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Oxalic Acid For Beetle Mites?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Jared McGuire, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    Has anyone tried using oxalic acid from a vaporizer to try and kill mites on your dermestids?
    I recently bought my first package of beetles and here two weeks later I found mites. Not infested but noticeable. I am also a beekeeper and put some Checkmite+ strips in there, but saw some threads on here about the "+" killing or sterilizing the beetles. In the bee yard we stopped using Checkmite+ for the same reason that left long enough could sterilize the queen. We instead use oxalic acid in a vaporizer to kill the verroa mites on the bees. We also use formic acid but its less stable. Just wondering since formic acid seems to work for dermestid mites and verroa mites if oxalic acid would do the same.
     
  2. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    BTW, I have had them in a Freezer enclosure in a plastic tote until the colony gets larger to dump them in the freezer itself. Only fed frozen meat, kept at 75 to 80 deg and around 25% humidity the entire two weeks.
     

  3. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If they showed up in 2 weeks, I would venture that they were contaminated when you got them. Who did you get them from? You should contact them and tell them about the mites. They might not know .. or maybe don't care. If the Oxalic works for the bees it "should" work for the beetles. You can try it and see as the mites are going to wipe out what you have any way. Formic acid is what was in the old Checkmite strips. The new formula isn't as good.
    What are you using for bedding in the container you have now? You may also do some good by reducing the humidity with a fan or something. The one time I had mites, I also misted the sides of the enclosure (and occasionally the surface and beetles) with rubbing alcohol. I could see mites all over the sides of the enclosure. The alcohol seemed to kill the mites on contact due to their very small size when they got wet with the alcohol. The adult beetles just seemed to shrug it off. The beetle larva did not like it at all. I can't say that any of the beetles or larva died from the alcohol but I also didn't get much on them. After several weeks of daily misting, reducing humidity and taking out bedding and disposing of it, the numbers of mites I was seeing seemed greatly reduced. Adding the Checkmite strips seemed to kill off the rest of them. Reducing the humidity seemed to prevent a return but I did finally strip out all the old bedding and started over with just the adult beetles and all the larva I could save.
    As a thought, mites are small and crawl everywhere. They will now also be outside the tote and inside the freezer enclosure itself. You will need to spray that down and kill them in there too. You could spray it with insecticide, close the lid for a day or so and then just wash the inside out completely and rinse very well and let dry. ... Removing the tote with beetles someplace else of course.
     
  4. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    I informed the seller and he said he checked his and didn't see any. But said if he does end up having mites he would refund me or if mine died he'd send me a new batch. I've kept them at 25% humidity. I might do a trial on a handfull of larva to see if oxalic acid works and let yall know. I'll spray the area with alchohol too just to be safe.
     
  5. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    I'm using what they came in as bedding which is some kind of insulation like substrate and shredded paper.
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Ok. I have seen and read other places that pine shavings also seem to draw mites. I have a paper shredder at the desk so shredded newspaper is free and endless.
     
  7. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    The seller just messaged me and informed me that he does now see mites in his colony and will issue me a refund. I gave them an oxalic acid treatment and will see what that does. If I cant save them then it's a wash anyway and I'll have to sanitize my enclosure. I'll still update on the acid treatment and keep yall posted.
     
  8. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    Update: Oxalic acid must have done the trick. The colony is now enormous. Very healthy looking, with no mites that I can see... and very hungry... New question: Is dry dog food ok for off season feeding?
     
  9. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I have to say no. The only incidence of mites that I ever had to deal with was when I tried feeding them dry dog food. Instead, save your meat scraps and trimmings and toss them in the freezer. Even if they get freezer burned the bugs still eat it. Lunch meat will work or you can buy cheap meats and slice it thin and freeze. Salvage road kill and freeze it for several days before feeding to bugs too.

    Was the oxalic acid in the new Check Mite strips? Good to know that the new formula works if that is what you used.
     
  10. Jared McGuire

    Jared McGuire New Member

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    I used an oxalic acid vaporizer and pure oxalic acid in powder form. It's cheap and the vaporizer coats everything in the container. It has to be sealed and you can not use it in your house or basement if that's where you have them. The vapor it puts off is nasty. I wear a respirator when I treat my bees. Even being outside if you catch a wiff it will choke you pretty good. My beetles are in my shop and I just wait until the vapor crystallizes before I go back in.(just a few minutes.)
     
    KTWolf likes this.
  11. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    And the bugs just shrug it off and go on. They will take over the world. :)
     
  12. KTWolf

    KTWolf New Member

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    I just discovered that my beetles have a major love of reptile pellets, the food I give to my turtles. One pellet accidentally dropped into the beetle tank, and 8 hours later I noticed it--holey as a swiss cheese!

    If reptile pellets are more expensive than you want to go with, dry cat food labeled as "grain free" would be better than dog food. There's a reason dog poop looks so much like human poop--dog food is basically made of the same wheat and corn as what makes up most of the human diet.
     
  13. KTWolf

    KTWolf New Member

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    I didn't even know my dermestids could get mites, glad I ran across this thread. Our dermestids came from my daughter's pet store, where the cricket shipments occasionally have a stray clean-up escapee. We also find some wild dermestids. I guess it's a good way to get mite-free dermestids, but I'm thinking we'd better keep our tank good and healthy so we don't have to get any new donor-mites.

    My cat dragged my beetle tank off its base two nights ago, shattered the front glass pane. I spent several hours yesterday searching out all the bones and beetles I could find and putting them in a new tank, while trying to avoid glass shards. I was pleased to find out how active the tank is. Hopefully I didn't lose too many of the little buggers when the tank fell, but we're moving out of this slum-lord's building in ten days, so if I leave some tiny chewy guests behind? Can't think of a more deserving recipient.
     
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Dry cat food will also bring mites. Not all dry dog food is crap. There are many "grain free" ones made that are very nutrient dense. Either way, dry dog or cat food is almost a sure fire way to get mites into your colony. They are not coming in on the food but the food itself encourages their numbers to explode. The best food for your beetles is what they are supposed to eat anyway. Save all your meat trimmings and put them in the freezer. Even if they get freezer burned they are still good as bug food. Even if you spot some type of small, fresh road kill and have time and methods to pick it up (squirrels and rabbits are great) take it home, cut into quarters, bag and freeze. You will always have something to feed the bugs when they are not working. If there are any taxidermists near you you can also ask if they can save trimming scraps for you as long as they aren't salted. Be prompt in picking them up though or you will lose the source.
     
  15. KTWolf

    KTWolf New Member

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    Good to know; thank you, Sea Wolf. As obligate carnivores, cat food is going to be a lot more protein-centered than dog food of the same quality, but with all my critters I try to stick with that main point: feed them what they eat in the wild.

    We're out in nature so often, there's no lack of naturally occurring dead critters. And the pro taxidermist I know likes it if I can have my beetles clean off the skulls of his smaller animals, the ones with fine bones and small cavities that wouldn't do so well with other methods. So there's a never-ending supply.