Grain mites in my mealworm colony?!!!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by korlia, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. korlia

    korlia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2013
    South Africa
    Here goes! I very bravely started my own mealworm farm about 3 weeks ago, all went super great until I noticed what I believe to be grain mites ( white dust like substance on the glas sides of the aquarium).

    I would like to know if anyone has had success with cleaning out the container and putting in new bran and rinsing worms in water. I would realy hate to toss this colony. They have been doing so well? Would. O be able to save them if I wash the worms also? How should I go about saving my colony?
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Have you checked the dust under a magnifying glass etc to be sure you have mites? Anything I can ever remember reading says to start over if you get a mite infestation. Don't know if you have seen this website on raising mealworms, they do have suggestions on preventing the mites. Trying to clean the bigger worms might be worth a try. I had mites get in mine once or twice and it was just easier to toss the batch and start a new one, but I never had really big colonies.
  3. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    You have to get the humidity in the colony down below 65%, at which point they will be unable to reproduce. Remove all the vegetable matter and keep it dry as possible and feed them smaller amounts once or twice a week until the outbreak is contained. Regularly wipe down the outside of the colony with soapy water to clean up any that are leaving and be persistent. They are a pain to deal with, but they really aren't a huge threat to your mealworms.
  4. korlia

    korlia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2013
    South Africa
    Thanks for the advice. I cleaned out the whole tank, nuked the new bedding in the microwave. Handpicked the worms ( all 1100 of them) washed the tank. Rinsed the worms with lukewarm water ( had a histeric fit because I thought I accidentaly drowned them all). Was very relieed to find them all well and alive the next morning put them back in their new bedding and clean tank. I keep an eye on humidity in the tank as well and so far ( keep fingers crossed please) a week later and no mites..... Phew
  5. RedRapunzel

    RedRapunzel Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 8, 2014
    My kids "helped" feed our new colony almost a whole watermelon's worth of rind. It got pulled under and I did not notice it for a few days when the smell greeted me. Now I have more mites than worms.

    All vegetable matter has been removed.

    Will transport all worms into a strainer for a rinse and break out my bleach spray for the plastic drawer.

    I have about 5000 in that drawer. finally have a few pupae transforming now mite palooza.
  6. korlia

    korlia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 11, 2013
    South Africa
    Good luck! It took me forever to rinse all the worms and wash the tenk, but it was worth it. I still have the colony and they are thriving plus no mites! Let us know how it went.
  7. HenryG

    HenryG Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 10, 2014
    I had good luck getting rid of mites. I keep the different stages of mealworms separated by screening the wheat bran and eggs from the beetles and pupae every three weeks or so. Each time I do this I put the bran and eggs in a new container. This keeps the amount of potential exposure low. I microwave the bran when I get a new bag. With one infestation I isolated that container (which contained only eggs and very tiny worms) and put it into a bigger container with a bit of diatomaceous earth surrounding the mealworm container. The mites migrated because their population had exploded. They went out of the mealworm container into the bigger container and the diatomaceous earth where they died. I also put cut carrots into the mealworm container and the mites swarmed onto the carrots. I washed off the carrots a couple of times a day, killing those mites. I left this container uncovered so the environment remained dry. Eventually the mite population dissipated. When the mealworms grew I could sift the mealworms from the bran and droppings, getting rid of the rest of the mites.
  8. tandykins

    tandykins Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2014
    Gunning, NSW
    Assuming that you're keeping you rmealworm containers completely away from any food or animal feed - you can also just leave them. I've had a serious grain mite infestation in one of my containers for over a year now. Instead of freaking out and cleaning all the things, I monitored it over the next several months. I noticed NO change in the productivity of my mealworms. They continued to thrive unhindered. I see a lot about how to "save your colony" from the mites but from what I've observed, they don't appear to be in any real danger.
  9. HenPeckedStudio

    HenPeckedStudio New Egg

    May 8, 2016

    how does a person rinse mealworms? I just washed my worm container now Im sitting here mortified.
  10. Egg - Static

    Egg - Static Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2016
    I have the same problem. I would hate to wash them because I have animals at my house who have to have them so If I drown all 1,000+ of them I will have to drive a long way to get some. I hear that you keep saying that you are "feeding them _____ each day. I generally keep a apple halved in there with soem potatoes. Do I need to be feeding them daily instead of leaving it in there? If so, how much do I need to feed them of what?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by