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Old 09-06-2020, 09:56 AM   #1
MaryRobinson
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Default Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Hello everyone,

This appears to be the ongoing saga of baby Percy...! He's been with us three weeks now, and as he was a terribly timid little guy, I left him to settle into his detolf for a fortnight before starting hand taming this last week. He's doing very well! (Still weeing in his bed but one thing at a time...

Thing is, I'm so upset as I am super obsessive about freezing everything for a few days before it goes in his house. I always have been! The bedding, the food, the food from his breeder, his toys, his new rodipet house - the lot. Forage mix, treats: everything. My little Mimi got mites when she was old and again I was flummoxed because I froze all her food and bedding. I know they can proliferate when they have reduced immunity or stress?

With Percy, I even plasticote-ed the corners of his new wooden house to stop anything living in the gaps... but last night I spotted a few mites! About 10, I'd say... teeny tiny moving specs. Percy was scratching a bit too but his coat looks fine. I can only see them because I was scrutinising his lid under bright light as I used to for Mimi. I was so gutted.

Thing is... What should I do? I clean Percy's bedding out every few days as he's weeing on it but he's a) spending loads of time in his house because he's still new and shy and b) he's not yet hand tamed and a trip to the vet now when he's just settling in might traumatise him further!? I cleaned out the whole section of his house and bedding and surroundings last night - though again, I'm wary of stressing him by doing this and hence making him more susceptible to mites!?

I can only assume he came to me with a mite or two already on him because honestly I can't think how any eggs / larvae would've survived their freezer stint! I'm actually pretty annoyed as it's made him a bit scratchy, it'll put back taming and I had to throw out nearly a half bag of hemp bedding which is not cheap... After all the efforts to keep him mite free.

I know hams may have mites on them in normal circumstances and a few may be 'allowed' - but my first thought was to do a full clean out... but then as he's so new I don't want to stress him! What do you all recommend?

Thanks,
Percy's very annoyed Mummy!
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:06 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

It does seem a bit strange if you’re freezing everything, they’re not the mites that naturally occur on the skin as those are invisible so they must be coming from some external source.
Any other animals in the house?
It might sound odd but I had an out break of little mites that came from a bit of organic broccoli that got buried & forgotten for a few days so mites (& there are just so many types of them!) can come from all sorts of things.
I would keep trying to figure out where they might possibly be coming from, as they’re not hamster mites I wouldn’t take him to the vet as it shouldn’t be necessary & may well just stress him out a bit.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:30 AM   #3
MaryRobinson
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cypher View Post
It does seem a bit strange if you’re freezing everything, they’re not the mites that naturally occur on the skin as those are invisible so they must be coming from some external source.
Any other animals in the house?
It might sound odd but I had an out break of little mites that came from a bit of organic broccoli that got buried & forgotten for a few days so mites (& there are just so many types of them!) can come from all sorts of things.
I would keep trying to figure out where they might possibly be coming from, as they’re not hamster mites I wouldn’t take him to the vet as it shouldn’t be necessary & may well just stress him out a bit.
Thanks Cypher. I know, I'm really perplexed! No, no other animals in the house... No kids either!
Oh - well that's a thought. I do wash his veggies but yes he does have organic broccoli on occasion... I am seriously so confused as to where the bugs are coming from! I wonder if I'm not freezing stuff long enough?? I usually do 48 hours or so. Absolutely, don't want to stress him out especially at the moment when he's new and timid!
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:12 PM   #4
cypher
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

48hrs is the minimum really, I usuaally freeze stuff for at least a week.
It must be frustrating & confusing, hope someone else might have more ideas to help.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

I had some on a rotten blueberry once that got overlooked. There were a few crawling around it - I spot cleaned them out if that area and no more. As Cypher said these won’t be hamster mites. They could be from anything if the environment is right. It won’t be his pee. Does his water bottle drip on the substrate at all? I had some issues with damp substrate once. Are they in a particular area? Also some hay items can bring mites. But you freeze everything. These things can just get in when doors and windows are open and find places attractive to them maybe. The usual suspect is food though.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Sorry just seen last posts. I think it’s from food. I freeze it for a week minimum after reading it needed a week to kill moth eggs definitely.
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Old 09-08-2020, 12:44 AM   #7
MaryRobinson
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Thank you everyone. I am definitely going to be freezing stuff for longer!

Just to clarify: These bugs are minute. Like specs of dust. As I say, it was only because Mimi got a fair few of them proliferate when she was a sickly old lady that I have been looking out for them now - I couldn't possibly see them on Percy or on his bedding; I can only spot them by staring really hard at his smooth wooden lid and waiting to see if any dust specs move. Like, they are tiny. So I am still in two minds that really they might be normal hamster mites. Hubby took a photo with his macro zoom lens and we could just about see the spec had legs when he zoomed it in 100x! So when I say I can see them I'm not talking flea size or anything...

In any case, I have squished the 3 I found yesterday (spotted by shining the torch on the wood and waiting for anything to move!!) and there was no sign of any on Percy's house wall. He seems less itchy so perhaps the substrate change worked; he even tolerated my brushing him with a toothbrush last night so perhaps any remaining mites were removed! (He allowed me to bathtub train again last night; the night after I had changed all his bedding and substrate in that end because I'd spotted mites, he was NOT amused and sat in his bedroom in a grump - poor Percy!)

Anyway, minor victory: he's starting to use his potty in his other chamber of his house! So at least that's something good to celebrate!
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Old 09-08-2020, 03:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Excellent news about the potty They sound a bit like flour weavils or something. Even tiny weevils/mites won't be hamster mites if you can actually see them. What colour are they? Black?
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Old 09-08-2020, 11:57 AM   #9
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

Hello,

I wonder if you may have book lice? In my old house, it was quite dark and damp and I found really tiny little bugs on lots of surfaces. I took many photos and book lice were the closest identification I could find, they were tinier than a pinhead.
I never fully got rid of them but they survived better in damp climates so after my initial big freak out clean, I only found the odd ones here and there and kept the house as well ventilated as I could.

As you have been freezing everything and had new bags open etc, it sounds more environmental. We have had some very hot weather over summer and having windows open etc, all sorts can get in.

It's unlikely they would "bite" Percy to make him itchy, hamsters do itch like all animals, is it possible you are on high alert and it seems like he is itchier and thus worrying you?

Hope you get it sorted, all the best
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Old 09-09-2020, 10:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Signs of mites - even tho' I freeze everything!

I only learnt recently that I was probably not freezing stuff for long enough, i.e I was just doing a couple of days but then it was pointed out thay a week is better. It will be interesting if you tried this to see if it makes any difference in your situation. Good luck
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