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Re: Live Foods Digest V2 #184

Charles and Simone,

> >Subject: white little critters in an earthworms culture
> 	I too also have an infestation of these mites. They float in a
> water wash and it is possible to rid the culture of them for a short while,

My first guess of Simone's unidentified bug is that these are springtails.
Do they "jump" when disturbed?  If they slow moving, then my second guess
would be mites.  In either case, I have had trouble with these in both
my whiteworm and earthworm cultures.  So, I recently did a comprehensive
web search on the subject.  Sorry, I don't remember any of the URL's but
I can tell you the result.

A couple of web sites mentioned that some people remove these by flooding
the culture (as Charles stated).  However, they went on to say that in the
long term, the wet soil makes matters worse.  The suggested solution
(that I have not yet had a chance to try) was to place the culture outside
in direct sunlight for a few days.  This supposedly gets rid of them on
a short term basis without causing long term affects (I'm a little leary
of doing this to my white worm culture though which are heat sensitive...
this is the main reason I have not tried it yet).  The long term solution
was to reduce the amount of food in combination with periodic "sunlight"
treatments.  The authors suggested that the mite and springtail populations
only thrive when food is not consumed fast enough by the worms.  They say
that if the food is still remaining the next day, then you are probably
feeding too much.

Anyways... I have not tried these ideas yet.  However, that was the 
summary of my web search on the topic.  There is even evidently a small 
booklet available on keeping worm cultures healthy and free of other 

David Robinson                          The Discus Page
David.Robinson at intel_com                http://www.ee.pdx.edu/~davidr/