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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well guys, it's bad news. My relatively new paludarium setup has spider mites. :( The mites are reddish brown, 1/32", look identical to photos of such mites, and there are small webs in a few areas. I can tell the webs are not mycelium, as they are much finer, identical to a spider's irregular web where the silk is strung across at elevated angles, not in contact with the substrate. They have recently appeared in greater numbers (along with several other insect species).

I am devastated because I spent so much time, energy, and money on this build, only to have it infested with such a destructive insect. Additional bad news is that I do not have any type of animal which could feed on and help reduce the numbers of the mites. The good news is, I don't have any animals in the tank, so * maybe * that gives me some options for treatment? I doubt any treatment will work though, due to the significant amount of very deep hiding areas in the wood, plants, substrate, background, etc. I am fairly certain it's all doomed.

Is there anything I can do, any hope at all?

ps. Yes, I did search the forum for other posts. I'd like to get fresh advice, especially since my build is different than a PDF viv, and has no animals currently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
In addition there are a few other species / types of insects.
There appears to be another 1 or 2 types of mites, some are lighter in color..perhaps a tan color. Also there are longer and thinner, dark insects..look like thrips or something. All these things are so darn small, it's hard to spot them. But they are there sure enough, crawling around, nesting, doing their thing. Arg!
 

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You CAN totally kill off spider mites if you keep the enclosure warm and treat for them several times in succession so that you get them as new ones hatch from the eggs.

You can try a CO2 bomb.

A product that I have used on houseplants that works very well to kill spider mires is Avid. It is extremely toxic and you have to be careful handling it, but supposedly it's naturally derived and will totally break down after a period of time. Thrips are very hard to kill off, but Avid will take care of them.

Like frogparty said spider mites also dislike humidity. It won't kill 'em but if you can mist so that all of the foliage gets wet top-and-bottom a couple times a day it will stop them from reproducing.

Another bug killer I have used against them is Azamax. This one is less toxic and neem oil derived, but if you treat severl times carefully you can also kill off the mites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What kind of Viv is this? Spider mites hate humidity
It's a paludarium ... not sure of the humidity level but much less humid than a pdf viv. Partially open top with forced ventilation. No condensation is present on the glass, ever. There are dry areas on some of the wood and around plants, background, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You CAN totally kill off spider mites if you keep the enclosure warm and treat for them several times in succession so that you get them as new ones hatch from the eggs.

You can try a CO2 bomb.

A product that I have used on houseplants that works very well to kill spider mires is Avid. It is extremely toxic and you have to be careful handling it, but supposedly it's naturally derived and will totally break down after a period of time. Thrips are very hard to kill off, but Avid will take care of them.

Like frogparty said spider mites also dislike humidity. It won't kill 'em but if you can mist so that all of the foliage gets wet top-and-bottom a couple times a day it will stop them from reproducing.

Another bug killer I have used against them is Azamax. This one is less toxic and neem oil derived, but if you treat severl times carefully you can also kill off the mites.
Thanks for this specific info. I'll look into those products. Hopefully the chemicals will eventually break down as you mentioned, and get out of the soil and wood. I'll have to change the water, a lot, too (in the paludarium bottom)

You say to keep it warm...what temp?
 

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I don't know.....up in the high 70s is probably warm enough.

It's important to keep the eggs hatching because the eggs are very difficult to kill. I have had plants dunked underwater for 72 hours and the spider mite eggs were still alive after that treatment. Azamax kills the adult mites, but not the eggs.
 

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As an alternative, there are predatory mites that are very effective in controlling spider mites, search spider mite biocontrol for a wide number of sources for them. This way there isn't any concern about residues or safety and if you have small frogs, you can feed the mites to them...

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As an alternative, there are predatory mites that are very effective in controlling spider mites, search spider mite biocontrol for a wide number of sources for them. This way there isn't any concern about residues or safety and if you have small frogs, you can feed the mites to them...

Ed
Thanks Ed, that's very interesting and helpful. I'll check around but I am wondering if I can find those mites in a very small quantity (instead of 1000). Also it creeps me out that they might be crawling out of the tank and around my room. My tank isn't completely sealed, it's open top.

Thinking about the fact that I saw what appeared to be several different types of mites in my tank, I am wondering if perhaps one of them is a mite predator. I'm curious enough (and crazy enough) that I almost might try to capture several of these different bugs and put them together in a small container, just to see what happens. That's probably insane and not likely to be an easy experiment.
 

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Yeah, I gathered that, but I couldn't resist the image on an army of thumbnails wearing their little berets!
 

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I didn't read through to see if anybody has mentioned this yet, but you could do a CO2 bomb ?



REMOVE all your animals, put in 2-3 cups with chunks of dry ice in them, and SEAL off the tank. Let the dry ice evaporate and co2 should kill anything in there. (I believe it is heavier so it should sink to the bottom nicely)
 

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Co2 is a heavier gas and will settle in low areas. Place some dry ice in a container of some sort and set it into the tank. It will kill anything that can't survive in a pure co2 environment. Any live plants will grow even better. I have tried this many times and have had much success. Plus dry ice is cheap.
 

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well if he has spider mites, then it wont be long before they kill the plants ;)
however i think what you mean is use another option rather than putting the ice directly in the viv.
 

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could you enclose the container with a plastic sheet and keep it warm and wet for a couple of weeks until the spider mites go nitey nite?
 

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If the enclosure has a screen top, he could simply place the dry ice into a container with some warm water and let the evolved CO2 drain down into the tank and then cover the tank as much as possible to get the CO2 levels high enough to kill the unwanted bugs.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
If the enclosure has a screen top, he could simply place the dry ice into a container with some warm water and let the evolved CO2 drain down into the tank and then cover the tank as much as possible to get the CO2 levels high enough to kill the unwanted bugs.

Ed
Ed, this sounds like a really good idea. I've never used dry ice. Perhaps you would be so kind as to answer these questions:

1. What type of container would I want to put the dry ice in? Plastic? Metal?
2. How much dry ice and water would you imagine I'd need to produce enough gas to 'bomb' a 29 gallon (half full) tank?
3. Does the gas have to fill the entire tank, all the way to the top? Will I be able to see the gas, like a fog?
4. What temp would I want the water to be, and do I put the ice in first, then pour the water in? I thought dry ice was really cold, and if you put warm water on it, it seems dangerous like it would explode or something
5. Will the gas 'rise' out of the container and over the edge as it's produced, before 'dropping' into the tank?
6. Will the gas be cold? Will it damage my plants?
7. How long should I let the gas stay in the tank?
8. After the above period of time, how do I ventilate / disperse the gas from the tank in a safe manner?
9. What would I cover the tank with? Could I seal it with plastic wrap?
10. Will I want to run the light fixture as usual?
11. I assume safety goggles and heavy gloves for handling the dry ice. Any other tips or safety measures for the process? How do I avoid inhaling the gas in dangerous quantities? Just watch where it goes and stay clear of it?

I don't have a screen top, but what do you think about this idea: After removing the glass top, I could put 3 or 4 wood beams across the tank rim, put the container on that, let the gas drain in, remove the beams and container, then seal the tank...

Thanks for all your help!
 
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