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Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

Mites: Friend or Foe? The Happy Tale of the Hypoaspis Mites

February 21, 2013 in General

written by Kerie Campbell 2005

Two months ago, during deep clean, I took my largest compressus,Houdini, out of the tank, turned him over to have a look, and a red…thing fell out of his shell. I couldn’t believe it! Mites!Huge, red mites. Houdini had a few, Fifi had some, and poor Ghidra,a pre-molt rugosus, was covered with them.

I was appalled. I inspect new crabs when I get them for mites, and have never seen any. The only explanation I have is that these mites, being a bright red color, must have snuck in on some of the perlatus – they are the same color red. I have seen these mites on my gray crabs, the brown ones and the beige ones, and still haven’t seen them on the perlatus. My eyes are just not good enough to find them on the red crabs.

Another thing that made me think these mites came from the perlatus was that they were completely unfazed by a prolonged salt water bath. Mites are supposed to float off the crabs, and if they were another type of mite, perhaps they would have. But they held on to the setae for five minutes under the water and never a one floated up. It seems to me that if they were perlatus mites, they would be used to being dragged into the ocean for long periods of time, as the perlatus love to go swimming.

It didn’t really matter where the mites came from, however; just the fact that they were present was a problem enough. My tank is 120gallons, some of the wood doesn’t fit in the oven (or can be baked safely). The mites wouldn’t come off with a regular salt bath. I’ve read post after post of people who seem to have perennial mite problems; no matter how hard and well they deep-clean, the mites come back again and again.

Then I found two of the smallest crabs, dead in the substrate. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect the mites may have either drained them dry or stressed them so badly during premolt that they couldn’t survive. Either way, I had a real problem on my hands.

I looked around on the Web for days, trying to find a solution. I found some things that looked interesting and perhaps useful, like Zoo-Med’s Mite-Off, but couldn’t get a good answer about whether or not the products would harm the crabs. I know all about insecticides, organic and chemical, but I don’t know anything about electrically-charged colloids. I don’t know what they would do to the crabs, but I couldn’t take a chance. Not this time, anyway. I figured I’d save the Mite-Off as a drastic last resort.

Then I came across something really interesting, that had occurred to me before, but I didn’t want to try first: predatory mites. I read on several sites that people use a common soil-dwelling mite predator to combat snake mites and other mites on reptiles and arachnids. The species of mite is even one I had used in my auntie’s greenhouse to kill root aphids and thrips: Hypoaspis miles (which shall be called Hypos for short from now on).

Finding evidence that other exotic animal owners had used Hypos successfully, I logged on to my beneficial insect supplier and ordered one bottle of 12,500.

From: http://www.entomology.wisc.edu/mbcn/kyf302.html, a description of H. miles and their commercial use:

Know Your Friends

Hypoaspis miles, A Predatory Mite Hypoaspis miles is a soil-dwelling, predatory mite that is native to the United States. Hypoaspis feeds on fungus gnats, springtails,thrips pupae, and other small insects in the soil. The mite is 0.5mm (1/50 inch) long and light-brown in color. It inhabits the top1/2 inch layer of soil. Females lay eggs in the soil which hatch into nymphs in 1 to 2 days. Nymphs develop into adults in 5 to 6days. The life cycle takes approximately 7 to 11 days.Both nymphs and adults feed on soil-inhabiting arthropods, consuming up to 5 prey per day. They survive by feeding on algae and/or plant debris when insects aren’t available. Both males and females are present, but males are smaller and rarely seen.Hypoaspis is well adapted to moist conditions in greenhouses in a variety of growing media, but does not tolerate standing water.Hypoaspis is currently used in greenhouses for control of fungus gnats. It feeds on the young fungus gnat eggs and small larvae and is most effective when applied before fungus gnat populations become established or when populations are low. It has been successfully used in bedding plant production, potted plants, and poinsettia stock plants. The mite is formulated in a pasteurized peat mixture for commercial use. They are usually sold in 1 liter containers,which contain approximately 10,000 mites of all life stages.Containers include a shaker lid which allows for distribution over the soil surface, after which Hypoaspis will burrow into the soil.One application can establish a mite population for an entire growing season under optimal conditions. A recommended application rate from IPM Laboratories, Inc. is 1 liter container per 1000 ft2.In vegetable production, recommended applications rates for cucumbers are 4 to 8 liters per 50,000 ft2 and 10 to 12 liters per50,000 ft2 for tomatoes, with applications being made when young plants are set out in the greenhouse.

Hypoaspsis will also attack thrips pupae in the soil, but cannot be relied on for thrips control alone in a commercial greenhouse. It may, however, enchance biological control when used in conjunction with predators feeding on thrips on the foliage. In small-scale experiments this mite reduced emergence of adult thrips to about 30%of that in controls.As with all purchased natural enemies, it is important to ascertain the quality and/or presence of mites in the container. You can do this by placing a small sample on a sheet of white paper, and examining it with a 10-15X hand lens to look for the quick-moving mites. Hypoaspis moves well on soil surfaces, so it is unnecessary to apply to all surfaces. Although they will move between plants inpots, at least every second plant should be treated. Application needs to be made early enough to allow the mite to spread. They won’t move throughout an entire greenhouse from a single introduction point. Hypoaspis doesn’t survive below the top 1/2 inchof soil, so mixing mites into the growing media prior to potting isnot recommended. In addition, Hypoaspis doesn’t store very well;therefore it should be released immediately upon arrival. The mite is compatible with insect-parasitic nematodes, such as Steinernemacarpocapsae and S. feltiae, and Gnatrol, the biorational insecticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis.
– Raymond A. Cloyd, Purdue University

When I used Hypos in my auntie’s greenhouse, I was astonished to see them still there two years later. This is because my auntie used hydroponics, and the medium was washed and sterilized after each growing season. And yet these hardy little insects were still managing to recolonize the individual gallon pots she kept her vegetables in. It was amazing, and I was very impressed by how persistent these little helper bugs were.

Since I had experience with them, and how and on what they feed, I was not worried they’d attack my crabs. They don’t even eat adult insects their own size, just the larvae. There is absolutely no way these specialized little fellows were going to be able to hurt the crabs. Furthermore, they only live in the top half inch ofsubstrate, so they won’t bother buried molters – as I found out just today when Mothra came up from his burrow in the main tank. He still had a couple of mites on him, but I digress…

I received my mites about a week and a half later. The shipping was more expensive than the mites themselves, as the insects need to be shipped overnight. But, 12,500 mites is less than $30. With shipping, I was out $68. I think that’s a bargain for the results I got.

At first, I was very conservative with the treatment plan. The mite container can keep the mites alive for about two weeks, so you can spread out your treatment. I put a clamshell of carrier, which was wood chips (small chips, not shavings) in one ISO, two in Ghidra’sISO, and three large ones in the main tank in strategic locations.Wouldn’t you know, one of the rugosus decided to snack on the mite carrier. No big deal, it wouldn’t be insecticidal, as it’s a carrier for insects. At least Camo got some cellulose that way, and a good dose of Hypos. Later that same day, Itchy galloped through one of the bigger dishes, and I saw her scoot off to spread the love. I rubbed my hands together with glee.

By the end of the two week period, I decided it’s better, when treating a mite infestation, to do two large treatment doses over the two week period, and put as many Hypos into a tank as feasible in one shot. It seemed to work better with more Hypos added to the tank at one time.

I used Ghidra as my main subject, as I knew exactly where she was in a small tank, and she was the worst affected by the mites. She literally had dozens of them on her, poor thing, and was just miserable. Daily, I would check her while the treatment was going on. During that time, I got impatient with the Hypos’ slowness (this being the main drawback of using natural pest control in this manner) and started using a hand mister of salt water to lightly spray the mites off the crab. Held over a bowl of salt water, they would fall off, and be unable to escape, and I could drown them allin the sink when it was over. A great many adult mites died in this fashion; this is a good thing, as the Hypos won’t eat the adults,except in extremes. Daily, fewer adult mites showed up on Ghidra. Ihave checked her a total of three times in the past two weeks, as she is in premolt and I don’t want to bother her unduly, and she hasbeen mite-free all that time. After six full weeks of using Hypos in her tank, I think I can confidently say that Hypoaspis miles are without a doubt, the most efficient, cost-effective, non-labor-intensive mite treatment of them all.

So, my recommended treatment plan for mites is as follows:

1) Order Hypoaspis mites from:


Put “Hypoaspis mites” in the quick search box, and the Hypos will come up, Item Number CHM125C. Wait patiently for your order, but prepare in the meantime.

2) Daily until the order arrives, hand mist each crab over a bowl of salt water to remove any visible adult mites.

3) When the mites arrive, set up a humid place to keep the container – even in the crabitat, with the lid on, would work. I put mine on top of a bookshelf, inside a plastic garbage bag with a wet sea sponge, with the mouth of the bag hanging down over the shelf, so that air could circulate, but the humidity would stay inside.

4) Lightly dampen your substrate, should it be dry. The mites do better in damp conditions.

5) Place shells or bowls full of carrier around the tank or tanks,about half the total bottle. I would recommend sprinkling it around,but that could set up a mold problem, and would make cleaning the substrate harder in the end. If you use incandescent or heat lighting, do this during the cooler night cycle, so the mites have time to disperse.Leave the shell or dish of carrier in until then ext treatment, in about a week.

6) Continue to mist the crabs during the treatment that have visible mites, to remove them. This is much better than stressing out a crab with an unwanted, long, ineffective bath.

7) In one week, remove the old carrier dishes and replace with new ones, using up the remaining mites in the jar.

8) See number 6.

9) In one week, remove the remaining carrier.

10) Wait patiently. In about a month or so, all crabs above the substrate should be mite-free. Mites are not long-lived species, so the ones that have escaped being removed manually will die of natural causes. The Hypos are there for the eggs and larvae.

My substrate is sand, which worked well, but for people with organic substrate like coconut fiber, I think this will work better, faster,and for longer, by the very nature of the Hypos themselves.

All in all, I am very pleased with this treatment, and I recommend it very highly. Though you can shop around for Hypos from other vendors, the Green Spot is one of the least expensive, and they always send live insects. Some of the other dealers don’t always ship live ones.

Got mites? Get some more, but get the right mites for the job: Hypoaspis miles.

Main Address
The Green Spot, Ltd.93 Priest Rd.
Nottingham, NH 03290-6204 USA

Contact Means
Dept. of Bio-Ingenuity
Tel: 603 942-8925
Fax: 603 942-8932
Email: Info@GreenMethods.com
Domains: GreenMethods.com & GreenMethodsForum.com


Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

Guide to bugs you might find in your crabitat

February 21, 2013 in General

written by Jedediah


Insects have six legs and three body parts that are usually clearly visible, the head, the thorax (the breast) and the abdomen. Most of them have wings, although those might not be clearly visible, some insects can hide them in a sort of pouch on their back (like earwigs) and some insects have no wings at all. The vast majority of insects that you might find in your crabitat are beneficial, harmless or a nuisance at most. Usually you can get rid of them by doing a deep clean.

Common insects are:

Booklice aka Paperlice



Very often described as walking grains of sand, booklice are tiny and usually white to grey in colour. They are often hard to get rid of, probably because they can live in the rest of the house, too and quickly return to the crabitat where they find ideal conditions. They are harmless and even beneficial because they feed on mold and fungi.
Interesting fact: there are no male booklice, the females “clone” themselves, they are all more or less genetically identical.








Springtails are white, brown, green red, yellow or grey and very small, no bigger than 1/8 inch. They can hurl themselves in the air with a forklike tail they hold under their body, but they have no wings. Springtails are often found in flower pots and they need a humid atmosphere to survive, so the crabitat is ideal for them. They are beneficial because they will feed on crab poop, leftover food and other decaying material, they are excellent cleaners.
Interesting fact: Springtails are among the oldest insect species, they have been around for at least 400 million years.



Fruit flies or Drosophila

Fruit flies

Fruit flies

You probably know them, these are the flies that turn up whenever a piece of fruit is left for too long. The most common species is Drosophila melanogaster, around 2 mm in size, usually red eyes and a brownish colour (other species are a bit bigger or smaller, up to 4 mm). They feed on decaying fruit and breed rapidly (two weeks between generations) and can become a nuisance in the crabitat, although they are not harmful. To get rid of them, place a glass with wine, beer or fruit juice mixed with vinegar and a drop of dish liquid next to the crabitat, the flies will drown in the liquid. It’s best to stop feeding fruit for that time so that the larvae won’t find any food.
Interesting fact: Fruit flies mutate easily and you can breed really weird flies in a short time (no wings, small wings, white eyes, no eyes ect.)


Humpbacked Flies or Phorid Flies

Phorid Flies

Phorid Flies

They look very much like fruit flies, but if you take a closer look, you can see a hump. Apart from that, they can be recognized by the way they run around: very fast, always stopping after a short distance and very reluctant to fly. Humpbacked flies are the only insects that have been found in crabitats that can be harmfull to the crabs, at least I haven’t heard of any other. The adults and larvae can feed on almost anything including flesh, so if a crab has an open wound the larvae are able to get into the wound and eat the crab from the inside out. Some species are able to lay their eggs into healthy animals, but those are parasites of a certain species and as far as I know, no phorid fly preys on land hermit crabs specifically. To get rid of them, do a deep clean, bake or boil everything, bathe the crabs and I recommend keeping the crabs in an ISO tank that’s easy to clean for six weeks to make sure there are no eggs or larvae left. Clean the ISO every week (change substrate and hiding places, boil or bake the hiding places you want to use again) and make sure the food doesn’t spoil.

Interesting fact: Phorid flies have been known to survive by eating shoe polish – you somehow have to admire a bug that’s so adaptive



Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats

Fungus gnats are small (2,5 mm), black flies. Both the adults and the larvae feed on decaying and living plant matter, the adults eat pollen, too, and they are harmless to the crabs, but can become a pest when they multiply too much. To get rid of them, you can use yellow sticky traps. Those are sticky on both sides and can be attached to the lid of the crabitat where the crabs cannot reach them.


Silverfish and Firebrats

Silverfish and Firebrat

Silverfish and Firebrat

Those are rarely found in crabitats, but I will include them anyway. Silverfish are often found in bathrooms, firebrats need a high temperature to breed and are sometimes found in bakeries and other warm places. Both look similar, 1/3 to ¾ inches long and carrot shaped without wings. Silverfish are silver in colour and really look a bit like fish. Firebrats are hairy and often have dark grey stripes on their body. Both feed on almost anything at all, including cereals, fish food ect. They are harmless and won’t breed in the crabitat because it’s too humid and too cool for the firebrats and probably too hot for the silverfish, so they will disappear eventually. They mostly get into crabitats by chance.
Interesting fact: Both can survive and even thrive on a steady diet of wallpaper, tissue paper or similar things. Like springtails, they have been around for a very long time.




There are more insects that can be found in your crabitat, especially small flies and other tiny insects living in the soil, but those are the species that people have found very often and that were positively identified. If you find something else, try to take a picture of make a drawing so that the bug can be identified.


Arachnids are such bugs as spiders, scorpions, mites and other bugs related to spiders. They have two body parts, the thorax and the abdomen, no wings or antenna and eight legs.


There are thousands of species of mites and it’s extremely hard to identify them. They come in all colours (white, grey, black, brown, bright red ect.) and many sizes. Only comparatively few species are harmful for the crabs. The rule of thumb is: if you find them in the food dish or the rest of the crabitat, they are probably harmless. If you find them on the crab, especially on the joints, the abdomen or the mouthparts, they are predatory and harmfull. A deep clean will get rid of the harmless mites, for the predatory ones you will need to bathe the crabs in salt water or you might even need to pick off the mites because they have claws on their legs to hold onto their prey.

Interesting fact: Some mites feed on pollen and hitch rides with hummingbirds, racing up the beak and then down again into a new flower. Others hitch rides with flying insects to reach new plants and some not only hitch a ride, but also suck the haemolymph (insect blood) on the insect that’s carrying them. Many species change their dietary habits depending on their age.

Click on the links at the bottom to see pictures of mites hitching rides with insects:


Other mite pictures:






Bookscorpion or Pseudoscorpions



A rare guest in crabitats that sometimes comes with moss or leaf litter is the bookscorpion. They look like tiny (1-4 mm) scorpions, but have no tail and are absolutely harmless unless you are a springtail or a fruit fly.

Interesting fact: One species, Chelifer cancroides, does live in books and this species gave the whole order its name. They dance with each other during mating and they build a small nest from grains of sand, moss and silk. The females produce a nourishing substance for their babies, so in a sense they nurse their babies.


Other bugs you might find




Woodlice, also called pillbugs, sowbugs or rolypolys, are the only crustaceans that live permanently on land without any contact to water. They need a humid atmosphere to breathe, that’s why they are sometimes found in crabitats. Woodlice are harmless and feed on decaying plant matter. They are often used as tank cleaners with reptiles, phasmids and other animals.

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/7649/wlice.htm (DEAD LINK)


Millipedes and Centipedes





Both belong to the Subphylum Myrapodia (this means “numerous feet”) of the Phyllum Arthropoda (“joint-legged”), which insects, arachnids and crustaceans belong to, too. Millipedes (“with a thousand feet”) have two legs on either side per body segment, centipedes (“with a hundred feet”) only one. They sometimes turn up in crabitats and come from moss, leaf litter or with live plants. Millipedes are vegetarians that feed on decaying plant matter, centipedes are predators. The centipedes you might find in your crabitat are very small and are no danger to the crabs.

Interesting fact: Millipede males of some species can breed only after every second molt.



Bugs that help getting rid of other bugs

You can purchase predatory mites or insects that will feed on some bugs in your crabitat and then die when they find no more prey. This is a efficient and absolutely crab-safe method to get rid of bugs, without stressing the crabs by doing deep cleans ect.

Here’s one website that offers such bugs:


Profile photo of Stacy

by Stacy

Varieties of Household Mites

September 25, 2012 in FAQ

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 [url=http://crabstreetjournal.com/xoops/modules/news/article.php?storyid=12]guide to bugs in the crabitat[/url] before you panic.


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 The Happy Tail of the Hypoasis 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!

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.


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/

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