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Old 02-23-03, 10:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How hardy are mite eggs?

Now you always hear about mites, and we all know how tough hey are, but what about the eggs? You can drown mites, but how about eggs? How long can mite eggs survive in water? 12, 24, 72 hours??? Even more? I've been searching all over for this info with no luck, any insight would be greatly appreciated
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Old 02-23-03, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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How hardy is a mite egg? Not hardy enough to with stand Vapona! All jokes aside here is something that may be useful to you.

Life Cycle of the Snake Mite, _Ophionyssus natricis_
(For more information, see Camin, 1953)
The following chart gives the average span of time spent in each stage of
the snake mite's life cycle at two different temperatures. These
temperatures are the ends of the range commonly encountered in zoos.

Development Stage 30 C (= 86 F) 20 C (= 68 F)
----------------- ------------- -------------
Egg 28 hours 98 hours
Larva (nonfeeding) 18 hours 47 hours
Protonymph (feeding) 3 days 14 days
Deuteronymph (nonfeeding) 13 hours 26 hours
Adult (feeding) 10 days 32 days
The time spent in the protonymph stage refers to those that find a host
soon after molt. Unfed protonymphs can live 15 to 19 days before dying of
A gravid female leaves her reptilian host and finds a dark, moist crevice
where she lays eggs. Each egg hatches into a softbodied larva, which does
not move after leaving the egg. It is usually safe from dying of
dehydration in the crevice where it hatched. After molting into the
protonymph stage, the mite continues to stay in the humid crevice until its
exoskeleton becomes sclerotized, which minimizes the chance of death from
dehydration when the protonymph moves to dryer areas. Then it begins
wandering around the cage at random. If the protonymph encounters a host,
it climbs aboard, conceals itself under a scale, and begins feeding. When
full of blood, the protonymph drops off the host, finds a dark, moist
crevice, and molts into the deuteronymph stage. The deuteronymph is active
but usually remains in the crevice until the final molt into the adult
stage. The opposite sexes usually pair off in either the late proteronymph
or deuteronymph stage. Mating takes place shortly after the mites reach
adulthood. The adult wanders randomly around the cage until it encounters
a host. Then it climbs on the host, sucks blood until engorged, and drops
off. Males seek unmated females, and females seek crevices to lay eggs.
Females lay 60-80 eggs, feeding two or three times at intervals of one to
two weeks.
Whenever a mite encounters a barrier, it climbs instead of going around the
barrier. This leads mites to climb up the sides of the water dish, any
other cage furnishings, and the walls. Any mite that passes through an
opening and leaves the cage is likely to fall to the floor. There it
continues to wander randomly until it either dies or enters another cage
and finds a host. This wandering will rapidly infest every cage in the
Snake mites have rather rigid behavior patterns. If they encounter a
barrier or an incline, they climb. They are attracted toward moist
conditions and toward dark areas. If cold, they are attracted toward
warmth until a threshold is reached, when they try to move toward a cooler
area. They are attracted by the smell of a host and tend to stop moving
when a contact area on the back touches something, like the underside of a
snake's scale. The groove along a snake's lower jaw and around its eye
make excellent attachment points for a mite, as these areas are adequately
warm, moist, and narrow enough to trigger the contact stimulus.
One of the natural dangers to a snake mite is its host shedding its skin.
The snake crawls away leaving the mite behind in the shed skin. However,
the snake is rapidly reinfested in the confines of a cage.
Drowning is another natural danger to a snake mite. Snake mites are not
able to swim and will eventually drown in water. In a bath, they are able
to migrate along a snake's body to the head, which is usually out of water,
and at least some of the mites survive. However, placing a clean snake
cage on legs in a shallow pan of water will prevent mites from just walking
into the cage.
Heat and dehydration are related dangers. Eggs are significantly less
likely to hatch successfully in dry conditions than in humid conditions.
Snake mites are killed within a few minutes at a temperature of 55 C (=
131 F).
(Camin, Joseph H. 1953. Observations on the life history and sensory
behavior of the snake mite, _Ophionyssus natricis_ (Gervais) (Acarina,
Macronyssidae). Chicago Academy of Sciences, Special Publ., No. 10. 75 pp.

I hope there was something here that could help.
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Old 02-23-03, 03:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the indepth information Trevor. I never knew mites live as long as they do.
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Old 02-23-03, 03:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I've heard that spraying with a Nix solution will kill the eggs as well as the mites. Aren't 100% sure on that, but when I've had to use it, all the mites were gone after the first treatment and the other treatments I did were "just in case". I never saw a mite after a first treatment.
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Old 02-23-03, 03:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yeah, they are pretty hardy, so you shouldn't have any problem breeding them for your reptiles... lol
What, may I ask, are you wondering this for? Sounds intresting...
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Old 02-23-03, 09:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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ive heard conflicting reports about nyx, befrore the days of provent a mite, i always used a vapona strip that had been aged (left open) for a day or 2, then placed into a rubbermaid with plenty of air holes and put into the snakes tank.
luckily i aint had to deal with mites for a good few years (touch Wood!)
In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king
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Old 02-24-03, 07:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Be very careful with the vapona, it is not safe, and especially not for young snakes. I used it with a burm, after being told it was perfectly safe, and she had some neurological side effects. I removed the vapona, gave her a good soak, cleaned the cage, and used Sawyer's tick spray for the mites. All you do is remove the snake and the waterbowl from the cage, fog the cage, cover with a towel if top is screened, and wait one hour. If there is substrate in the bottom, spray it well, stir, and spray again. After an hour, remove the cover and air out for one hour. Then replace snake and water bowl. The residual from the spray is enough to kill all mites on the snake. I know lots of people spray things, ie. Black Knight, directly onto their snake, but I for one refuse to spray chemicals of any kind on any of my snakes, "safe" or not. They have to breathe Hope this helps
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Old 02-25-03, 09:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Reason I ask is just general curiousity. Not all animals can be exposed to chemicals or non-chemical treatments, such as amphibians. I know about mites, but there is relatively little info on the eggs and what they can withstand. Since usually mite reinfestions come from remaining eggs, not missed mites, they are obviously quite hardy, but to what degree?
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