Are you noticing springtails and mites in your terrarium or vivarium and wondering, “ Do Springtails Eat Mites?”
Do mites eat springtails? What are the differences between them? How do you get rid of mites? Will springtails eat them and what else do springtails eat?
In this article, we’ll find out if springtails can eat mites.
Do Springtails Eat Mites?
Springtails do not eat mites. Mites can eat springtails. Soil predators will eat mites, ants, pseudoscorpions and springtails.
Springtails eat bacteria, fungi, lichens, algae, decaying vegetation and carrion. They help to fertilize the soil and will not harm your plants or animals in the process.
Mites need to be removed and will not be eaten by springtails. Isopods and springtails can outcompete mites for the available food and reduce their numbers accordingly.
Can Springtails Kill Mites?
Springtails and mites can both seem like creepy little critters that shouldn’t belong in terrariums or vivariums, but one of them is much more beneficial than the other.
Springtails are allowed to stay because they can fertilize the soil. Introducing springtails into your enclosure can help to out-compete mites. Springtails reproduce rapidly and can ingest more food sources that mites also tend to eat.
When springtails are able to consume bacteria, fungi, lichen and decaying plant matter faster than mites, then the latter will die off while the former will continue to maintain their positions in the ecosystem that you are managing.
If you want to kill mites faster, dry out the tank which will also end up getting rid of springtails as well.
Do Springtails Eat Pests?
Springtails are able to fertilize the soil while they consume:
- Decayed vegetation
Springtails sometimes turn to each other or other small invertebrates as food sources. They also feed on carrion. Springtails will not consume mites, but will out-compete them when there are food sources available.
By outcompeting isopods and mites, the population of these unwanted pests dwindle while springtails are welcome to stay as they are proving to be more beneficial to fertilizing the soil without harming plants or animal life.
How Can You Tell Springtails From Mites?
Mites look like you have grains of sugar on your soil. They could look creamy white in color and round in shape. Mites move much slower than springtails.
Springtails are faster moving and have an elongated shape looking like a grain of rice, but much smaller. Springtails also hop around while mites do not.
- 25 to 6 mm in length
- Spring loaded abdomens called a furcula give them their name.
- Releasing their furcula causes them to spring into the air.
- Springtails can jump up to 10 cm.
- They eat mold and fungus, but not mites.
- Found in soil that is moist.
- Tiny, white or red insects that look and move like little specks.
- Mites suck sap from plants or ingest the same food sources as springtails.
- They can also bite or feed on the blood of larger animals.
- Mites do not need males to reproduce.
- They move slower than springtails.
- They routinely get outnumbered by springtails who can outcompete them for food.
Do Mites Eat Springtails?
Yes. Mites can easily eat springtails if they are able to catch them. Springtails move faster than mites and will outcompete them for the available food sources that are located within terrariums on rich, moist soil.
Mites usually feed on microbes and detritus, but they can hunt smaller invertebrates like nematodes and springtails. Predatory mites are able to inject liquid into their prey to help digest them better.
The mite population needs to be eradicated because they can also disturb the animals within terrariums while springtails do no such thing.
How Do I Get Rid of Mites in my Terrarium?
Getting rid of mites in your terrarium involves a few steps:
- First of all you should remove all the animals out of your terrarium.
- Free the mites off of any animals by giving them a gentle bath.
- Now it is time to clean out the entire terrarium.
- Wash it all out with hot water and disinfect it. There are plenty of natural and commercial grade disinfectants that will work well in this process. Each product has its own label and must be followed correctly.
- Reptiles that are covered in mites can be soaked with tepid water to drown the little pests.
- If you only noticed mites on the head of a reptile, you can use a piece of gauze and moisten it.
- Gently wipe off any mites on the head or body of a reptile.
Focusing only on your animals covered in mites is not going to remove mites from your terrarium. You may need to start over again with a full wash and disinfecting to get rid of these unwanted pests.
It would be great for springtails to be able to eat mites and control their population. Mites are much more invasive and able to disturb the animal life that we are trying to manage in terrariums or other ecosystems.
Springtails will not eat mites. Springtails will however outcompete mites for available food sources until the population of these unwanted pests dwindles while we keep these aforementioned little critters around to help fertilize the soil.
This is why springtails are beneficial to many terrariums and do not cause harm to plants and animal life. Unfortunately we cannot say the same for mites.
If you want to eliminate mites, you can use isopods and springtails to out compete for food. You can also dry out the soil all together to eliminate all of them.
A mite infestation may require a full cleaning and disinfecting of the terrarium while bathing the animal life within.
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