Saturday, July 9, 2011

How to De-mite Cockroaches

As I mentioned in my introductory post about my pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches, I was going to do an information post on how to reduce mite loads. My roaches have mites, most of which will tuck themselves under the legs. The mites are at least somewhat beneficial, reducing the amount of bacteria on the carapace. If you see more than one or two on the cockroaches' head or back there are too many. In a case like that, if you check their undersides there will be an astonishing amount to be found there.

I was made aware of this technique from the professor who gave the cockroaches to me after I discovered the mite load on my hissers had skyrocketed. So, here we go.

What you will need: 
Flour, Plastic bag, Cockroaches
Step 1: Remove lid from terrarium and place flour in bag.

Step 2: Add cockroaches to bag, seal and shake. Remember to shake gently! Also, seal the bag for as short of a time as possible. You are dealing with live critters!

My hissers, just after their flour-ing
Step 3: Remove cockroaches immediately, brushing off as much excess flour as possible.

Step 4: Check out how many mites you've removed! It's unlikely you've gotten rid of them all, but numbers should have decreased by about 60-70%. Dispose of the bag.

And that, boys and girls, is how to help your pet cockroaches with their mite problem without compromising their health. I do this as needed. Remember that keeping the terrarium clean and refreshing bedding more often will also help with mites.