Nasty yucky mold


New Member
We went on a trip for spring break, and I hired a pet sitter for everyone except the dog (who went to the vet's). Everybody looked great, happy, maybe too fat when we got back. Except.....the crickets! I had a very large storage tub with them in it (there were maybe 1000), with plates of veggies, gutload, water pillows. Oatmeal in the bottom, and egg crate. The sitter did have instructions on changing out the food/water every other day. The box is disgusting! All the oatmeal has molded (except a small patch that was under the dish of gutload). The veggies were molded, the gutload was molded, the eggcrate was molded....even the crickets are green! Obviously it got a bit moist in there, and the sitter didn't recognize that.

So I set up another container (10g w/screen top, this time), oatmeal, gutload, couple of coolwhip lids w/veggies and fruits, water pillows, etc. I can't get all the crix out of the other box, though! I obviously don't want any more mold in the new container than I can help. Should I give up and dump the thing outside? It's getting on my nerves!:mad:
Gee, that stinks! Literally!:eek:

A few suggestions:

1 - for the crix you can't seem to get from old box you can place it outside (provided you live in a warm area - actually anything about 50 degrees should be OK) in a cardboard box (to absorb moisture rather than retain), cover with screen so they can't get out and birds don't eat them and let things dry out best you can. If no luck, check them in the trash, you don;t want your local birds to eat moldy insects as it can cause problems (and possibly kill) them. Not to sound dramatic on that last remark but mold and birds simply don't mix; folks who do not maintain dry, clean bird feeders may be doing more harm then good.

2 - I would not feed ANY of the crickets to your animals until they have been in a dry environment and there is no mold AND they have had time to eat fresh foods and clear out their gut.

3 - get rid of the oatmeal as bedding. I use no substrate in my crix containers. I only place plastic canvas down so their frass falls thru and put one (yogurt-type) lid with dry gutload and another with fresh fruit/veggies and change as needed (fresh stuff either daily or every two days).

The problem with oatmeal, especially once it get moist and warm, creates an ideal environment for grain mites. Any grain can be a problem, but oatmeal is by far the worst. I would not be surprised if you look closely you will find tiny 8-legged white things moving around. I had a mite outbreak in a superworm container one warm summer (had oatmeal as bedding) and it was awful! They are usually not noticed until their population is huge and it is a real chore to clean up.

If you have other feeders and do not want to risk anything or not into/have time/effort doing the above then throw them out and begin again.

As you've learned - always have good ventilation for crickets. Dry is OK so long as they have moisture of some sort to eat or drink.

good luck!
Lele, thanks for the advice! I actually haven't had a problem with oatmeal in the past, as far as molding, unless the fruit or water got on it directly; hence, the plastic lids. I hadn't thought about the mites, though. I know what you're talking about; a couple of years ago I raised whiteworms and grindal worms for some goby fry I was rearing, and it didn't take long for the mites to take over the colonies. I usually keep the crix in something with a ventilated lid, but I never had 1000 before! :eek: Still, the problem didn't develop before we left for vacation; I don't know why.

I just dumped out the remaining live crix (probably only 20 or so) and all the nasty oatmealy stuff. Thunderstorm's coming, so it'll rinse the box some. I have refrained from feeding any herps until the crix have cleaned themselves out/up. It's been about 30 hours now since they've been on clean bedding, w/clean food. I'll probably order some new crix for the brevs, anyway; the crickets are getting kind of big. The frogs and gecko will enjoy them, though!
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