Varieties of Household Mites

Booklice

FAQ Varities of household mite – Booklice

Originally written by Vanessa Pike-Russell-Updated by Stacy Griffith

Common Name/Scientific Name

Dust Mites-House Dust Mite Dermatophagoides sp.

Grain Mites-Grain Mite Acarus siro L

House Mouse Mite-Liponyssoides sanuineus (Hirst)

Follicle Mite-Demodex folliculorum (Simon)

Itch or Scabies Mite-Sarcoptes scabiei hominis (Hering)
Mold Mite-Tyrophagus putrescentiae (Schrank)

Dust Mites – House Dust Mite Dermatophagoides sp.

“Dust mites are microscopic, small enough to live inside the weave and fibers of your clothing, bedding carpet and such. They don’t actually bite they are waaay to small .. they actually live on the skins flakes we shed. When people have problems with dust mites it is because they are actually allergic to the proteins in their saliva and excrement! So there is precious little on a hermit crab to attract or sustain a dust mite.

Grain Mites – Grain Mite Acarus siro L.

“Stored grain is subject to insect infestation and deterioration from molds and bacteria. High grain temperatures and moisture, along with dockage and broken kernels, provide conditions that accelerate mold and insect development. Many grain insects are good fliers and move to newly stored grain from fields and from infested grain bins. Insects can reach a high population size in unchecked grain bins, in sub floors or aeration ducts in bins, in equipment used to move grain, or in discarded refuse grain. These areas must be kept free of insects to reduce migration to newly harvested grain.

Grain insects move within the grain mass at a rate that is determined by the and grain temperature. During the summer and fall, insect infestations are usually on the surface of the grain. In cold weather, insects congregate at the center and lower portions of the grain and may escape detection until high population numbers are reached.” (Vera Krischik, USDA FGIS and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies Wendell Burkholder, USDA ARS and the University of Wisconsin)

Grain Mite Infestation: Prevention and Control

This site has information about the Grain Mite, which feeds on food similar to that which we offer our hermit crabs i.e., Wheat Germ (FMR Treat), Soyabean Meal(FMR Food), Rolled Oats, etc.
“Mite populations can explode when they feed on wheat germ, yeast, cheese, powdered milk, flour, or grain. In finely ground commodities such as flour and powdered milk, infestations are confined to the surface layer. Whole or cracked grains and nuts may be infested throughout.” (Linda J. Mason and John Obermeyer, Department of Entomology

Grain and Mold Mites

These mites can be found in a wide variety of stored products and food and can cause mild dermatitis known as “grocer’s itch.” Heavy infestations have a sweet or minty odor. A coating of “mite dust,” molted skins of the mites, covers the infested grain or cheese. Sometimes the surface of infested materials appears to move due to large numbers of mites. These mites favor damp areas. They do not bite humans. (William F. Lyon W. Calvin Welbourn

Common Mite Species

Index of Mites for Identification
A list or index to many types of mites that are attracted to grain and will infest areas where foods like wheat germ, soybean meal, rice meal, flour, oats and cereals exist.

Are the mites/bugs in your tank harmful?

Not all bugs are lethal to your hermit crabs. Check out our guide to bugs in the crabitat before you panic.

TREATMENT FOR MITES

A crabarium that is infested with mites and other pests cause hermit crabs to become stressed, lose limbs and die. It is important that you do not use chemicals that could be harmful to hermit crabs in ridding their home and yours of pests.

Hermit crabs are very sensitive to the presence of chemicals and they may suffocate if pesticides are sprayed close by. Keep the tank covered and wherever possible, find a natural alternative in cleaning products.

If you DO have mites, this is one way that I have found to get rid of them:

The substrate and crabarium items boiled and dried, your tank cleaned out with vinegar paying special attention to the silicone inside, and give your hermit crabs a dechlorinated ocean/sea water bath until they are free of these pests. The mites should float to the surface during the baths. As Jenn notes, mites are often attracted to wood and plants so make sure you rid the crabarium of wood that attracts mites and other bugs until the crabitat is pest free.

You may need to use a magnifying glass to zoom in, make sure you have rid your tank of these pests, and keep a screen lid on your tank under your glass/Plexiglas lid to keep the flies, mites and bugs away from your crabs and their food. Always remove fresh fruits the morning after to keep your hermit crabs safe from infestation.

A crabarium that is infested with mites and other pests cause hermit crabs to become stressed,lose limbs and die. It is important that you do not use chemicals that could be harmful to hermit crabs in ridding their home and yours of pests. This includes any chemicals or formulas that are sold to kill mites due to hermit crabs belonging to the arthropod phylum.

Hermit crabs are very sensitive to the presence of chemicals and they may suffocate if pesticides are sprayed close by. Keep the tank covered and wherever possible, find a natural alternative in cleaning products.

Hermit Crabs are known to rarely mate in captivity, so there is an extremely slim chance of breeding your hermit crabs. Some hermit crab owners have been mistaking in thinking the eggs of a larvae fly were tiny hermit crab eggs. If you see anything other than hermit crabs in your tank, there is highly probable that it is a PEST and should be removed as soon as possible. If you see any sign of mites, eggs or other pest it is important that you remove it quickly.

The only way it could be hermit crab eggs is if you have received a hermit crab straight from the wild that is gravid, or laden with eggs. Hermit Crabs with eggs are NOT supposed to be harvested at all, so this is very rare. At present only two scientists (that I am aware of) have successfully raised hermit crabs from egg stage to Juvenile stage in a lab. It is a very difficult process and without the set-up, tools and skills it is very unlikely that it could be recreated in a home setting. But on extreme rare occasions when the crabber has had optimal tank conditions, a hermit crab has become laden with eggs. But unfortunately have not been able to raise the zoea through the metamorphosis stages.

Biological solution to mites

Let predatory mites get rid of your parasitic mites. Read about Hypoaspis Mites

A note from CLD on Mites and Lost Limbs:

****Note: Whereas during CrabLover Don’s time he had a wealth of information, through further research and experience it has some of the information has become outdated.
From: CRABLOVER DON Date: Fri Mar 17, 2000 12:20 pm
Subject: Clearing up some MYTHS…..MYTH #1…… DEATH SENTENCES

Okay, let’s do a little ‘BASIC’ hermie FACT application… starting with the biggest MYTH out there… the death sentence due to the loss of a claw (or even two)… I hope you won’t mention this to any of my guys… as they can prove you wrong…VERY QUICKLY!!

Some guys may be a little ‘challenged’ at first, but they soon adapt to the situation and do quite nicely until that missing appendage is regenerated!

Hermit Crabs CAN live quite well missing one or even both of their “claws’. Why do I know this? Because I have a dozen or more fellas with these ‘challenges’ LIVING among my two hundred plus crabs. The fact is these claws do have certain functions… the larger (left)’claw’ is used basically for defense and climbing, while the smaller (right) one is used for eating and climbing. At first i did ‘handfeed’ some of the guys missing both claws, but these guys are amazing in finding alternative ways to eat and drink… IF the crab IS HEALTHY otherwise they usually survive!

It is easy to pass death off on the fact that you are not sure what the *real* problem is! If a crab starts losing any appendage, there is usually a problem… in most cases it is because of a stress related factor. These reasons are usually not from ‘attacks’ as I hear so often, but because of under-lying problems such as bacterial growths ; poor control of temperature and humidity levels ; dehydration ; poor ‘housekeeping’ ; exposure to odors, housekeeping sprays, ‘fumes’; a molt gone bad…etc.

What is necessary, to prevent further problems/deaths, is to locate and DETERMINE what PROBLEM is causing and creating this stress. Ninety-nine percent of the time there is an underlying cause… At the first sign of a crab losing a leg or claw, IMMEDIATE attention should be paid to the situation and to be as prompt as possible in seeking EXPERT advice! Just use good ‘common sense’ and seek assistance BEFORE the situation gets out of hand! … Many deaths can be avoided, but only IF the underlying factors can be corrected and resolved. It is often better to correct the situation and get things ‘under control, before bringing any new little ones into a problem situation…

From some personal experiences, observations and a great deal of experience in trying to help others; but, more so from the bottom of my heart… take a few minutes and stop, reason and think! It really makes for much Happier Crabbing for all!

Happy Crabbing!
Don

P.S.: I urge each of you crabbers old or new to think about investing in a good crab care book… there are a few better than others, many are very ‘out of date’ but have some good information… One recently published one I highly recommend is:HERMIT CRABS: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual…a “Barron book”… written by Sue Fox. Both Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles offer a discount on online orders… in the store it costs around $6.95. Sue has some great information in there plus the pixs are fantastic!

(Cralover Don AKA Don Drenning) bear in mind most of these methods are no longer current practice.

The books mentioned above are also outdated and no longer practiced. Majority of the books sold on the market are outdated, and only provide very basic care information.

References:

William F. Lyon, W. Calvin Welbourn. Mites Annoying Humans
HYG-2101-95. URL : http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2101.html
Linda J. Mason and John Obermeyer, Department of Entomology.
URL: http://www.agcom.purdue.edu/AgCom/Pubs/GQ/GQ-13.html
Vera Krischik, USDA FGIS and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Wendell Burkholder, USDA ARS and the University of Wisconsin

URL: http://ipmworld.umn.edu/chapters/krischik/index.html
Insect Publications Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Home and Garden Insects
URL: http://agweb.okstate.edu/pearl/insects/home/