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Mite Control Update Using Formic Pro

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by MaddestMike, Feb 1, 2022.

  1. MaddestMike

    MaddestMike New Member

    See my previous post - Mite Control Options - for a background on my mites, my colony’s situation, and why I chose Formic Pro.

    Today I pulled the Formic Pro from the tank. I treated the tank for 20 days and the last pad was dried up today. They lasted just as long as the recommended treatment time on the label.

    I saw 4 mites 5-6 days ago and the last sighting was a dead nymph. That’s a little too recent for my comfort so I’ll still be watching over the next couple of weeks, though they might not be climbing the glass without the Formic Pro. Who knows what these mites are up to?

    If I spot any more I’ll let you know.

    I found that smelling the tank was a good way to see how much Formic Pro was ‘in the air’. It smells like a vinegar-ammonia hybrid and I tried to maintain it at a ‘slightly sharp/stinging the nose’ level. I could take a breath from the tank but it was a little uncomfortable.

    The actual level fluctuated a bit based on the pad’s freshness and exposed surface area. I used a ziplock bag to seal off a part of the pad to control the release rate.

    The beetles seemed unfazed by it unless the level reached a point I couldn’t really take a breath from the tank, ie. sniff and wince back from it like trying to smell an open bottle of ammonia.

    When that level was reached, the beetles became very sluggish and hid in the pine shavings. But when I aired it out they returned to their normal busy selves. I suspect maintaining that high a level for a few days+ might be lethal from starvation/stress. But it was easy to regulate it back down by covering more of the pad.

    I would recommend others to try Formic Pro to save a colony. If they get it quickly - Amazon 2 day or overnight - it might stress the mites to stop feeding quickly. If the infestation is really bad, I would hit the tank with a high dose for 24 hours, similar to shock treating a swimming pool.
    Then I would dial it back and monitor. Wiping the mites off the glass daily with an alcohol wipe helps to see how many new mites are fleeing the tank. Even if no mites are seen for several days the treatment should continue the full 20 days as new mite eggs will hatch for sometime.

    *******

    As for the the colony itself, I again have no young and currently it’s heavily adult/very late instars. But I’m not too worried yet.

    Thinking about it for a few weeks I realized that a bunch of variables I didn’t consider before might be the problem.
    Humidity was very low - <30% - so eggs/larva drying out or adults not laying.
    Not enough fresh food - larvae starving / cannabilism / no egg laying.
    Insufficient egg laying substrate.
    Lots of other possible reasons including things I haven’t thought of.


    In short - I now don’t think the mites were a problem, or even the biggest problem, but I’m glad to get rid of them just the same.

    So I’ve been lightly misting the tank daily, and checking that I’m not soaking the substrate. I’ve also recently increased their fresh food amounts and remove dried uneaten portions. And I added cotton for the ladies to oviposit in. (Ovipositing is a fancy word for sticking their eggs into something. ).
    I heard someone on YouTube mention cotton.

    Well, wouldn’t you know the ladies were very, very excited by this. I immediately (literally within 5 minutes) saw females eagerly ovipositing into the cotton and on inspection found them loaded with eggs. They were literally falling out onto the bench when I unwrapped a cotton ball!

    Bonus - I can pick them up / move them when I clean the feeding tray or get them closer to the food easily. I don’t know if this is common practice but I think it’s a great technique. They could also be moved to another tank to start a new colony, etc.

    However it does not protect them from hungry larvae since they readily burrow into the cotton and maybe eat eggs if they are hungry enough. I put them in about 3 days ago so I’m expecting some big hatches in the next couple of days. I can actually see the eggs to see how they are doing. Awesome!
    If they seem to be being eaten, I’ll move them to a separate ‘rearing chamber’ to protect them - a large mason jar most likely. (And feed my beetles more. )

    I like using Japanese cotton pads over cotton balls. The adults can climb on them more easily and really like ovipositing into top layers.

    Example:
    https://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Organic-Cotton-pieces-Unbleached/dp/B079QHYX5H/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?crid=FTF0GQ5Y7TD5&keywords=japanese+cotton+pads&qid=1643728826&sprefix=japanese+cott%2Caps%2C109&sr=8-

    These cotton pads are also much,much better than stacked cardboard which I’ve also heard mentioned.

    I hope some of this info helps others.

    If you don’t hear more from me it means the mites are really gone and the colony is back on track.
     
    Sea Wolf likes this.