Flies in Cypress Mulch!

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Kayti

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I am literally being driven mad by these things. They are not fruit flies, I think. They barely fly, and they don't look exactly like fruit flies, but they are pretty similar and very very tiny. They are getting exponentially worse every day. It's at the point now where why I put my hand on the substrate, almost five of them will spring into the air.
I have tried fly tape, and I caught ONE in three different tapes, and the tapes got sticky crap everywhere.
I have tried apple vinegar with detergent, and caught none.

Can I bake my substrate in the oven or something? Or freeze it? I feel like these flies/their eggs would survive the freezing if they are native here though.

We are moving at the end of the month, so I have to take all the substrate out to move the enclosure eventually anyway.
Should I just start all over and buy new? I'm so mad, because I JUST got this stuff, and I had to buy it from a pet store so it was crazy expensive.
These flies are so gross. I don't know if I can just deal with them until the end of the month, but if I replace the substrate now and they come back, I will actually die.

I think they got in through this soil I used in my indoor plants, because they didn't show up with the cypress, but that's where they live now.

I just started a new job, new classes, and I'm moving, and these flies are crawling all over my very last nerve! Somebody save me please!
 
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Maggie Cummings

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I finally got tired of fighting with ants in Queenies substrate and emptied out her tort table and am going to spend money I don't have on new substrate for her tomorrow. In your case I would get new also and then when you pour the water in stir it up every time so there is no stale substrate. So what was damp can dry out on top. But after you take out the old vacuum and wash with detergent. I have never gotten bugs in my cypress mulch just these damned ants and they survived poison boiling water and Queenies eating them...
 

Candy

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I have to redo Dale's enclosure this weekend because I have the same problem. They're driving me nuts too. I love the way Dale's enclosure is so natural but it's actually too natural now with the bugs and all. :D So on Sunday I remove all of the dirt and put in either Cypress mulch and moss or just moss we'll see. :p
 

Meg90

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Its why I don't use cyprus as well! Cleo's (my tegu's) enclosure got taken over by them. I was irritated, and I bet she was, since they liked to fly around by her.

If you take the mulch out and bake, or freeze it, it should kill them, and you should still be able to use it.

They are "substrate" mites. They do not cause harm to reptiles, but man, are they annoying.
 

halfnelson

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If they are fungus gnats, I read somewhere that mixing some sand into the surface of your substrate should kill the larva. I catch some with sticky strips and I occationally water the potted plants (but not the substrate) with soapy water.
 

Redfoot NERD

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YES.. it's the soil, sand, etc. NOT the cypress!

Don't know who's idea it was to use soil as part of the substrate thru-out the entire enclosure. You didn't know Candy.. Kayti or whoever else is being "bugged"!

100% cypress that I use has never attracted bugs...

NERD
 

sammi

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halfnelson said:
If they are fungus gnats, I read somewhere that mixing some sand into the surface of your substrate should kill the larva. I catch some with sticky strips and I occationally water the potted plants (but not the substrate) with soapy water.

Wouldn't the soapy water eventually wither the plants?
 

pros81

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Ha. I too had a minor issue with those little substrate flies (what exactly are they called?) within two weeks of using soil as well. It was a major pain in the butt having to remove all the substrate, fully clean the enclosure, and place new substrate in.

This time I skipped the soil and stuck with a 50/50 mix of sphagnum moss and cypress mulch. It's only been two days, but at least I no longer see those tiny things crawling on my tortoise's back while eating under a light.
 

Kayti

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I'm inclined to believe that these flies are specific to cypress/wood substrates because I have one enclosure in my room right next to the tortoises that has a moist soil substrate, and I've never seen the flies in there. Additionally, I have never had flies in coconut husk.

However, I think I'm going to stick with cypress because I hate mold more than flies.

I've taken everything out and washed it in boiling water, and now I'm just spot-killing any fly I see, and stirring the mulch a lot.

I think I'm going to take it all out and freeze it over this weekend when I finally have time... Does anyone have any suggestions for how long I should leave it in for?
 
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Maggie Cummings

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Queenie had ants really bad and I just couldn't get rid of them no matter what I tried. So I threw out the whole tort table of substrate, I vacuumed it really good then I sprayed it with pesticide. I left it bare for 3 days then put half reptibark and half aspen shavings and hay...in less then 24 hours she had ants again. So I give up. They don't seem to bother her, she spends her day digging holes and eating ants. So what the heck...at least they keep her entertained
 

Tom

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These are called Phorid flies. We get them all the time in our roach cultures. The dead give away was how you said they barely fly. They dart around and run a lot instead of flying. They are not harmful in any way, just bothersome to the keeper. They are detrivores which means your substrate is fouled and needs to be replaced. The come from out in the world, so you did not introduce them with the substrate or a house plant or anything else. They need food, warmth and humidity/moisture to do their thing. If you bake(or otherwise sterilize) your substrate, it will kill any maggots or flies that are present, but they will be back within days, as their food source will still be there, only you cooked it for them. Remove their food source and they will disappear.
 

Kayti

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UG UG UG. I just got back from work, and they are back, times a billion.

Also, the idea of baked/frozen and dead fly maggots and eggs and fly parts in my substrate is now throughly grossing me out.
I need to toss it... and now I'm not sure if I want to stick with the cypress.

Would it be a bad idea to go with just straight sphagnum moss? It would be way cheaper, but I don't know if it would mold or not. No food or the flies, though.
 

Tom

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Kayti said:
UG UG UG. I just got back from work, and they are back, times a billion.

Also, the idea of baked/frozen and dead fly maggots and eggs and fly parts in my substrate is now throughly grossing me out.
I need to toss it... and now I'm not sure if I want to stick with the cypress.

Would it be a bad idea to go with just straight sphagnum moss? It would be way cheaper, but I don't know if it would mold or not. No food or the flies, though.

It has nothing to do with the substrate. Its what's in the substrate. Leftover food crumbs or poo. I get these flies in bare plastic bins with no substrate whenever theres a big dead roach or if I spill a little water and it gets into their food. As soon as there is some food and it gets damp these can show up, regardless of the substrate. To get rid of them either let the substrate dry out for a few days or remove the food source/substrate.
 
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