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Old 06-28-2020, 10:25 AM   #1
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 3
Default Tiny insects

Hi there,

There are these very small insects in my hamsters cage's. They have not always been there. Possibly introduced by myself by not sufficiently sterilising some wooden toys I introduced to the cage. They are small in number (not swarming everywhere).

Every now and then I see one in my hamsters’ fur and remove it. They are dark in colouration and sometimes red. They do cause my hamsters to scratch but no loss of fur. The insects/bugs do bite my skin leaving small bite bumps (itchy).

I am hoping you have seen these before and can give me some advice.
My search on the net has produced a ridicules amount of conflicting opinions and answers. I have never been able to get a definitive answer or advice, only speculation. The majority of post suggest that they are not mites as hamster mites are to small to be seen by the human eye? I do not know if this is true or not however I do not want to treat my hamsters for mites if they are not mites as I have read that mite treatment can be harmful to hamsters.

I have attached a photo I found on the net as it is the only other image, I have found of them. I have also attached my own image.

I would be very grateful for your input.

Kind regards
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ham1.jpg (324.4 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200628_181431.jpg (2.15 MB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200628_181456.jpg (2.13 MB, 17 views)
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:17 PM   #2
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Location: Wales UK
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Default Re: Tiny insects

They aren't hamster mites & I don't think there is any need to treat your hamster as they will just be in the cage somewhere rather than actually infesting your ham.
They can come from anywhere, possibly from wood or other natural product, it's best to freeze things like that before putting them in the cage just in case, I had something similar come from a bit of broccoli that got buried in the substrate & forgotten for a few days once!
You may have to resort to a full cage clean to get rid of them, remove wooden items & freeze them to get rid fo anything that may be hiding in them.
A full cage clean is stressful for them but I'm not sure you really have any other option.

I tend to freeze most things, wood, cork, hay, dried plant material of any kind like herbs or flowers, dry food & seeds just to be sure no little bugs get into anything!
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Last edited by cypher; 06-28-2020 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:16 AM   #3
Ria P
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Location: Wiltshire, UK
Posts: 3,168
Default Re: Tiny insects

I also had flying insects or fruit flies in a hamster's cage once. The source was a buried piece of cucumber that had gone mouldy. Didn't seem to bother my hamster but it bothered me, a lot.
I cleaned out the whole cage and washed everything with mild washing up liquid and warm water then rinsed well. Wooden items you can freeze or bake at 100C for an hour to kill anything that shouldn't be there.

My hamster was mighty miffed but got over it, eventually.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:02 PM   #4
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Location: Yorkshire, UK but my heart lies in Scotland!
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Default Re: Tiny insects

Those look like bird mites which can come in with food and bedding. They are quite hard to get rid of and they do bite humans as well. I would treat them with a spot on - possibly see the vets for a specific treatment. Get rid of everything touched by the hamster and clean and spray the area with a bird mite treatment. You may need to treat the hamster more than once to get shot of them on the vets direction. Freezing and heating will kill them.
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Old 06-29-2020, 04:06 PM   #5
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Location: North of England
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Default Re: Tiny insects

Sounds like you will need to do a full cage clean and sterilise things. Either baking them, or washing them in fairy liquid (plastic and ceramic). And pick anything you can see off your hamster before putting him back. If he needs to see the vet as souffle suggested, it might be better if you can put him in a temporary cage for now so you don't have to keep doing full cage cleans. And can clean out his main cage and leave it ready for when he's been treated. Do you have a spare cage?
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:45 AM   #6
Newborn Pup
Join Date: Jun 2020
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Default Re: Tiny insects

Thank you all for your replies, advice and support xxx

I have a clearer plan now:
- Bin cage as temporary accommodation
- Trip to vet
- Disassemble Detolf and deep clean with steamer (high heat)
- Throw away ALL bedding, and Aspin shavings (Buy new)
- Throw away ALL toys (Buy new)
- Put ceramic bowls through dishwasher
- Freeze ALL new bedding, shavings and wooden toys for a week!

If the thread is still open in a week or two (I am not sure how these threads work/ when they close) I will give an update.

Thank you again for your support!

Kind regards
Korthain xxxxx
Thank you all for your replies, advice and support xxx

Last edited by souffle; 06-30-2020 at 08:47 AM.
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