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Discussion Starter #1
I have heard of people doing this what’s your thoughts on dusting flies with a FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth when making a new culture to kill any hitch hiking mites.
 

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Diatomaceous earth (DE) kills bugs indiscriminately, including flies. In fact, back when I used gliders instead of apterous flies, I would transfer flies over a large bin of DE to kill any flies that tried to escape. Apterous flies are much easier to contain.

Ed and Pumilo have described a method of decreasing the mite load using regular calcium dust because it helps knock the mites off the flies. I always dust my culture-starting flies and am careful to leave behind the dust (and hopefully most of the mites). NOTE: this is a scaled down and less effective version of Ed’s method, but works fine for standard mite loads and good culture conditions.

You’ll never completely eliminate culture mites. The idea is to minimize them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Joshs frogs have a products called “bug blade” which can be used to dust flies I went on there website to find out more about this product and it stated that it was made of diatomaceous Earth.
I also read This from a article called

Mites! Now what?
Can’t seem to add the URL
Here’s the quote though
“ Dusting your flies and giving them a few minutes to groom themselves of the dust and mites, can virtually eliminate the mites. Flies can be dusted with food grade diatomaceous earth, will kill the mites but surprisingly does not kill the flies. You can also dust the flies with calcium powder for the same effect”
 

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You can also dust the flies with calcium powder for the same effect”
I'd much prefer dusting them with calcium, for the same effect, than dusting with bug blade...Food grade or not.
 

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Joshs frogs have a products called “bug blade” which can be used to dust flies I went on there website to find out more about this product and it stated that it was made of diatomaceous Earth.
I also read This from a article called

Mites! Now what?
Can’t seem to add the URL
Here’s the quote though
“ Dusting your flies and giving them a few minutes to groom themselves of the dust and mites, can virtually eliminate the mites. Flies can be dusted with food grade diatomaceous earth, will kill the mites but surprisingly does not kill the flies. You can also dust the flies with calcium powder for the same effect”
Hmmmm.... It wouldn't be the first bit of bad advice from a big name in the industry. But it doesn't smell right to me.

I guess I'll have to dust some flies with DE and some with Calcium Plus and see what happens... BRB
 

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Ok. Experiment started.

Using 2 clean bowls, I added 1/8 teaspoon of Calcium Plus to one, and 1/8 teaspoon food grade DE to another.

I added similar amounts of flies to each bowl and swirled per my usual dusting routine. Flies are then carefully poured into secondary bowls to leave behind the majority of leftover dust. Flies are then carefully poured from the secondary bowls into empty clean culture cups to remove even more leftover dust.

As a control, undusted flies were also added to a clean empty culture cup.

All flies were from the same culture, started 6/3, and all three experimental cups are being kept next to each other in the frog room.

I will check on the cups periodically and note any differences in mortality.

*The biggest weakness I see with this experiment is that the quantities of flies were not strictly controlled.


As an aside, I happened to accidentally leave yesterday's leftover feeding flies in their Calcium Plus dust bowl. I would say only 10% appeared to be alive after 24 hours.
 

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DE will call all fruit flies. "Bug Blade" is not for dusting flies. From the description on Josh's:

"Simply spread a thin layer of Bug Blade around the base of your vivarium and prevent escapee fruit flies from crawling to freedom! "
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
DE will call all fruit flies. "Bug Blade" is not for dusting flies. From the description on Josh's:

"Simply spread a thin layer of Bug Blade around the base of your vivarium and prevent escapee fruit flies from crawling to freedom! "
Yes however I watched a video on their YouTube a while back about culturing flies in which whilst preparing a FF culture they dusted the flies with bug blade.
(Here’s the link if interested) skip to 1 min 40 sec
 

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DE will call all fruit flies. "Bug Blade" is not for dusting flies. From the description on Josh's:

"Simply spread a thin layer of Bug Blade around the base of your vivarium and prevent escapee fruit flies from crawling to freedom! "
Wait a second. Are you saying I just wasted 1/8 teaspoon of DE and Calcium Plus for NOTHING!?!?!

I guess I have too much invested in this to quit now. The experiment will continue.
 

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Also, DE is an irritant for humans.

If breathed in, diatomaceous earth can irritate the nose and nasal passages. If an extremely large amount is inhaled, people may cough and have shortness of breath. On skin, it can cause irritation and dryness
I would NOT recommenced feeding your frogs DE-covered FFs
 

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The reason why some take measures to mitigate mites is to cut down on competition with the larvae.

Many people do not worry too much, as the mites are harmless to frogs, and are actually walking through the micro-fissures of your cupboard and cereal boxes right now.

Try to be right sized about them. They are harmless, compared to measures against them. imo
 

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Because of bug phobia, products presented to kill mites, is a sure bet sell.
 

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Josh's Frogs flat out PISSES ME OFF! Their crappy information has killed more frogs in the hobby. He has people talking about, and believing, this same pile of crap on FaceBook yesterday. I mean seriously! If you are going to repackage and sell a product with your name on it, shouldn't you have some kind of idea how to use it, what it does, and how it kills?

I want to know if Josh is so incredibly irresponsible that he has put it in a shaker bottle, but left off the warnings about the potential to harm to your respiratory system. Does someone have a bottle? Please check that warning out for me.

Bug Blade is DE, or diatomaceous earth. It's nothing more. It's nothing less. It is exactly the same product as gardeners have been using for decades, for bug control. The only thing different about Josh's, is that his is $7 for 5 ounces. I just bought a 4 pound bag at Lowe's for $9. That's almost 13 times as much product for $2 more.

What is it? DE / Bug Blade is nothing more than shattered, fossilized skeletal remains of single celled algae called diatoms. The shattered diatoms have extremely sharp edges. These edges are microscopic. You could eat food grade DE with no ill effects. Your frogs can walk on DE with no ill effects. Your frogs can eat DE with no ill effects. When I say it can be eaten with no ill effects, I am talking about fully moistened DE. Otherwise, as Hypostatic mentioned, breathing in the dust can be harmful.
Can anybody guess what happens when an aphid, a mite, a fly, or, in my particular battle right now, if an earwig, crawls across it?

Imagine yourself in the center of a football field piled high with knives, broken glass, and razor blades. That is the killing action of diatomaceous earth. It is indiscriminate. It simply sits there and shreds bugs that cross it till they dessicate or bleed to death.
If Josh's Frog's Bug Blade does not kill flies, I would submit that it cannot be killing mites.

I believe that someone at Josh's Frogs has confused the use of Bug Blade, with Ed's method, which I have passed on more than a few times, of using calcium or vitamin powder, to dust flies with before making cultures. He's taken 2 sound ideas, and combined them to make culture killing advice. Wait a minute...doesn't he sell fruit fly cultures?

This is Ed's method of dusting flies for mite control.
Your cultures have mites. I don't care if they appear to be mite free. They are not. This simple method will help keep them almost mite free, and productive throughout their useful life.
Pull flies from a fresh culture, from a culture a week or two old, and some from a 3 week old culture. Mixing ages helps prevent accidentally genetically selecting for flies that would boom early, but burn out fast.
Pull 2 to 3 times as many flies as you would normally seed with.
Dust them heavily with calcium powder or vitamin powder. Jostle them around pretty good. This begins knocking the mites off of the flies. As the flies struggle to be the top fly, the mites get sifted down further.
Now you make your cultures using only the top third or so. You are using the cleanest of the clean this way.
The rest you take to your hungry frogs, because you planned ahead, and made your cultures on feeding day.:)
 

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Ok. Experiment started.
Yours is maybe better than mine, but I did a little test this morning too.

I dusted about 100 mels with DE, and watched. After 5 minutes, I noticed about 5 dead FFs; the rest were grooming much more vigorously than they would with Ca+ dusting. Many were rolling on the bottom of the cup and seemed to be struggling. After an hour, there were maybe 10 dead, and at that point I put a small dish of food (hydrated crested gecko diet) in their cup and went to mow the lawn.

Four hours after initial setup, all DE dusted flies were dead but six. The five or so leftover FFs in the Ca+ cup that I dusted to feed frogs this morning were all live and looked normal.

Also: last time this came up here (a couple months ago) I emailed Josh's and asked if they recommended dusting FFs with DE before setting up cxs, and they said that they indeed do recommend it and pointed out their product by name.
 
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Alright, it's been just under 3 hours now.

The undusted flies are extremely vigorous. I know they are the control group, but they seem extra lively compared to the experimental groups. And there are zero dead flies in the control.

MOST of the Calcium Plus flies are still alive. There are a few dead, and the living flies are much more subdued compared to the undusted group. I don't know if they are suffering desiccation from the powder, or if the weight of the powder is just slowing them down.

Almost all the DE flies are dead. The few remaining are circling the drain.

---------------

It was interesting how long it took for the DE to kill them. I assumed it would have been fairly rapid, and I checked them every 10 minutes for the first hour. A few died within that first hour, but the most dramatic die off appeared between the 2nd and 3rd hour.

We all know calcium dusted flies do just fine after being reintroduced to a humid environment; be it a vivarium or a fresh culture cup. I can't help but wonder if DE dusted flies would be ok if treated similarly. I also wonder if grain mites succumb to DE Death much faster than flies?

I don't have the technology to inspect individual flies for mites, so I can't test how quickly DE kills grain mites. I know I have a ring of dead mites in the DE surrounding my fly cultures... If I could find the locomotion speed of a grain mite and compare it the distance they travel from the cups before dying... nevermind.

But I might try dusting some flies with DE and putting them in a cup with fresh culture media tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thank you both for taking the time to try to experiment.

We all know calcium dusted flies do just fine after being reintroduced to a humid environment; be it a vivarium or a fresh culture cup. I can't help but wonder if DE dusted flies would be ok if treated similarly.
This is precisely what I was thinking
I did expect most of the DE coated flies to die but as stated maybe adding them into the cultures after a Few minutes is what keeps them alive
 
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