Anyone know what to do about grain mites in meal worm trays?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by azygous, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Does anyone know how to get rid of grain mites in a colony of meal worms? I raise meal worms as treats to feed my chickens. I've had them for over a year, and now I noticed they have bugs.

    I'm cursed with an explosion of these mites in every tray of worms and beetles I have. The mites are white and seen with the naked eye, appear like grains of dust. If seen through a magnifying lens, they have legs and are on the move. When a carrot is placed in the tray of wheat bran and worms, the mites are drawn to the carrot, and after a few days, cover it, looking just like white fuzzy mold. Except they're all crawling around.

    Is there anything I can do to get rid of these mites short of throwing out the entire colony of beetles and worms and starting all over with fresh worms and bedding that has been mircrowaved to kill mite eggs?

    I had a thought: what about straining all the beetles and worms out of the bedding material, then rinsing all the remaining mites off of them under warm running water? Would that work? Or would it hurt them?

    Honestly, I can't find the answer to this anywhere!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    If they're drawn to the carrot, why not just add carrots and toss them until the mites are gone? There may be a better answer if you post this question to the mealworm farming thread in the feeding section. Good luck!
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Thanks for steering me to the feeding section for the meal worm thread. I got some results there.

    Baiting the mites with carrot slices was the first thing I thought of. It works very well, but I noticed I was still having a lot of mites crawling on the sides and underside of the lid of the container.

    I live in a very arid climate, so controlling the humidity isn't a problem. Once I figure out a way to get rid of these mites, I'll be sure to microwave the wheat bran in the future before using it as worm and beetle bedding.
  4. jojomojo

    jojomojo Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2009
    NW New Mexico
    I dealt with this last October. I saved all the beetles and dumped everything else for the chickens. I put the beetles in new bedding that I microwaved and none of the mites seem to have traveled with them. The bins are just now starting to move with new worms. It kind of sucks that it happened right before winter when that was kind of the point of raising them.....provide live snacks when nature didn't lol

    For me, just separating the beetles from the bedding worked (and I assume it would have been the same if I kept the worms too), but I guess there is still a risk. Not sure rinsing would help that, but a very quick rinse probably wouldn't hurt the beetles/worms (never tried it, just guessing of course).

    I'll tell ya though, I learned NOT to use non-microwaved bedding lol All that work to have to basically start over with a box of beetles.

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