Mites in Coconut Husk Substrate?

We were using a coconut husk substrate for our ball pythons as it held humidity wonderfully and smelled “nice” to me.

Recently I have seen breeders and hobbyists on various social media outlets dumping coco and going back to paper products or trying out hemp bedding.

What gets me is the reason they are leaving coconut substrates. Mites. These owners believe they are getting mites from their coconut substrate. I have even heard people say they get them after freezing or spraying the coco. Now I am not saying they are not, it is just something I have never thought about being a path for mites. Call me naïve because I feel like it. There is not a specific brand as I have heard almost every brand being used in cases where the owner thinks they got mites from the substrate.

Have any of you experienced this and/or believe that coconut substrate could introduce a mite infestation to your collection? Would there be a way to treat the coco to ensure there are no mites or eggs?

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Those tainted blocks could be coming from a breeder who is also a distributor. If they have mites in their collection it could transfer easily.

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Good point! I never thought of that either.

Have never experienced any mites in blocked coco but I have experienced fungus gnats along with fungus and mold a plenty from Pro Coco…switched to hemp to give it a try. Went back to pro coco after 6 months thinking it might just been a bad batch, even got it from a different supplier…more mold and gnats. Reptichip, coco blox or grow it coco for me.

Maybe people are thinking the gnats are mites…more over there are no shortage of different species of mites. Are these people seeing mites in the coco and calling them snake mites or are they experiencing an actual snake mite infection with there animals? When i was working at a pet store a ton of people would bring in pics of any small bug from their encloser calling it snake mites…i do mean any bug, ive seen maggots called snake mites.

more over if they are experiencing an actual snake mite infestation, how do they know for sure it came in on the coco?

I’ve seen several people post about fresh blocks coming in with mites.

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What one would you recommend first? I am looking at switching bedding because of the amount of dust that I have to sift off every time I make a new block up.

I used to keep hermit crabs and I always (carefully) baked the substrate before introducing it to their tank. The times I had mites get through despite my precautions I used predatory mites & they worked great. I do not know if they would work as well/be suitable in your situation.

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Definitely seen bugs in Reptichip. Whatever they were, they were not snake mites. It hasn’t happened enough times to make me stop using it…yet…

Every time I used the chipped stuff, regardless of the brand, I had a mite outbreak shortly thereafter. But… They are not snake mites, they are something akin to grain mites or wood mites. That said, they are an ungodly nuisance because they are so prolific that they can become literal patches of “mobile snow”

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It’s expensive but I have never had a problem with reptile prime. Very little dust and it comes bagged ready to use. You add how much moisture you want, instead of trying to dry out damp substrate after growing it in water.

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I have never experienced any of these problems. the only substrate ive used is aspen, though because of poor humidity i switched to reptichip and Ive never had a problem

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I use pure cypress mulch from my local farm and feed. I always keep the bags in the deep freezer until I am ready to start using the bag. I haven’t gotten mites by going this route. But as @osbornereptiles pointed out it could very well be the mites are coming from the vendors collection.

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I’ve never had mites from blocked substrate, however back when I was still using Cypress Mulch, I got lucky and they had Springtails in them.

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Imagine if you will…a person goes to a pet store/ reptile show/ a hike in the woods/ or to a friends reptile room to see a new animal they just got…whichever…and in this interaction snake mite eggs make their way onto the person’s shoes. About a week later they’re walking into their room to break up and distribute a fresh block of coco. Mind you this is about the same time those mite eggs are hatching. A week or two later they realize they have an infestation. They think back “whats new, whats changed in my room, how did this happen?”. THE COCO, must have come in on the coco, must be thats the only thing new in here.

OOORRRR the mites actually came in on the coco. That too is possible.

Guess what im trying to say is…people can say things with such conviction and certainly. These things, whether intentional or not, can be damaging to another person’s reputation, business, or hobby. And they say these things without realizing the level of variability in the claim…or worst, realize but completely discount and variables in the claim.

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Speaking to the fungus gnats, I look back even in this very thread and realized I myself have done exactly that which I am talking about…for example

That being said i have used pro coco enough time to observe a strong coalition between pro coco and fungus gnats; but coralition does not equal causation…your results may vary lol

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Honestly I haven’t noticed to to much of a difference. Currently I’m using Grow it coco chips because it’s available locally to me cutting out shipping costs…quick tip coco chips are used in hydroponics as a soiless grow media. Days are getting short and grows are moving indoor so local hydroponic stores are stocking up

So check and see if you have any hydroponic supply stores locally…odds are even if they don’t have, They can get in coco chips on the cheap

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I haven’t had fungus gnats before, only mites or woodlice.

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All I’m saying is there have been dozens of people order a certain brand of the Coco bedding and it was delivered to them with snake mites not wood mites. I get exactly what you’re saying but it’s also important that it be said it’s happening. I for one haven’t had a mite in my collection since 2005 and that was from an animal I ordered from a certain underground reptile dealer so I knew what I was getting, although it was advertised as a healthy mite-free animal. If I ordered this product and had a mite infestation occur I would warn everyone so it didn’t happen to anyone else. It’s a two-way street. Its putting people’s collections and businesses at risk. If we are talking about reputation, these things matter. Whether the mites were intentional or not matters more to me than allowing others in the community to risk their collections and it should be made aware. The scenario you propose could make sense if it happened to one breeder but this has happened to so many people there was a very long discussion about it on a Facebook group recently. It matters.

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You speak truth, if there is a consensus among multiple people that they had mites come in on coco and these people all source their coco from the same place then it is not only possible but in all likelihood probable said soruce is distributing more than just coco. And those people should be commended for issuing a buyer beware warning.

I was just saying that some times people (MYSELF INCLUDED) talk cr*p without thinking about the impact or the weight of their words.

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