I have never used mite paper, but I heard you need to change it every 6 weeks or so, as it wears off.

Maybe it is Michigan or something, but I have never had a problem with mites (knock on wood).
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#3
thanks for the reply.
i think there is some truth to the coffee filters, but im not sure either. i have found that if i soak the filters in cooking oil, the mites will not get on them. also, and this may be coincidence, i noticed my flies produced like crazy after i put in the oil coated filters. im not sure if it was due to the oil or that it detered the mites, but that seemed to help a little.
i have been told by several people that mites aren't a big problem up north. however, i live in the heart of the south, where every bug known to man exists and knows how to annoy you. so, i'm constantly fighting them. plus i live in the middle of a wooded area.
my frogs eat too much, i have to get the fly culture thing down pat b/c crickets are expensive!

does anyone know the fly culture website that you can order mite deterants off of? i found it, then lost it!
1.1.1 Hawaiian Auratus (reticulated), 1.2.2 Leucomelas, 3.2.1 Cobalt Tincs, 1.0.0 Kauluha & Creme / Camo Auratus, 2.0.1 Yelloback Tincs, 0.0.4 Azureus, 1.1.0 Spotted Auratus
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#4
Soaking the filters in oil? Seems like they would be so heavy they would fall. I'll have to experiment with that (and a million other fruit fly culturing ideas I have heard in the last few months).
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#5
one other tip on mites. once you get some clean ff cultures, to prevent mites from re-infesting, just don't use cultures for more than 4 weeks. i saw dave of ED's flymeat speak about bug culturing, and he says that because of the life cycle of mites, if you never keep a culture more than 4 weeks the mites cannot invade and breed. obviously if you already have mites in the culture this is useless, but to prevent re-infestation from wild mites, just throw away cultures before that 4 week mark.
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#6
respectfully disagreeing as i like susan.....but mites in the cultures wont hurt the darts. it will however get into freshly made cultures. they are so hard to see....small as a period dot to microscopic. the frogs will just eat them, not to worry. dr. frye says they aren't the bad mites. I use methyl paraben in my media along with 20% vinegar in my recipe to prevent mold......as for mites go...mite paper might work...keeping them away from vents in ur house ...spraying down some paper towels with joshs frogs mite spray which can also be purchased at petsmart if u need it now....but not too much as the mite spray can be toxic to the flies...making less production. i also find that cleaning everything around my cultures with mite sparay helps.....mite paper might not be as smelly though or toxic to the cultures if u accidentally over due it. just keep making new cultures every week ad u should be ok. i dont put mine in dark either to prevent mold as mold likes the dark and the vents in house as well
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#7
kristy55303 Wrote:respectfully disagreeing as i like Susan.....but mites in the cultures wont hurt the darts. it will however get into freshly made cultures. they are so hard to see....small as a period dot to microscopic. the frogs will just eat them, not to worry. Dr. Frye says they aren't the bad mites. I use methyl paraben in my media along with 20% vinegar in my recipe to prevent mold......as for mites go...mite paper might work...keeping them away from vents in ur house ...spraying down some paper towels with Josh's frogs mite spray which can also be purchased at petsmart if u need it now....but not too much as the mite spray can be toxic to the flies...making less production. i also find that cleaning everything around my cultures with mite spray helps.....mite paper might not be as smelly though or toxic to the cultures if u accidentally over due it. just keep making new cultures every week ad u should be ok. i don't put mine in dark either to prevent mold as mold likes the dark and the vents in house as well

Yeah, I agree---I posted this all over but thought I had it all resolved---guess I missed this one. The alkaloids in the ants and mites come from toxic plants in the rain forest and will not be in a vivarium habitat. Sorry for the confusion----I was saying elsewhere that I thought I might get this response and sometimes I go 'fishing' for responses to see what different answers I will get. I do agree that the mites and ants are harmless, though---but this serves to show new froggers that the mites are a non-issue unless they are the rare type that parasitize frogs, which is extremely unlikely, and even then they would not be toxic.
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#8
good post...appreciate the support for my post. kristySmile i'll be calling soon. let you know. 2 year old daughter broke her arm and dislocated elbow...need to get that figured out tomorrow or tuesday hopefully! kristy Big Grin
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#9
I use the bird mite spray on paper towels that line the drawers where I keep my cultures. I also spray the carpet area around the 3 tier drawer stacking thing. I spray a 1 foot area all around the container.
Candy
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#10
good idea! thanksSmile
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#11
Here's some of what I do:

1. Try not to keep cultures older than 5 -6 weeks.

2. Use fresh mite paper (blue stuff) every 6 months.

3. Prevent all cultures cups from touching while on the mite paper....don't stack them either.

4. Keep your dry FF media sealed tight in a container.

5. Do not make new FF cultures from your older, potentially mite ridden ones.

6. Use VERY hot water to add to the dry media.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#12
I keep my media on the bottom shelf of my culture closet...should I move the media to the garage or another location? I see a LOT of dead mite dust on my sprayed paper towels but not on my cultures so it must be doing its job but i never thought about the dry mix being a food source for them.
"He that is slow to believe anything and everything is of great understanding, for belief in one false principle is the beginning of all unwisdom" LaVey
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#13
Grain mites need some degree of moisture to really bloom and breed, I would think, but i've heard stories about how they are present in "some form or amount" in dry food stuffs....so I do not take any chances.

I have a food grade sealable bin that is literally airtight. I store all my FF media in there and keep it somewhat of a distance from my cultures.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#14
ahh, I use Joshs frogs media in a 5gal bucket...I will have to double check but I believe it at least has a gasket in the lid.
"He that is slow to believe anything and everything is of great understanding, for belief in one false principle is the beginning of all unwisdom" LaVey
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#15
i have heard of people microwaving their culture media. the idea being that the rays (whatever rays microwaves emit) go into the culture and kill of any mites with radiation. never tried it before but its of no realy harm (dont put plastic culture cups in). i guess the eggs might die, not sure though.

i personally use mite paper. everything related to fruit flies go ontop of it. change the paper every so often. i've seen dead larvae on my paper so i know it works.
anti mite spray also works. pet stores sell them to get rid of mites on millipedes and stuff. spray around the cultures when using this. i've heard good success from this method. NEVER SPRAY IN THE CULTURE. any "anti bug" spray works too, but dilute it a bit if its too powerful. (you dont want that stuff around in flies as it may go into your frog).

lastly, make sure your area is clean. rubbing alcohol or ethanol (is it the same?) can be used to wash down surface around your cultures. this helps quite a bit actually. i had 1 large culture die to mites and since then, i use nail varnish to clean the surfaces
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#16
#1 way most people can't seem to get rid of mites ?

They keep making cultures with already contaminated starter flies / cultures.

If you can't seem to shake mites....get some cultures from a buddy that you know are good to go and don't have mites.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#17
As a newbie I got burned by bringing in hydei cultures with grain mites from a commercial vendor. Now I'm working on clearing them out. I've implemented a few practices that I picked up from a variety of sources (these are not my ideas, just what I am doing):
  • Keep only 4 of each culture, max of 5 weeks (typically toss at 4 weeks)
  • Was using mite spray on paper towels, switched to diatomaceous earth on tin foil in one set, trying mite powder in second. I have not seen cross contamination of the grain mites from the hydei to the melanogaster yet...
  • Set flies in 32 oz cup with powder (either expired supplements or cheaper bone meal powder) for 5 minutes prior to placing in culture. Sift through coarse strainer for hydei, flour strainer for melanogaster. This has visually helped with grain mite reduction in hydei - doubt it would be effective for melanogaster as the flour strainer is not coarse enough to let these giant mites through. Expect fly losses during sifting.
  • switched to coffee filters from excelsior. I've seen different threads commenting on a higher rate of grain mites within excelsior based cultures.
  • Just implemented - trying alternate media from a different source - claims to be grain mite free.
  • Just implemented - trying in-media MiteBeGone1 and 2 in a subset of cultures to explore impact.

I have not seen another mite "boom" (I literally had an inch of mites in a 32 oz culture cup) since I started tossing cultures more aggressively AND powdering / sifting. Now I'm working on elimination. I should note that I have seen regular mites consistently in all my cultures. I took on all this activity due to booms in these giant grain mites and a fear of them spreading. I can't seem to attach pictures to the post - I'll upload them to the gallery and link from there so you can see the difference.

I'll post again once the in-media treatments are underway. Tell me if I'm nuts with any of these courses of action - I'm kind of viewing this as a challenge to see if I can aggressively control / eliminate a grain mite problem for the good of the hobby, so I'm hesitant to just pitch everything right now. I am starting a separate set of "clean" cultures in a different room from a different source just in case.
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#18
Great post Jim !

Not nuts at all, but as you go deeper and longer into this hobby...you'll see that mites and dealing / living with them at various times in different stages of 'bust and boom' is just a fact of the hobby. No biggie and nothing to get alarmed about. Sometimes the mite blooms will actually die off on their own and once you discard that particular culture...they never come back.

Mites - not a 'Pandemic"..lol.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#19
Thanks! I figured out my issue with attachments. Here are the images. I was not worried with the smaller mites - these giant ones freaked me out, especially when my second hydei culture was beyond teeming with them. I probably should have taken a picture of that crazy infested culture but I ran it right to the trash bin. The little guys don't bother me as much...

All pictures are from a lower producing culture PRIOR to instituting the powder and sift method. I don't see many of these mites, and my hydei production is WAY up (sorry, no quantitative count - qualitatively my culture walls are now covered with larvae / pupae which was not the case prior).

Do you guys agree on the distinction between the two?

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Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#20
Wow.. splendid pic quality / photo documentation !

Yes..those look like the very common "grain mite" that we all get. More of a nuisance than anything. Be sure to either microwave or use boiling water to finish off the 'old' cultures. Mites can 'walk' some distance, but I'd be surprised if they could make it from one end of a large basement to the other without desiccation. They need some degree of moisture. That's why mite paper and powders are so effective. More effective that a water 'moat' IMO. There are light enough to form a 'bundle' and actually bridge over some water areas. I've seen it.

Hydei are notorious for mites, as they are always a slower producing species of fly and thus, their cultures are kept around longer and mites can get more of a foothold than with the '30 days or less' melanogaster cx's.

You may indeed have 2 different species of grain mites there...possibly...but that's really not terribly important IMO.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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