what are mites and how do you prevent them?

Published on 2 June 2023 at 07:00

What are mites and how harmful are they to the ants?

Mites are small, spider-like creatures that belong to the group of arthropods. They are common in the natural environment and are commonly found as parasites on various types of animals, including ants.

Mites can be harmful to ants, depending on the species of mite and the degree of infestation. Some mites live as ectoparasites on the outside of the ants and feed on their bodily fluids, while other mites burrow inside the ants and feed on their larvae or eggs.

Through their diet, mites can affect the health of ants, which can lead to reduced growth and development, reduced resistance to disease and even death. In addition, mites can transmit diseases and infections to ants, which can further undermine their health.

It is therefore important for ant colonies to protect themselves against mites and other parasites, for example by regularly cleaning the nest and avoiding contact with infected ant colonies.

How do you know they are harmful mites?

Determining whether mites are harmful to ants usually requires a detailed analysis of the interaction between the mites and the ants. Here are some signs that mites can be harmful to ants:

1. Increased Mortality: If there is an increase in the number of dead ants in a colony, it may be an indication that mites have infested the colony.

2. Impaired growth and development: If the ants in a colony are smaller than normal or if the larval development is delayed, this could be a sign that the mites are affecting the health of the colony.

3. Decreased Activity or Behavioral Changes: If the ants are less active than usual or if they show unusual behaviors such as avoiding certain areas of the nest, this could be a sign that mites are present.

4. Visible mites on the ants: If mites are present on the outside of the ants, it could be a sign that the mites are feeding on the ants' bodily fluids and are potentially harmful.

However, it is important to note that not all mites are harmful to ants. Some species of mites live in symbiosis with ants and provide benefits such as food or protection against other parasites. So it is important to research the specific species of mites and their interaction with the ants before drawing any conclusions about their effect on the ant colony.

What can you do against mites in your ants?

If you suspect that your ants are infested with mites, there are several steps you can take to control the mites and improve the health of the ant colony:

1. Clean the nest: Mites thrive in dirty and damp environments, so cleaning and drying the nest regularly can help reduce the mite population. Also remove dead ants and detritus from the nest.

2. Use ant-safe mite control agents: There are several mite control agents on the market that are safe for ants, such as diatomaceous earth or essential oils. Make sure you use the correct repellent for your ant species and follow the instructions on the label.

3. Move the ant colony: If the mite infestation is severe, moving the ant colony to a new and cleaner environment can help reduce the mite population.

4. Increase hygiene: Make sure you maintain the hygiene of the ant colony, for example by regularly removing food remains and keeping the nest dry. Also feed the ants a varied diet to increase their resistance to mites and other pathogens.

It is important to note that preventing mite infestations is better than treating them. So make sure you regularly clean the nest and the area around the ant colony and keep a close eye on the health of the ants to spot any problems early.

What is predatory mite?


Predatory mites are a type of mites that feed on other mites, insects and their eggs or larvae. So they are actually predators within the mite family. Predatory mites are therefore also known as "biological control agents" in agriculture and horticulture, as they can be used as a natural means of controlling pests.

Predatory mites are very useful because they can help control pests such as spider mites and other mites, which can be harmful to plants and crops. Predatory mites are often grown commercially and sold in small bags or vials, which are then spread on the plants in need of treatment.

When the predatory mites are introduced to an environment with an infestation, they will reproduce quickly and begin eating the harmful mites. Predatory mites are not usually harmful to the plants themselves, as they only feed on other mites and insects.

There are different types of predatory mites and each species has its own preference for prey and habitat. That is why it is important to choose the right species of predatory mite for the specific pest you want to control.