Help! Small white bugs (aphids?) everywhere

redfootdaddy

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Aug 2, 2014
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Location (City and/or State)
Toronto ON
Hi friends,

Search function appears to be wonky so I'm sorry if this is a FAQ.

Our redfoot is in a PVC enclosure with a dirt, coco coir, and forest floor substrate. Her temps and humidity are all in range. But a few weeks ago I bought a couple small plants for her to destroy. I washed them very thoroughly, but one of them had to have been carrying passengers because these tiny white bugs have taken over the enclosure. I think they're aphids but I'm not sure. They look like little white specks, I wouldn't even clock them as bugs if they didn't move.

I've tried wiping down any surfaces I spot them on but they just keep coming back.

I'm concerned that they're bothering her - she's not showing any signs of stress or ill health, but I'm worried that won't continue to be the case if I can't get them taken care of.

Any advice appreciated, thank you!
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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I’ve had this exact same issue with tiny white bugs, when mentioned to our vet she seemed to think they’ve likely come from the substrate but aren’t harmful, hopefully that’s the case for you too!
I’ll definitely be baking our next batch to avoid this in the future though
 

Chubbs the tegu

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Ma
I’ve had this exact same issue with tiny white bugs, when mentioned to our vet she seemed to think they’ve likely come from the substrate but aren’t harmful, hopefully that’s the case for you too!
I’ll definitely be baking our next batch to avoid this in the future though
Happy Birthday!
 

JoJosMom

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Mar 27, 2024
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Canebrake, CA
Hi friends,

Search function appears to be wonky so I'm sorry if this is a FAQ.

Our redfoot is in a PVC enclosure with a dirt, coco coir, and forest floor substrate. Her temps and humidity are all in range. But a few weeks ago I bought a couple small plants for her to destroy. I washed them very thoroughly, but one of them had to have been carrying passengers because these tiny white bugs have taken over the enclosure. I think they're aphids but I'm not sure. They look like little white specks, I wouldn't even clock them as bugs if they didn't move.

I've tried wiping down any surfaces I spot them on but they just keep coming back.

I'm concerned that they're bothering her - she's not showing any signs of stress or ill health, but I'm worried that won't continue to be the case if I can't get them taken care of.

Any advice appreciated, thank you!
We recommend to remove the substrate and bake it in the oven. Place it in a pan, put it in the oven, set oven to 150 degrees and turn it on with the substrate in there. Set your timer for 1 hour. This will allow the oven to preheat along with preheat the substrate. The substrate will have to be at temperature 150 degrees for at least 20 minutes. So this method will definitely do that. We bake our substrate any time we notice the little white bugs. It takes care of it every time. It will not only take care of bugs but anything growing that shouldn't be if you keep it moist all the time. So we recommend doing this once a month anyway to help prevent any buggers to your tort. :)
 

incognet

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Joined
Jun 5, 2024
Messages
58
Location (City and/or State)
Arkansas
We recommend to remove the substrate and bake it in the oven. Place it in a pan, put it in the oven, set oven to 150 degrees and turn it on with the substrate in there. Set your timer for 1 hour. This will allow the oven to preheat along with preheat the substrate. The substrate will have to be at temperature 150 degrees for at least 20 minutes. So this method will definitely do that. We bake our substrate any time we notice the little white bugs. It takes care of it every time. It will not only take care of bugs but anything growing that shouldn't be if you keep it moist all the time. So we recommend doing this once a month anyway to help prevent any buggers to your tort. :)
I also do this with my Boxie's substrate since latest enclosure cleaning. A few white bugs might stowaway on a geranium, but we don't see large populations anymore.
 

TammyJ

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So it's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road for those poor harmless little white bugs.
 

Tom

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Jan 9, 2010
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Southern California
Hi friends,

Search function appears to be wonky so I'm sorry if this is a FAQ.

Our redfoot is in a PVC enclosure with a dirt, coco coir, and forest floor substrate. Her temps and humidity are all in range. But a few weeks ago I bought a couple small plants for her to destroy. I washed them very thoroughly, but one of them had to have been carrying passengers because these tiny white bugs have taken over the enclosure. I think they're aphids but I'm not sure. They look like little white specks, I wouldn't even clock them as bugs if they didn't move.

I've tried wiping down any surfaces I spot them on but they just keep coming back.

I'm concerned that they're bothering her - she's not showing any signs of stress or ill health, but I'm worried that won't continue to be the case if I can't get them taken care of.

Any advice appreciated, thank you!
These are harmless detrivores called springtails. Harmless to you and harmless to your tortoise. You can look them up. They come from the surrounding environment and would be there whether you had brought in the plants or not. They act as a clean up crew and reduce the level of "waste" in your enclosure. No need to do anything about them, and they will return no matter what you do. There is often a population explosion when they are first noticed in any enclosure, but in time their numbers will reduce significantly and they will reach a balance with the number of bugs and the amount of waste to consume. Spot cleaning your enclosure to remove uneaten food and any poop will reduce their numbers.
 

redfootdaddy

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5 Year Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2014
Messages
38
Location (City and/or State)
Toronto ON
These are harmless detrivores called springtails. Harmless to you and harmless to your tortoise. You can look them up. They come from the surrounding environment and would be there whether you had brought in the plants or not. They act as a clean up crew and reduce the level of "waste" in your enclosure. No need to do anything about them, and they will return no matter what you do. There is often a population explosion when they are first noticed in any enclosure, but in time their numbers will reduce significantly and they will reach a balance with the number of bugs and the amount of waste to consume. Spot cleaning your enclosure to remove uneaten food and any poop will reduce their numbers.
Thanks for the reassurance! I won't completely destroy the little buggers, but I was very concerned when they were on her shell and in her eyes. I did see some of the larger springtails when I was doing some clean-up and I was like "Oh, yes, I know these things." It was the sentient specks of dust that threw me.
 

Littleredfootbigredheart

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Joined
Dec 28, 2023
Messages
1,566
Location (City and/or State)
UK
These are harmless detrivores called springtails. Harmless to you and harmless to your tortoise. You can look them up. They come from the surrounding environment and would be there whether you had brought in the plants or not. They act as a clean up crew and reduce the level of "waste" in your enclosure. No need to do anything about them, and they will return no matter what you do. There is often a population explosion when they are first noticed in any enclosure, but in time their numbers will reduce significantly and they will reach a balance with the number of bugs and the amount of waste to consume. Spot cleaning your enclosure to remove uneaten food and any poop will reduce their numbers.
Do springtails jump? Ours jumped😬

I’ve seen springtails and I’m not convinced these were, I still see a few in there sometimes but no where near as many, the tiny sentient specks of dust that @redfootdaddy Is talking about sound exactly like what I saw and they didn’t look like springtails to me😕 they don’t seem to bother our tortoise though, there was a point where they were crawling all over her shell, none on her skin, but I don’t see any on her anywhere anymore.. weird things
 

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