How to Get Rid of Bearded Dragon Mites (The easy way)
If you have notices mites on your Bearded Dragon (Click here to learn, from this guide, how to avoid costly mistakes with your Beardie), you may be wondering how they got there, but, more importantly, how to get rid of them, let me explain.
How do you get rid of mites? You need a two-phased approach. Cleaning your Beardie first, then also cleaning his environment. And, that is not just his enclosure, it includes the area around the enclosure as well.
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Now that you know how, at a high level, let me explain in more detail exactly how you can get rid of mites on your Beardie
What are mites?
Before I can explain how to get rid of mites, in my opinion, I feel its worth having at least a high-level understanding of what they are. So, in this section, I will explain exactly that.
According to Wikipedia, mites are small arthropods, that belong to the class Arachnida. If you are like me, that won’t mean much. To put it into plain English, they are eight-legged bloodsuckers that can drive your Bearded Dragon crazy (more on this later).
Why are mites dangerous to your Beardie?
Now that you understand what they are, at a high level, let me explain what damage they can cause and why so many owners are freaked out when they see them on their reptilian-baby.
Carry and transmit diseases
Firstly, not only are they a pest, they are notorious for carrying and transmitting diseases. They are quite tricky to deal with because they are not always that easy to see. Yes, some of them are in plain sight, such as crawling around his body.
But, there are other eggs, larvae, morphs, and even females that are laying eggs that are not always easy to see. And, to make matters worse, they are growing their population rapidly, while you cannot see them.
When you should be worried
The reality is if you see these mites crawling on your Beardie, or on your hand, after picking him up, you have a real problem. The problem is, it means there are many more that you are not seeing, are you with me?
What will happen to him?
You may be wondering, If the mites are left to roam, what will happen? Well, you will notice that these mites will cause him to lose energy and bodily fluids.
In turn, you will be responsible for replenishing this, in the form of extra fluids or supplementation. Obviously, your vet will advise further on this. But, it’s not worth waiting till it gets that bad, are you with me?
What causes them to appear (and symptoms)?
If you get a good understanding of what causes these mites to appear it will help you to understand what you need to do to stop them coming in the first place, right?
Also, as discussed earlier, waiting for them to appear all over your hand is too late. So, if you can look out for some early symptoms (red flags), it may warn you earlier on in the process.
Why they appear
Mites appear because of poor living conditions. Obviously, this is quite broad, but you should be cleaning out your enclosure regularly. If you are not, then these mites may take this as an invite to join your Beardie, are you with me?
Apart from the enclosure, there is general hygiene of your actual Beardie. You need to make sure he is kept clean and tidy to keep the mites away.
The symptoms of a mite infected Bearded Dragon
Now that you know what causes it, let me explain what some of the symptoms are. This may include one of the following:
- Dusty white marks
- Redness on your beardies body, or around his eyes
- His behavior changes
Dusty white marks
These dusty white marks are where the mite has defecated on your beardie. Not nice, I know, but it happens. The good thing is, it is a warning sign.
Redness on your beardies body, or around his eyes
When the mite bites your Beardie, which it will, it irritates him. In turn, he will start to scratch the affected area. It will then start to get red ad inflamed, which causes this.
His behavior changes
You may notice that his behavior changes. This could be simple things like, not wanting to bask, gone off his food, refusing to be picked up, etc. All of these behaviors point to the discomfort that the bites have caused.
Why getting rid of mites is difficult
In this section, I will explain some of the challenges of getting rid of mites. I will explain why the chemicals required can be dangerous to your beardie, how ineffective some products on the market are, and why simple disinfecting is not enough.
The dangers of chemicals & heat
Using certain chemicals for mites is effective, however, it is also dangerous to your Beardie. So, you can’t just spray the enclosure with these chemicals and hope for the best, are you with me?
Also, you can use heat to get rid of mites, but the required heat levels are also dangerous to your Beardie. So you can’t just crank up the heat and hope for the best either.
Ineffective Products available
Yes, there are products available on the market, that claim to get rid of mites. But, the reality is, they usually do not work that well.
The problem is, just spraying the mites with chemicals is not the answer. Even trying to disinfect them will not completely get rid of them. The problem is, you may get rid of the visible mites. But, the larvae, morphs, and eggs may remain.
What you need to do, to get rid of the Mites
Now that you have some background on these mites, let me explain what you need to do to get rid of them. I will explain why some products in pet stores are a waste of time, why you need a two-phased approach to deal with it, and more.
The best approach
The best approach to deal with your Beardies mites is using a two-phased approach. This means you need to get rid of the mites on his body, but also eradicating all of the mites, larvae, morphs, and larvae in his enclosure, are you with me?
Phase 1: Removing the mites from your Beardie
In the first phase, you will focus on getting your Beardie clean. This will mean removing him and using a special solution to get rid of the visible mites.
01. Remove him from the enclosure
You need to start by moving him to a safe location while you clean the enclosure (more on this later). And, this allows you to clean him off.
02. Prepare his bath
You will need to prepare a bath for your Beardie. This is no ordinary bath though. You will need to mix Betadine (Click here for the price on Amazon) with water. This Betadine is an antiseptic that is typically used for skin infections.
It needs to be mixed with water. Ideally, you will mix it with the water until it has the color of medium to weak tea if that makes sense?
03. Bath him in the diluted water
Gently pour the water over his body. The Betadine will deal with the mite bites. And the water will drown off the mites. If you have some concern that he will attempt to drink the water, you can choose to bath him just water first, then follow it with this diluted bath.
If he eliminates in the water you should replace the diluted water and start again. The mess will not be good for his bites and it will be messy for you, right?
Once you are done, remove him from the bath. Soak a cloth in the diluted solution and dab his body with it. The idea is to cover areas that may have been neglected in the bath.
One word of warning, you need to make sure that you keep this diluted solution away from his eyes, it can be dangerous for him.
Phase 2: Cleaning out his enclosure
Now that you have him cleaned off, you need to keep him in a holding area and deal with his enclosure. Therefore, in this section, I will explain how you deal with that.
01. Clearing the enclosure
Before you start you need to clear out the enclosure. But some care is needed here. Why? Well, if you just move the contents from A to B, you will just move the mites around your home.
First, remove the substrate and get rid of it, itis likely to be infested with mites.
02. Fixtures & lighting
Regarding the furnishing, for example, rocks, wooden branches, etc. The wooden items or rocks can be baked in the oven. This needs to be done for a few hours (up to 250 degrees).
However, if the branches or other wood items are too big, you can consider soaking them in bleached-water. This needs to be a cup of water for each gallon of water. Remove the lighting, etc. These items need to be wiped down with bleached-water.
03. Vacuum and clean
Now that you have these items cleared out. You need to vacuum out the enclosure to make sure you get every little mite egg that could be lurking in there.
After this, depending on what enclosure you have, you need to clean the frame and interred. If you have a wooden or Plexiglass enclosure, you can use soapy water to clean it.
With the wooden ones, you can spray it on. However, if you have a glass enclosure. You can use the bleached-water to clean the glass thoroughly.
04. Fumigate the enclosure
Now, you need to fumigate the enclosure using a cat flea collar or No Pest strip (Click here for the price on Amazon). This will be placed into the center of the enclosure on some foil.
But, before you do that you need to fully seal the enclosure so that no air can escape. You can use tape to achieve this. Leave it for a few hours.
Once it’s done, remove all the tape that has been used to seal it. Leave it to settle for a few hours before moving on. But, make sure you open the window and put on a fan if you have one spare.
05. Check the surroundings and repack the enclosure
Once this is done, you need to check the surroundings to see if there are signs of mites there too. Such as curtains, curtain nets, etc. It’s best to fully vacuum these areas or if it’s bad to replace them completely.
Once you are happy, you need fresh substrate and ideally new furnishing. Unless you have treated the exiting furnishings and wish to reuse them.