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Tiny white bugs - mites??

Discussion in 'General Tortoise Discussion' started by ReptileBuddies, Sep 30, 2010.

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  1. ReptileBuddies

    ReptileBuddies New Member

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    Today my boyfriend noticed a few tiny white bugs crawling on Aslan's shell. We have never seen these before and are wondering if they are mites?? If so what do we do???? Aslan is taking a bath at the moment and I scrubbed his shell with a soft toothbrush, but those tiny bugs could be in every crevice of his body! I have posted pictures of his enclsoure before - its wood and stick on tile stuff, homemade by his previous owner - how do we clean that?!?!?! This is very upsetting because we do our best to ensure the health and safety of our reptiles...
    Any and all advice is much appreciated.
    Thanks!
  2. ReptileBuddies

    ReptileBuddies New Member

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    Here's what I found for getting rid of mites on an Iguana website:
    "You need to buy either NIX or RID Head Lice Shampoo at your local shopping store. Mixing one of these product in a 1 to 1 ratio with water your are ready to proceed. I prefer to use 1 cap full of water to 1 cap full of Nix. Pour this mixture into your hands and rub down the reptile from nose to tail. Do not worry about getting this into the eyes as it has been found to be very safe on all reptiles. Be sure to pay attention to the folds under the neck as well as the arms on lizards. Wait 10 minutes and rinse well. Be sure to rinse the animal until all of the mixture is off. Since Rid and Nix are known to kill the eggs of Lice it has been found to be just as successful with mites.

    In larger enclosures made of other materials such as wood and Plexiglas I find a much easier method of BOMBING to work well. You will need to use large garbage bags that have been cut open in order to seal the cage completely. Tape the bags over the enclosure in order to make it air tight. Before you tape off that final flap you can place a FLEA and TICK BOMB found in most stores within the enclosure. Press the button and lock it in place. Tape off the last flap and relax and enjoy the company of your pet for the next few hours. You can open the cage back up within 2 hours. Be sure to air it out completely. Wipe down the cage and sterilize completely before returning your pet into it's home."

    Do you guys think this will work ok for my full-grown RF tortoise? We have a temporary enclosure we can put him in while his home is being bombed and for a couple days afterwards to ensure all the chemcials are out of his home.
  3. shmily1605

    shmily1605 New Member

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    I just noticed the same thing on my sulcata. I have repti bark mixed with coconut coir and sphagnum moss. Come to find out all types of the bark substrates usually contain mites and other parasites so I will not be using this anymore until someone can tell me otherwise. Instead I will be using this: I found it on this website http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/substrates.html

    The substrate that we have found to be the most effective and safest by far consist of a mixed loam compost base mixed with varying amounts of soft (play) sand. This needs to be of sufficient depth, about 50mm or 2 inches is recommended as a minimum. Increase the proportion of sand for very arid habitat species (our Testudo kleinmanni have a 30/70 loam/sand mix, for example). Decrease the sand for more humid habitat species, to say 60/40 loam to sand for a Kinixys (Hingeback) tortoises or American box turtles (Terrapene sp.), for example, and mix in some fresh sphagnum moss, leaf litter mulch and similar moisture retaining additives.

    So I am in the same boat as you. I need to know how to get rid of them.
  4. ReptileBuddies

    ReptileBuddies New Member

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    Anyone have any tips for me?? I will be starting the treatment I put above tonight (after work). I'm just worried about moving Aslan downstairs to our reptile room even after his mite killing bath. We have the rest of our reptiles downstairs in a specially heated room and I don't want to infect others with mites...
  5. TortieGal

    TortieGal New Member

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    Are you sure they are not just snow fleas in the substrate? They will crawl on the tort sometimes but they are harmless. You can put a handful of pill bugs in the substrate to eat the eggs; it takes a couple weeks to get rid of them. I would be very worried about using a pesticide. Please wait till you get some more replies from people. I'm sure some more advice will be posted soon.
  6. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Active Member Staff Member

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    If they are 'hard to see clearly' small, and are pretty fast, they may be Springtails (AKA Snow Fleas), a common soil species that likes moist habitats- like the substrate of a tortoise habitat. The Wikipedia article is kinda interesting- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springtail

    They are completely harmless to the animals and you (if this is what they are), but are also awkward to get rid of completely.
  7. ReptileBuddies

    ReptileBuddies New Member

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    I honestly have no idea what they were. I can't seem to find any tonight...They were a few crawling on his shell yesterday though. They might be snow fleas...they weren't really round like a mite seems to be. Wish I could get a picture of them. I hate bugs so how do I get rid of them? What are pill bugs?
    Thanks for the help!
  8. Cameron

    Cameron New Member

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    if they are gray, they are more than likely wood mites, from the substrate. they will not harm the tortoise, they are not feed off of animals. clean the cage out, freeze some substrate overnight, it will kill the mites. the harmful reptile mites are black.

    pill bugs are also called "rollie poleys...
  9. TortieGal

    TortieGal New Member

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    Pill bugs are the little gray bug you find under rocks that roll themselves into a ball.
    Look for the snow fleas under something in his home like his feeding rock or water dish, they should be pretty thick were its more moist.
  10. Madkins007

    Madkins007 Active Member Staff Member

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    Pill bugs (aka wood lice, isopods, etc.) work great at eating pest eggs. You can make a nice, pest resistant substrate by looking at the Substrate article in the Tortoise Library, see the link in my sig.

    Read down in the article to the part about Bioactive Substrates.
  11. ReptileBuddies

    ReptileBuddies New Member

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    Ok thanks guys! We're not as worried anymore! :) All the substrate has been taken out and the enclosured. We just get Cypress mulch from Home Depot so its cheap and easy to replace.
    Thanks again!
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