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Old 05-23-2020, 11:11 AM   #1
Jadetooth
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Unhappy Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Hi All,

I feel really bad basically I took three pine cones and put them in Nutmeg (syrian 4ish month old male)'s cage (Alaska), and one week later his bedding was infested with tiny red / brown bugs, hundreds and hundreds, they were tiny.

So I cleaned out all the bedding and cleaned all the plastic toys and only put the plastic ones back, and thoroughly cleaned the actual cage.

I guess he'll be quite stressed as all his bedding had a 100% change. I'd also noticed his scent glands each had a tiny scab on it, wondering if that was related.

Has anyone had this before? Any advise for specifically I should do if anything? Thinking of just not handling him for a few days to reduce stress.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:50 PM   #2
Snail
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Im not an expert by any means but id suggest trying to find a very thin comb/brush, laying him on some white paper and brushing his fur to check for any bugs and maybe consider a trip to the vets about the scab. Id also try baking his wooden toys/houses in the oven for a bit to kill off any mites/bugs/germs before putting them back in. Next time if you choose to bring outside sticks/pinecones in Id try the same baking method to kill off any potential mites! Hope he’s alright!
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Old 05-23-2020, 02:29 PM   #3
souffle
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Are the bugs still there? You need to get them ID'd and get treatment and repeat treatment every few weeks as the vet directs. If they are bird mites which may have come in the pine cones (those should not be given to hamsters anyway as pine resin is dangerous) You need to get rid of all the wooden stuff in a sealed bag and clean everything. Freezing food and bedding for 2 weeks can kill the eggs. Spot ons will work and spraying the area around the cage and room with Johnsons bird mite spray should help. They do bite and suck blood and can leave scabs on the hamster and tiny red marks.
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Old 05-24-2020, 03:18 AM   #4
Ithuviel
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

I would also like to know the outcome of this. is everything ok?
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Old 05-24-2020, 11:00 AM   #5
Jadetooth
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Hi all, thanks very much - I cleaned the cage really well and so there aren't any left. I took all the wood things out that weren't painted. Today I got a new set of toys second hand from Gumtree equivalent which are plastic.

Nutmeg seems ok, he hasn't been itching at all, and I couldn't see any other rashes or sign of unhappiness. I've frozen all his food and all the wooden toys I took out, and will maybe bake them too.

I'll give it a day or two then have another inspection of the cage, then next weekend do a proper thorough clean with bleach etc.
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Old 05-27-2020, 04:52 AM   #6
Nika
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Hi,
I hope your hammy is fine!! Cleaning the cage was definitely the right choice and I do recommend baking all wooden toys! I usually put things into the oven on a low heat (around 120˚C) for at least 20 minutes but preferably more towards an hour if the toys can take it (watch out for painted wood!).
I am a big fan of foraging but it is important to make sure things you bring into your hamster's cage are clean: I often collect dandelions from places where dogpee isn't going to be on them. wash everything in water first. for flowers I usually dry them out (by hanging them upside down for at least a couple of days) which will already help with eliminating some pests, but there is still a risk! for wooden things, make sure they are safe woods, and then soak and wash them, then bake them for an hour. this should get rid of most pests.
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:35 AM   #7
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Glad he is ok. I would use Beaphar for small animals to disinfect the cage. It is what vets use to deep clean something and it’s much safer than bleach. Even if rinsed well, bleach can use a residue and the aroma can taint the plastic - hamsters have a very sensitive sense of smell and respiratory tract. Even with the beaphar I would rinse well afterwards. Another option is safe4 which vets use - the odourless version is best. Depends which one you can get hold of as these things are in short supply. I’ll link them.

You can also use various household ceramic items as cage toys- a mug on its side or a Pyrex dish as a sand bath and cardboard is your friend too - a tissue box or egg box made into a hidey place, Pringles tubes, cardboard inner kitchen roll tubes (slit down the side so it expands), a terracotta plant pot on its side. A shoebox makes a good house so they can build a big cosy nest - cut the base out and keep the lid as a lift off roof so you can check inside and don’t need to take the house out so his nest stays in tact - cut a hole for a door.

If you’ve bought some second hand toys they will need to be disinfected in case disease is transferred (or they may still have the scent of another hamster). Ceramic or plastic things can just be washed in fairy liquid and/or cleaned with the beaphar but rinse well. I would bin any bendy bridges - they are hard to disinfect. Bark wood items need baking . I haven’t had much success with baking wood items and they smelled awful so I would keep it simple for now and use plastic, ceramic, cardboard and any smooth wood items that can easily be disinfected.

It will be a bit stressful for him with everything changing so it could take a couple of weeks for him to settle after you clean again. During that time just spot clean his pee and don’t disturb things while he’s settling (or empty his litter tray if he uses one).
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Old 05-27-2020, 06:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beaphar-Dee...0586561&sr=8-1

This is the beaphar - can’t find any safe 4. It actually smells quite nice and only a faint smell. Leave it on for 15 minutes or so but then rinse well after cleaning.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:52 AM   #9
Jadetooth
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

Thanks very much everyone - and thanks for the suggestion of that disinfectant. I've made some new toys out of cardboard - Hamster modern art(!) and Hamster egg box foraging hanging thing .

He didn't come out yesterday but the day before seemed to behave quite normally.

I haven't had a good look at the new bag of toys but I'll be sure to clean them
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:53 AM   #10
Jadetooth
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Default Re: Hamster cage had loads of bugs in it :/

and here was him having a tug of war with me (this was before this episode) !
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