Hypothetical Question Regarding Reptile Mites - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:12 PM   #1
Brad Pard
Hypothetical Question Regarding Reptile Mites

If I were to buy a snake that unknowingly had mites, would I have to spray the entire room with Provent-a-Mite? Basically, what would be the most efficient way to kill mites and their eggs when the latter are laid in other places of the hypothetical room other than on the snake, enclosure, utensils, and temperature equipment?
Old 02-06-2020, 06:15 PM   #2
Socratic Monologue
When you spray the enclosure, the mites cannot get back to the snake, so spraying the enclosure is sufficient.

If you have numerous snakes, then more extensive spraying (racks, tubs of nearby snakes) may be in order.

Edit to add: quarantining new arrivals away from one's existing collection -- which everyone should do -- greatly simplifies treatment of mites.
Old 02-06-2020, 06:25 PM   #3
Agree, there's no reason to spray the entire room. Treat the enclosure with provent-a-mite, following directions (don't spray water bowl, let air dry completely before reintroduction of animal, etc). I always quarantine in a simple plastic tub and I pre-treat with provent-a-mite 24 hours before the new arrival is here. I've brought in snakes with mites and doing this knocked them out and they did not spread.
Mites suck haha
Old 02-06-2020, 07:49 PM   #4
I wrote this up after my second battle with the little so-and-so's. While other treatments, such as ivermectin injections and wiping the snakes with Frontline, do exist, I have not tried them so I've not included them in my own writeup. You can find out about Frontline at:

Mite Eradication 101:

*** Permethrin ***

Permethrin comes in many forms - Provent-A-Mite (PAM), NIX/RID head lice treatment, Permethrin-10 from a livestock supply store, etc. Once mixed with water its half life is 30 days if kept out of direct sunlight.

PAM has several advantages. It has been tested for use with reptiles, and it comes ready to use. The disadvantages are that it's expensive and most reptile stores don't have it in stock, so you have to wait for it to be shipped to you if you don't have any on hand. Meanwhile the mites are busy feeding and breeding.

NIX/RID is cheaper than PAM and is readily available at WalMart, CVS, and other drug stores. It is also easy to dilute: mix one two ounce (59 ml) bottle of the cream rinse with one gallon of water.

Permethrin-10 is the cheapest of the three options; one eight ounce bottle will make 240 gallons of solution, as only 6 milliliters of it are needed per gallon of water to make an effective mite spray. The upside is that if you have a lot of snakes to treat this will do it very economically. The downside is that it's all too easy to make too strong of a permethrin solution which can seriously injure or kill your snakes.

No matter which product you use, it must be used correctly. I've never applied any permethrin product directly onto my snakes as it's not needed for mite treatment, and permethrin poisoning in a snake can cause irreversible neurological damage or death.

Permethrin use: spray the enclosure, paper substrate, and hides with the diluted solution or PAM. DO NOT SPRAY THE WATER BOWL. Allow everything to dry completely before returning your snake to its home. Also keep a supply of treated and dried newspaper or paper towels and treated hides available so that when a snake makes a mess, you replace the soiled paper and hides with treated ones. Treat the enclosure every two to three weeks.

*** Natural Chemistry Reptile Spray ***

Reptile Spray kills mites on contact while wet, once it dries it loses its effectiveness pretty quickly. Reptile Spray is a solution of salts rather than an insecticide; it kills mites by dehydrating them. I don't spray the snakes as more ends up on the floor than on the snake. Instead, I spray a white paper towel with it and wipe it on the snake. That way you get even coverage on the snake, you can work it into the area under their chin really well as that's a favorite hiding place for mites, you don't stress out your snake, and you can look for mites on the paper towel to see how quickly they're being eradicated. Apply twice a week. Note - this stuff hurts like hell in an open wound.

*** Hot Shot No-Pest Strips ***

Some people take a Hot Shot No-Pest strip, cut it into pieces, put each piece into a small sealed container, poke some holes in the container, and put each container into the snake's enclosure. I've used the No-Pest strip but I just hang it in the snake room and close the door. Either way is effective, especially if you have a major outbreak.

If you do use it, remove the water bowls as the insecticide is strongly attracted to water and you don't want the snake drinking it. After 24 hours remove the strip (or pieces), put them into an airtight container for future use, air out the room, and put the water bowls back. Repeat treatment weekly.

Important! If you also keep tarantulas, feeder roaches/dubias, crickets, etc. do not use the No-Pest Strip as it can kill them too!!!!

*** Mild Dish Soap ***

One or two drops of mild dish detergent in your snake's bath water will break the surface tension and prevent mites from floating in the water so they drown. No more than that is needed, your snake should not look like it is taking a bubble bath.

*** Heat ***

Don't laugh, but a temperature of 135*F for five seconds will kill mites and the eggs. I purchased a heat gun used for stripping paint that can be set to blow hot air from 180*F through 1200*F. Using the heat gun and a temperature gun I heated the surfaces and crevices of my racks and enclosures to kill off any mite eggs that may have been laid outside the tubs. Don't get your enclosure surfaces and joined/glued areas too hot or you can damage them.

Mite treatment should continue for 30 days after you stop finding mites on your snake, as an egg can take that long to hatch.


Effective quarantine means that you treat every new arrival as if it has mites, and new snakes are kept as far away from your established collection as possible for at least 90 days. At the very least new critters should never be in the same room with your established collection.

I treat the quarantine enclosure, hides, and paper substrate with permethrin a day or so before the new snake arrives, and I wipe the snake with a paper towel soaked in Reptile Spray as part of my inspection process when it comes out of the shipping box. If the snake has mites I will know it within a day or two at most. This also goes for snakes from "trusted" sources, my first mite outbreak ever came from someone I trusted.

Finally, a mite egg can take up to 30 days to hatch. So, suppose you treat for a week or so and you think the mites are gone, but there are a few eggs left. You stop treating. The eggs hatch a few weeks later, the mites grow up, and the females lay eggs. After six to eight weeks those eggs are hatching and you notice a full-blown infestation. So, if you think you "keep getting mites", you're not: you failed to eradicate the original infestation. Mite treatments should continue for 30 days after you stop finding them.

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