Is there a *proven* method for destroying mites, eggs, or other “hitchhikers” in mulch?

I’ve seen a LOT of wildly varying advice on ensuring that substrate (cypress mulch, in this case) and organic cage furnishings (branches, cork rounds, sphagnum moss, etc.) is free of mites and eggs prior to putting it in the enclosure… Everything from “300F for 30 minutes”, to “400 degrees for 6 hours” (is that even possible???), to “microwave for 10 minutes”, to “deep freeze, then air dry”. I can’t actually find any proper research on mite/egg survival rates for any of these techniques, so I’m wondering if there’s a confirmed method for sterilizing mulch? Because this is maddening. :face_with_spiral_eyes:


I do 250 for 45-60 minutes. A lot of people will say that 200 for 30 is sufficient but I feel that it is better to be safe and do a little hotter for a little longer.

From what I understand this will kill anything in/on what ever is being cooked. 400 degrees for 6 hours is complete overkill and also increases the risk of a fire. And from what I understand, freezing won’t kill the eggs of some hitchhikers.


And I kinda started a fire yesterday while cooking some rotting wood. I was seeing if cooking at 300 instead of 250 would make a difference and it lit on fire :melting_face:. Nothing happened but I think I am going to stick to 250 from now on :sweat_smile:


Thank you! You echoed my thoughts completely on the freezing thing. :persevere: And while the combustion temperature of wood is supposed to be around 450-480F, I feel like 6 hours at 400F would HAVE to at the very least wreck the substrate beyond usability. :woman_shrugging:

Tad scary about that rotting wood, though… I have mulch in the oven now at 300F, as that was the most widely suggested temp. :grimacing: Albeit, I have been sitting in the kitchen the entire time (and will be for as long as there is mulch in my oven, lol).


I wouldn’t worry about the mulch because the rotting wood was too close to the top of the oven. Also the wood was really soft and the oven dried it out making it perfect to catch fire. Cypress mulch shouldn’t be a problem at all so don’t worry about it.


Welcome to the world of correct reptile world “confusion” on the internet! Lol!

That’s why I love this place so much because there are experienced people here who can quell the chaos/confusion! :joy: lol!

400 degrees for 6 hours? You may not have a place to live left let alone a reptile enclosure! :rofl::joy::slightly_smiling_face::rofl:


Lol :joy: I am sorry that happened