I have seen numerous posts in various forms of media regarding the best way to get rid of mites. First off, the best way to get rid of mites is to never have to deal with them in the first place! This means strictly vetting your supplies of bedding, inspecting bedding before putting it into enclosures, quarantining new arrivals, and proactively treating bedding with Provent a Mite. It is infinitely easier to adhere to the above recommendations than it is to have to treat an active mite occurrence when you have 100 animals that are possibly affected.
That said, even adhering to the above does not guarantee that you will never experience a mite within your collection. Something as innocent as going to a reptile expo or allowing a friend over to see your collection can introduce mites into your “snake room” or facility. I always change clothes and shower after coming home from an expo or after visiting a colleague at his facility. I also keep antibacterial hand wash in my “snake room” and require everyone, even my wife, to clean their hands before touching any animals. This may sound extreme but if you have ever dealt with mites you know it is not something you want near your collection. It’s not the end of the world if you do see mites near your collection but it is definitely something that needs to be attended to immediately.
I always keep a couple of cans of Provent a Mite on hand, as well as a flea or mite spray that is not harmful to animals. This one-two punch is the best solution that I have come across to treat and also prevent mites from infiltrating your prized collection. For preventive measures, I spray all of my enclosures with Provent a Mite when I change the bedding. In the unlikely event that the bedding had mites in it, the Provent a Mite is designed to kill the mites and eggs for up to 30 days.
Several months back I acquired an Emerald Tree Boa that was purchased online (another story, but it was clearly wild caught but was sold to me as CB). When I opened the snake bag it looked like someone had poured half of a pepper shaker in it. I immediately put the snake in a locking tote and moved it to another room thinking the damage had been confined. About a week later I was checking on my collection and noticed one of my adult females trying to soak herself in an 8 ounce deli cup. That seemed unusual to me so I pulled her out of the deli up and there were probably 10 mites in the water. I researched different methods of treating mite infestation online and this is what worked best for me:
- remove snakes from enclosures and place in a large tub with a locking lid
- fill the tubs with about 3″ of lukewarm water and allow snakes to soak for 20-25 minutes
- meanwhile, throw away bedding and thoroughly clean and disinfect enclosures and any and all accessories with bleach solution or F10 veterinary disinfectant (concentrated, must be mixed with water)
- after cleaning the enclosures, add new bedding and spray with Provent a Mite
- drain the water from the tub (you will likely see mites floating in the water) and rinse out
- leave the snakes in the tub and liberally spray them with DeFlea (made by Natural Chemistry and sold on Amazon by the gallon for about $30). This will dry out the shells of the mites and kill them within a few minutes
- allow the snakes to remain in the tub for another 20-25 minutes, then thoroughly wash them off with lukewarm water
- place the snakes back into their enclosures and provide fresh water. MAKE SURE THAT THE ENCLOSURES WERE ALLOWED TO AIR OUT AT LEAST 10 MINUTES BEFORE PUTTING THE SNAKES BACK IN
Hopefully you will never have to deal with mites, but it is always a good idea to have the materials on-hand to deal with an infestation should one occur. Provent a Mite is an aerosol and can only be shipped ground, so unless you have access to a local supplier it’ll be days before you can get any which means more time dealing with mites. At $20 a can save yourself some trouble down the road and keep a can or two on-hand.
DISCLAIMER: I am not being paid or compensated in any way for endorsing Provent a Mite or DeFlea.