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Dealing with White Mites in Isopod, Springtail, Millipede, and Vivariums

Having a simple but troublesome issue in my terrariums where I used organic material from outside and must keep the humidity and moisture high, it’s the tiny white mites on the produce I feed. I have looked into this, but most solutions are with regards to reptiles and don’t require keeping the enclosure the same way it was with the mites, high humidity and all. I have tried cheap predatory mites (Neoseiulus Amblyseius Cucumeris) but they and most cheaper ones aren’t specifically for these white mites like this; I couldn’t tell if they worked anyway. These mites also like the yeast I use in my springtail enclosure and probably will start out competing them. I cannot desiccate or “CO2-bomb” the enclosures since I am breeding other arthropods and they need the humidity high.

The only solution I can think of is to introduce a voracious predator of them, like specific dipluran, collembolan, predatory mite, or thrip species, though I doubt I could obtain those online (apart from predatory mites) or around Maryland easily, predatory diplurans probably are in the south western US and Australia/NZ and predatory collembolans might not exist, the others might be expensive. Is there a predator that could live with them and hunt them until eradication without hunting other species I am breeding, like the springtails who might become prey, preferably obtainable from the wild? Do I need to use ladybugs or something?

Better question, which predatory mite could be used to specifically hunt these tiny white mites, smaller than soil mites and currently unstoppable in most of my natural breeding enclosures. image

Comments

  • 1,8-cineole extracted from plants is acaricidal to some kinds of mites at very low dose, but I do not know if (or how) it would impact your different kinds of isopod, so consider any trial experimental & not exposing your entire bug herds.

    As little as 6 micro-liters & no more than 8 micro-liters of 1,8-cineole vaporized (fine mist) over Trigonostemon putrescentiae was 100% acaricidal. I see bottles of this essential oil on eBay if want to try it; every 1 mL = 1,000 micro-liters.

  • I will try that in a small container with some of them, on the leaves or produce they inhabit.

  • Update: the mites are now known to be grain mites, and they might not desiccate as easily as other mites since they infest grain a lot. I find them around mealworm feces in old containers (including my micro mealworms), so they probably aren’t too sensitive to that.

    I tried a small concentration of eucalyptus oil in water and the pillbugs and millipedes seem unphased, but the mites and springtails quickly died upon contact. For the springtails, another solution might have to be considered, which must exclude desiccation. Could spider mite predatory mites eat grain mites, or is there a better predatory mite or other beneficial insect for the job that wouldn’t target various larger springtail species (larger than the tiny white springtails)?

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