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Discussion Starter #1
Hello fellow Dendros! Going with a bit of an edgy topic here!

It seems as though no matter which forum, or medium is used, there is an abundance of conversation regarding the inevitability of having mites and other pests like spiders once a PDF vivarium is constructed. Now, to give some background toward my location, in Southwestern Ontario, our summers can hit 40C, the winters -20C and everything you can imagine in between including a great flux of humidity.

We have never experienced a pest infestation of any kind. In our old home constructed in 2006 we had a plugin dehumidifier and the basement would stay at 45% RH at the max. Now in a newer home, we have an HRV that is worked into the HVAC and the basement humidity never surpasses 40%. I'm sure everyone here experiences their own version of various climate changes in their region over the course of the year, but I am nowhere near convinced that owning a PDF vivarium would magically introduce a large number of pests to a home and rather, they'd be negligible at best.

Anyone care to share their experiences?
 

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Its not that these forms appear magically They are drawn to the resources of moisture and organics seeking sustenance and to carry out their life cycles. They can come in through the smallest fissure or gap, or momentary opening of any door or window to the outdoors.
They can also be introduced through a new culture, ala FF bought, or migrate olfactory driven to and from the grain products in your cupboard to collect in an almost microscopic Cosco line along the seam of closed packaging... slowly moving along towards the mutherload...to enter an opening as small as a pore before they dessicate.
Its great youve not had any problems with opportunistic fauna but youve eaten plenty with breakfast, we all have!
 

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Greetings,

First off, the climate of Ontario freeze-kills insects every winter and the mean annual temp is 50F - cool climates like that present very different insect population dynamics than climates where things don't freeze solid for 3 months of the year (or more). You basically have a broad-spectrum insecticide applied to your environment 4-5 months of the year.

There are a few different things people mean when they talk about the inevitability of insects and vivs:

1) Fruit flies will escape your cultures and viv. I don't mind seeing a lone wingless fruitfly crawling across the coffee table from time to time - but for some people that is an unacceptable infestation.

2) Moist vivariums will sustain fungus gnats. Depending on your ambient humidity outside the viv, however, you may never see escapees - or you may find them near your sink drains.

2) Fruit fly cultures will attract mites. These are usually harmless species and even commercially-produced cultures have them. Depending on the observer, a normal population of grain mites in a FF culture may be unnoticed or perceived as a chronic infestation. In both cases the FF cultures are actually fine and the mites are not a problem - but people tend to be bug-phobic especially in their homes.

3) Insect introductions and boom/bust population cycles will happen to all vivs. People tend to overreact to these when they occur even though, in most cases, an infestation will disappear on its own without any intervention.

4) A house without a viv will certainly have fewer insects than a house with a viv, all things being equal. For some people, one escaped fruitfly or isopod is too many - those people, or their housemates, are likely the ones posting about insects problems with having vivs.
 

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I'm curious what makes mites and spiders 'pests' inside or outside of a viv. My use of 'pests' is restricted to things that cause minor harm.

As to my experiences: escaped FFs will draw in many, many spiders. My reptile room is full of little spiders. No pests, though, thankfully. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
2) Fruit fly cultures will attract mites.....
I've noticed plenty of great reviews regarding storing FF cultures in Sterilite like drawers with the inside of the drawer having a medium to hold diatomaceous earth thus making grain mites essentially a no show. Have you used/had success with a similar method

I'm curious what makes mites and spiders 'pests' inside or outside of a viv. My use of 'pests' is restricted to things that cause minor harm.
As to my experiences: escaped FFs will draw in many, many spiders. My reptile room is full of little spiders. No pests, though, thankfully. ;)
I find that most folks (subject to experience) find any bugs/insects unnative to a home to be considered a pest. Personally, vacuuming up a house spider or two every few weeks is natural. However, a large number of spiders located all throughout the home that are noticeable would qualify as a pest and furthermore an infestation in my opinion.

Do you have a viv on it's own in a different area apart from your reptile room? If so, I'm sure the number of foreign insects are greatly reduced in that localized area?
 

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I have terraria outside the reptile room, but nothing with animals in. There are a multitude of 'foreign insects' everywhere in our house, though -- invasive ladybeetles, box elder beetles, ants, spiders, houseflies, the very occasional centipede or silverfish (those guys are neat), not to mention mice and the odd salamander in the basement -- but the spider population is definitely many times higher near the FF buffet. When the webs get unbearable (psychologically; my problem, not theirs), I vacuum them up, feel guilty about it for a minute, and then move on.

I guess my somewhat obnoxious question was meant to get at least some readers to question whether certain hard-to-even-see lifeforms are even worth worrying about. Personally, I'm cool enough with most critters that unless they cause some sort of damage or are a genuine nuisance -- box elder beetles have fried expensive electronics of mine, and ladybeetles leave dirt trails on windows and walls -- I'm not going to spend any effort dissuading them from inhabiting the place that for a couple hundred million years was their place, not mine (with the exception of the Asian ladybeetles, we're the 'unnative' ones ;)).
 

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How are they un native? Do you mean invasive species? Or do you mean those
species apart from the ones desirous to you that you 'keep' or culture for your own purposes?

Because the truth is great majority of the insects, inverts and arachnids were existing right where you are standing, for millions of years beforehand.

It is possible to live harmoniously and benignly with many unplanned for life forms.

Many times their visitation feels like a compliment tbh.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I guess my somewhat obnoxious question was meant to get at least some readers to question whether certain hard-to-even-see lifeforms are even worth worrying about.
Nothing obnoxious about that at all! I can understand this, I personally don't worry about things that are not there, that's an easy way to drive yourself crazy lol. However, I am comfortable in admitting that dealing with a "full home" tropical experience like you have going is not something I'd be willing to deal with;).

How are they un native? Do you mean invasive species? Or do you mean those
species apart from the ones desirous to you that you 'keep' or culture for your own purposes?
Many people I have spoken to would consider their own home to be their own personal space spec'd to their needs and comfort. People can consider "out of home" insects/bugs to be unnative/foreign pests (foreign to their own personal space/desires/comfort). Sure the fauna existed before the home was constructed, but as you know I'm sure, most people don't delve that deeply into the matter. Some folks are willing to share their home with fauna while others are not!
 

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Nothing obnoxious about that at all! I can understand this, I personally don't worry about things that are not there, that's an easy way to drive yourself crazy lol. However, I am comfortable in admitting that dealing with a "full home" tropical experience like you have going is not something I'd be willing to deal with;).
Eh, that's just normal home visitors, as far as I'm concerned.

I wonder if people who keep animals for a while adjust their expectations. When I think about where our cat's feet have been, and where they are right now, a couple bugs don't even ping my radar (and I wouldn't live in a house without a cat, as disgusting as they are). Having animals (even a dart viv) in your house changes your mind set, I think, and you (and hopefully any housemates) end up having a more casual outlook toward wayward critters.

Interestingly (to me, anyway), there are degrees of tolerance. I've seen (not in person, thankfully) people who keep a pet chicken in their house -- we have outside chickens, and if one got in the house I'd make soup out of it and then bleach the whole place, twice. Some animals are just too, I don't know, animal. ;)
 

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Interestingly (to me, anyway), there are degrees of tolerance. I've seen (not in person, thankfully) people who keep a pet chicken in their house -- we have outside chickens, and if one got in the house I'd make soup out of it and then bleach the whole place, twice. Some animals are just too, I don't know, animal. ;)
The best conversations are those that digress ;). We've had a few cats in our past. Excellent vacuum cleaners in their own right lol. We can definitely revisit your adjusting expectations theory this spring which is when I am planning for my first PDF viv. Could NOT be more excited to share what seems like an infinitely rewarding hobby with you all!
 

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I've noticed plenty of great reviews regarding storing FF cultures in Sterilite like drawers with the inside of the drawer having a medium to hold diatomaceous earth t... Have you used/had success with a similar method
I may be an unusual situation: I have 4 FF cultures delivered from Joshs Fogs every 5-6 weeks. I could certainly save money culturing my own, but I'm happy to pay for the convenience. So I don't worry about the mites and just douse the plastic bin where I keep the cultures with rubbing alcohol when I swap out the 4 old for 4 new cultures.
 

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This is an interesting conversation. I agree with kimcmich that it really depends on where you live, how your house is set up, etc. as to how many visitors from outside you get. Inside the house, I think it's a question of scale. If you have just a single viv and your fly culturing setup is scaled to that level, you are a lot less likely to have as many (perhaps) unwelcome critters walking around in your house. As you have more and more vivs, however, that situation is likely to change. I have around 30 vivs in my house in various places and there are always loose flies and other critters around. I don't really mind them unless they get out of hand (see there? many folks would already consider what I describe as out of hand :) I also have a fairly non-aggressive policy about spiders. Having some spiders around helps keep the loose fly situation in check. I does mean that I need to decide when I need to get more aggressive with removing webs. That usually comes when they are more visible in areas of the house that guests frequent :) I guess my take-home about this subject is that tolerances vary for critters and that you are more and more likely to have issues with "unwelcome" critters the larger your operation is. So, my take on your opinion of "but I am nowhere near convinced that owning a PDF vivarium would magically introduce a large number of pests to a home and rather, they'd be negligible at best" is that this might be true of a single viv, but the more vivs you have, the more inevitable that situation might become. That is probably partially due to the increased sources of potential pests, but also a probable attitude shift in the viv keeper as the collection grows :)

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #14
So, my take on your opinion of "but I am nowhere near convinced that owning a PDF vivarium would magically introduce a large number of pests to a home and rather, they'd be negligible at best" is that this might be true of a single viv, but the more vivs you have, the more inevitable that situation might become.
Hello Mark,

You raise some very sound points. I personally have not yet constructed my first viv however I am planning on a single large display viv. What I didn't take into consideration is the sheer scale of the operations that exist on this forum. Furthermore, I have come to realize based on the experiences around here that 1 viv turns into 2, then into 4, and so on. I can definitely agree that a greater number of vivs equates to the higher probability of experiencing "pests" in a home. To erroneously quote the fictional Ray Kinsella "Build it and they will come.";) I can understand how providing multiple/several hospitable opportunities for "pests" would greatly increase the potential of their noticeable numbers.

For a single viv on it's own under optimal conditions and ambient conditions, I cannot see it being a world-changing difference.

I may be an unusual situation: I have 4 FF cultures delivered from Joshs Fogs every 5-6 weeks. I could certainly save money culturing my own, but I'm happy to pay for the convenience. So I don't worry about the mites and just douse the plastic bin where I keep the cultures with rubbing alcohol when I swap out the 4 old for 4 new cultures.
Out of curiosity, have you ever tried the bug-blade shaker that Josh's Frogs sells as their own mite barrier?
 
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