Dealing with mites

One of the largest problems that Carebara diversa faces in captivity is mites. Especially the red mites that complexly cover the poor ants.

Queen and majors looking spotted.

See the very lumpy looking workers.

From my experience, mites occur either because the colony is highly stressed and/or are facing suboptimal living conditions.

Common reasons:

– garbage pile up or failure to clear dead insects, ants and other food

– lack of space, especially foraging space and a proper garbage dumping corner

– too humid or wet (>90% humidity)

– too dry (< 65% humidity)

– lack of bioactive environment (eg, no healthy colony of millipedes or springtails).

– sudden change in environment (eg, move from soil nest to AAC or acrylic nest, or vice versa).

– excessive exposure to light or nest disturbance.

– colony wild caught or purchased from a supplier who wild caught. (Very common!!)

What should you do? Identify the possible problems ASAP and fix it!

Lemon therapy doesn’t work. Tested and proven.

What has always worked for me:

1) move colony to a natural clay setup ASAP. Let them re-regulate their humidity. Make sure moist but not wet. Dry is a no-go. Burnt soil works well too. See my post regarding substrates.

2) make sure they are setup in a tank or space where have enough room to forage and dump their garbage.

3) leave them alone and undisturbed for a couple of days. Only check to feed once a day.

From experience, once environmental conditions stabilise, mites leave very quickly. As fast as overnight or in 2-3 days.

Good luck!

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