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Old 06-02-03, 12:53 PM   1 links from elsewhere to this Post. Click to view. #1 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Nix Treatment For Snake Mites

I responded to the thread below with the following info, but figured this would reach more people if I started a new thread. This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the local herp society on eradicating snake mites. This method works extremely well if all the steps are followed, but only moderately well if some steps are skipped (i.e., do NOT continue to use wood shavings during treatment, must spray the snake + enclosure interior/exterior liberally, etc.). Happy herping!
Nathan


Why Nix?
Nix was designed to treat human head lice and their nits (eggs). The one characteristic that separates the Nix method for treating snake mites from other mite remedies is its effectiveness at killing live mites AND mite eggs. All other mite remedies to my knowledge do not destroy mite eggs. As such, I have found the Nix method to be extremely effective at eradicating serious mite infestations. I even know a local pet store manager who sells several commercially produced mite remedies, yet uses the Nix method on imported snakes arriving at his store. Another pro to using Nix is economics. Around $12 will produce 4 litres of solution – much more than the largest private collection will ever require.

There exists a popular reptile care site on the Internet that discusses the toxicity of Nix, but in the two cases cited, Nix was spread over the infested snakes in full concentration. Common sense should dictate that reptiles and amphibians coming in direct contact with any fully concentrated chemical that does not occur in their natural environment would yield deleterious, if not downright fatal, results. The use of Nix discussed below involves a diluted solution (1 part Nix to 68 parts water) that has never produced adverse reactions in any python or boa in my collection over the course of 8 years. In fact, some snakes in my collection are proactively treated every 6 months as they make appearances at semi-annual reptile shows and I am not willing to risk the chance of mites from other exhibitors making their way into my collection. Even routine treatments on these boas and pythons over the course of several years have yet to result in any negative effects.


Materials
· Spray bottle. Preferably one that has never been used, or at the very least, one that has never contained harsh chemicals and has been thoroughly rinsed.

· 56 g (59 ml) bottle of Nix. I have only ever found this one particular size of Nix, which can be sourced at most drug stores and some pharmacy sections of grocery stores for anywhere from $6-$12.

· 4L (1 Gallon) jug of distilled water. Distilled water should be used to extend the shelf life of the solution. With distilled water, the solution’s effectiveness is expected to last up to 12 months as long as the solution is stored at room temperature and in a covered box (light breaks down the active ingredient found in Nix). Although, with one treatment and sound quarantine practices, the first treatment should be all that is necessary.


Creating the Nix Solution
· Pour the Nix cream into the 4L jug of distilled water. Nix is a fairly thick cream substance, so it may take a couple minutes to transfer as much of the cream into the jug of distilled water as possible.

· Replace the cap on the jug of distilled water and shake until the Nix cream is evenly distributed throughout the water. Again, this may take a few minutes due to the thick consistency of Nix.

· Pour the Nix solution into a spray bottle.


Eradicating Snake Mites
· If snake mites are only found on one snake or only in one snake enclosure, it is wise to conclude that mites have infested ALL snakes and their enclosures that are contained within the same room. Mites may have also transferred to snakes housed in another room by “hitchhiking on your hands or clothes. Therefore, absolutely all snakes and their terrariums should be treated to ensure 100% effectiveness.

· First, remove the snake from the enclosure and place in a Rubbermaid container. Spray the snake liberally with the Nix solution. Do not avoid spraying this solution on their head, eyes and heat pits – in fact, this is where mites commonly hide so spraying the head area is essential.

· Remove all substrate from the terrarium and throw away. Do not leave the garbage bag containing this old substrate anywhere in the house.

· Spray the entire enclosure, inside and out, including all cage furniture (branches, hide boxes, water bowl, etc.) and glass viewing area. Make sure that all corners and crevices are well covered with Nix solution, as this is where mites and their eggs are often hiding. Even spray the outside back of the cage and a 2-foot perimeter around the cage on the floor. The Nix residue that forms after drying is thought to even be effective at killing mites hiding out elsewhere in the room that may attempt to re-enter the snake cage.

· Replace the substrate with paper, preferably paper towel, as it is easy to spot mites on this. It is essential to use paper until you are absolutely certain that full eradication has been accomplished. I suggest waiting 3 weeks after the last live mite is spotted before using non-paper substrate.

· Remove water bowl from cage and replace, filled with water, 24 hours later. This ensures that the Nix solution is not washed off the snake by soaking in the water bowl before the active ingredient has had a chance to destroy all mites hiding under its scales.

· Return the snake to its enclosure and spray it, the cage, furniture and paper one more time.

· When the snake defecates during treatment, remove the paper and clean the messed area as usual, but be sure to re-spray the cleaned area and new paper with Nix solution.

· Repeat in 5-7 days twice, for a total of 3 treatments. With all likelihood, the last live mite will perish within a few hours of the first treatment, but repeating treatment is good practice in case the outbreak is severe and mites are able to re-enter cages.


Preventative Maintenance
Any snake entering a collection should be quarantined for 2-3 months, ideally in a completely separate room from where other snakes are housed, but at the very least in a separate cage. It should be assumed that any new snake has mites, regardless of how well respected the previous owner or pet store is. I have personally been let down on several occasions by leading breeders in our hobby, and from personal friends. It is my experience that employing the “better safe than sorry” approach is of paramount importance in ensuring mite breakouts never occur.

Given the above assumption new acquisitions, in addition to their cage and cage furniture, should be treated with Nix solution 3 times (one full treatment every 5-7 days). Same should hold true when a snake enters your colony for a breeding loan, even if it is your own specimen that was lent out and is returning. As previously mentioned, it is also wise to treat snakes that attend shows, where other exhibitors and spectators may have mite infestations. With the large number of people that handle your animals, or even just touch the enclosure in which your snakes are housed, the chance that a mite is hitchhiking on at least one of these snake enthusiasts at the show is good. Don’t become complacent and cut corners in this area, or you may find yourself right back where you started.

Cage furniture and substrate purchased at pet stores can also serve as mite vectors and should be treated with caution. Mite-free substrate can be purchased from pet stores that do not carry reptiles, from a livestock feed stores, or from landscape centres. Newly purchased cage furniture should be sprayed liberally with Nix solution. Highly porous cage furniture (wood hide boxes, branches, etc.) should be soaked in a 10% bleach solution for a day, then rinsed thoroughly, sprayed with Nix solution, and allowed to dry for a week.
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Old 06-02-03, 02:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thumbs up NIX works.

Hi there I used the NIx treatment on my Wild Guyana Redatil Boa. A friend told me about it and it worked great, if done safely and right you will get success from it.

Cya
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Old 06-02-03, 03:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Of course, permethrin, which I believe is the active ingredient in Nix (as well as other commerical mite sprays) has been linked to birth defects in lab animals, and has been known to be fatal in young/small animals - even at low doses. As always, these type of home remedies can and do work, but they're always use at your own risk. Do more research on your own on the chemical, its uses and effects than a few forum posts. Don't learn the hard way.

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Old 06-02-03, 03:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good thing to know if I ever have mites this I'm sure will really help, and save me the time of going and looking it up!!!
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Old 06-02-03, 03:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great post Nathan & I pass your "handout' out to a few people. I unfortunatley have had to deal with mites before a few times & NIX is the way to go for sure. I recv. a Hogg Island Boa last sunday that was "infected". Thank God I followed proper quarantine policy so no other specimens were exposed. One of the biggest disadvantgaes of having snakes "delivered" is that you can't inspect them until you already own them. DOH! Oh well its not the first time, but hopefully its the last. I will 2nd Nathans handout comments on not to trust anyone no matter who they are or their reputations & to treat all new specimens (& quarantine!) as potential "carriers". I have been let down twice in the last 6 months alone by well respected breeders & friends. Them telling me sorry on the phone or via email doesn't cut it, CYA. It is better safe than sorry. $12 worth of NIX is never a waste of time or $ & futhermore an once of prevention is worth tons of pounds of cure, especially when it comes to snake mites & large collections of snakes (especially you large Boid keepers). I have treated 60-70 snakes at once before (just as a precaution, rather than chancing anything) & I can guarantee you it is not fun for me or them & is very time consuming. Paranoia is good policy when it comes to mites & I say NIX everything. Seriously, Mark I.
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Old 06-02-03, 04:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In reguards to the hazards of NIX (see above) I have had no negative experiences, except buying it at the drugstore. When you have really long hair & ask for 2-3 bottles of the stuff everyone backs away from you right away, LOL. I have heard negatives but they were in cases of not following instructions properly. I have never heard of it causing birth defects in snakes, mind you I never have the sprayed the stuff (or any other chemicals) around any eggs ever (why would you?) & IMO a few treatments should not harm babies that are inside live bearing snakes such as boas. Inject lab animals with just about any chemical (or long term exposure to it) & I'm sure it will cause some kind of birth defects in their offspring. Remember NIX is for external use only so of course it would have negative effects if taken internally & the animal is not meant to be constantly exposed to it either. Mark I.
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Old 06-03-03, 09:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Glad this has worked so well for you, Mark! Good to know that some of the "commercial" folks out there (importers, etc.) are employing sound quarantine practices more so than I recall in past years.

Interestingly enough, this Nix treatment has made its rounds pretty much worldwide now thanks to e-mail and the 'net. I have heard from people in Spain, S. Africa, all over Europe and Australia that have either followed this treatment and had great success, or had stories of smuggling this product from a neighbouring country as it was not available locally. I, of course, do not suggest anyone go as far as to engage in smuggling practices to acquire Nix where not available.

Nathan
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Old 06-03-03, 09:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had to deal with a mite situation about a year ago, urgh! lol!!! I did hours and hours of research on the net to find the safest solution as I had 2 very young corns at the time (2-3 months old) and I didn't want to use a product that could harm them. The Nix treatment prescribed in the solution above is the one I ended up going with and it worked like a charm It is also the only chemical solution that I found for more sensitive reptiles and I haven't read one account yet of significant trouble or death with Nix when used in the dilution mentioned.

Great post, very well written and explained :thumbsup:

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Old 06-03-03, 10:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll stick to Black Knight, active ingredient is d-phenothrin, at one time it was called Aircraft Airosol Spray and sold only to airlines and the military. It does have the lasting effect needed to kill the mites that hatch from eggs 2 months after the initial spray. d-Phenothrin is one of a class of pesticides called pyrethrin, which is known for its non-persistency in the environment and acute toxic effect on insects. It is manufactured by the Airosol Company of Neodesha, Kansas, registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, and sold under the trade name Black Knight Roach Killer. The release of pesticide into passenger cabins and cargo holds is approved by the World Health Organization. It will kill ALL insects so keep it away from your feeder insects.
 
Old 06-03-03, 01:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I personally use Black Knight, but Nix does sound quite intriguing. I will probably try it when I get my next snake.
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Old 06-03-03, 01:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Attn. Rev & Edwin: Black Knight is an Aerosol then? How much does it cost approx.? Can it be safely applied & left on the animals directly or is it only for enclosures etc.? Does it too "break down" with exposure to light, like NIX will? You say (Rev) that it is effective for upto 2 months, but it is not effective on eggs? Get back if ya can & THX.
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Old 06-03-03, 01:59 PM   #12 (permalink)
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ive never had to treat a snake for mites so i have NO clue. i caught one with mites but i took it to the vet and he did it for me.
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Old 06-03-03, 04:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Black Knight comes in a 12(?) oz can for $20USD and can be ordered (plus more info) at http://www.proexotics.com/specials.html
 
Old 06-03-03, 05:09 PM   #14 (permalink)
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We use Provent a mite, which treats the substrate (which mites could come in on) instead of treating the snake. it works for a month or so. we use it both as an active measure (we've had mites twice) and a preventive measure (we treat the substrate when we change it). we bought a can last summer and it's still going strong (we have 20 snakes)
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Old 06-03-03, 07:16 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by gonesnakee
Attn. Rev & Edwin: Black Knight is an Aerosol then? How much does it cost approx.? Can it be safely applied & left on the animals directly or is it only for enclosures etc.? Does it too "break down" with exposure to light, like NIX will? You say (Rev) that it is effective for upto 2 months, but it is not effective on eggs? Get back if ya can & THX.
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Hi Mark,

Yes, it is an aerosol spray, and it is safe for most herps, although I would avoid using it on young herps or herps in a weakened state. Basically, I take out the water bowl, spray the enclosure, wait a bit, and then place the snake in there. I do this for all of my new snakes, as well as the occasional babysitting/rescues I get. So far, no mites. A friend of mine, who does not keep herps regularly uses Black Knight to spray down his basement apartment, as he has a pretty bad roach infestation there. So far, he still looks (fairly) normal, but I can't vouch for his sperm count.

For pricing, I bought a can for about C$35, but it is much cheaper if you split an order and buy a case. A can should last quite a bit, as you do not need to use a lot per spraying.

The reason I am thinking of giving Nix a try is because it is readily available at most pharmacies. Just don't scratch your head when buying it, lol.

Here are a few links that should give you more information:
http://vpi.com/9VPITipsAndTechs/thew...TheWeapons.htm
http://www.proexotics.com/FAQ_answer..._of_mites.html

MSDS for Black Knight:
http://www.airosol.com/BK%20MSDS.htm

Hope this helps!
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