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  1. #1
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    Default Help! Wtf are these little white bugs? Mites or springtails? What do i do?!


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    Hey guys,
    I have a terrarium with a crested gecko in it, and I saw happened to be shining a light on my terrarium and saw all these little white bugs crawling around on the sides of the terrarium. The terrarium has only been setup for 2 weeks!

    I am a photographer with a macro lens, so I have included a picture very very very close up of what this bug is....but to the human eye, it looks like a spec of white dust moving around. I don't see them jumping or anything, they just climb the walls....and I've also seen them climbing on the outside. You can't see their legs or anything with your eyes....they just look like little white moving dots, but with a closeup, you can see their legs and everything.

    I noticed from the forums that these could be springtails OR mites...which one is it?
    Also, how can I tell the difference since to my eyes they look like specs of dust moving around?

    1) Can they survive (whatever they are) outside of the moist terrarium?
    2) I'm a germaphobe....will these things infest my bedroom where the terrarium is?
    3) How do I get rid of them? Change substrate and clean out with bleach/water mix?

    PLEASE PLEASE HELP! I'm a 33 year old adult who loves his gecko but I'm also a germaphobe. I need to get rid of these asap if they will infest my room.

    See attached picture for closeup
    BUGS!-1.jpg

    PS. Sorry for my company logo on the bottom, my photo editing program exported with watermark.
    Last edited by DJ4LIFE; 08-04-2014 at 10:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    I, of course, am not used to seeing these little white bugs in my terrarium with a macro lens. I recommend you compare your photos with online photos of springtails and grain mites. If they are springtails, they are scavenger bugs that will eat your gecko's poop and generally keep things more sanitary. They are good to have. If they are grain mites, they don't spread germs but they are a pain in the neck. I wrote an article about them for Gecko Time here: How I Got Rid of Grain Mites | Gecko Time

    Aliza

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    Springtails normally live in damp soil, and eat mold and fungus. Springtails don't bite or sting people, nor do they do not damage buildings or the contents.
    If anything, they'll help with enclosure maintenance.

    You don't have to worry about them, unless they really get out of hand and multiply too much.
    Normally you'd just have to lower the humidity and let the soil dry a bit, to kill them off. However, that won't work with your geckos, so you could trap them using fruit or the gecko's left-over food. Put some in a tube type affair with just a small hole for them to get into. Remove it daily, or as needed, dump them outside so they can do their work in the garden.
    Another way is to replace the soil, wash any plants and whatever you have in the enclosure.

    Either method will work for a while, but you'll probably end up with lots of them again. They're very fertile little things, not much chance of getting rid of them completely once they get started, unless you start over from scratch, including new perches, plants, soil, etc.

    sprngrs2.jpg
    sprngrs1.jpg
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't worry too much though, like Hilde said they are very beneficial. I have white springtails, silver springs and Isopods in my tanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by acpart View Post
    I, of course, am not used to seeing these little white bugs in my terrarium with a macro lens. I recommend you compare your photos with online photos of springtails and grain mites. If they are springtails, they are scavenger bugs that will eat your gecko's poop and generally keep things more sanitary. They are good to have. If they are grain mites, they don't spread germs but they are a pain in the neck. I wrote an article about them for Gecko Time here: How I Got Rid of Grain Mites | Gecko Time

    Aliza
    They're not grain mites.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilde View Post
    Springtails normally live in damp soil, and eat mold and fungus. Springtails don't bite or sting people, nor do they do not damage buildings or the contents.
    If anything, they'll help with enclosure maintenance.

    You don't have to worry about them, unless they really get out of hand and multiply too much.
    Normally you'd just have to lower the humidity and let the soil dry a bit, to kill them off. However, that won't work with your geckos, so you could trap them using fruit or the gecko's left-over food. Put some in a tube type affair with just a small hole for them to get into. Remove it daily, or as needed, dump them outside so they can do their work in the garden.
    Another way is to replace the soil, wash any plants and whatever you have in the enclosure.

    Either method will work for a while, but you'll probably end up with lots of them again. They're very fertile little things, not much chance of getting rid of them completely once they get started, unless you start over from scratch, including new perches, plants, soil, etc.

    sprngrs2.jpg
    sprngrs1.jpg
    Thank you for your reply. Are you sure these are springtails? They are climbing all over the walls of the terrarium and in the melleuca or whatever the name of that substrate is. I don't have an infestation, but I'm seeing more than I'd like to, anywhere I look.

    I've found some on the OUTSIDE of the tank...can anyone please tell me if these things survive outside of the terrarium???

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    They could wander around outside the tank, but they won't last long. They really need high humidity, so, unless you have your room humidity really high, they'll dehydrate in no time. They won't last long at all outside the enclosure. There's nothing to stop them from climbing over everything in the enclosure, even the gecko, but they won't bite him, or you.

    If you compare the picture you posted to the top one of my pictures, you can see they look quite alike.

    If you're really in doubt, see if they 'jump' if you put something close to them, even a finger, or toothpick. They also float on water, even jump on it and bounce off.
    Thanks Elizabeth Freer thanked for this post

  8. #8
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    I see my white springtails in the substrate for the most part. My silver springtails will climb my cork backgrounds and pretty much everything else, not sure how I got those though since I only seeded my tank with purple dwarf isos and white springtails

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