Hermit Crab Mites {How To get Rid & Prevent Mites From The Crabitat}


by Simon Griffiths


Have you encountered bugs in your crabitat and you got no idea what they are? Well, these are mites, and love hanging around hermit crabs. Unless you want mites to stick around the habitat, it’s only fair that you get rid of them.

According to the hermit crab association, mites occur in different types, but not all are harmful to the crab. Those that live on the crab should be removed to avoid killing or harming it. Before you embark on the journey to eradicate these bugs, take your time to learn what they are.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our topic on hermit crab mites.


Types of Mites In A Hermit Crab Habitat

As I mentioned earlier, mites occur in different species, and most of them will find their way into the crabitat, one way or the other. I’ll give you a rundown of the different types and let you know which ones are harmful to your crab.

1. Food Mites

These mites are completely harmless and will find their way to the enclosure in search of food. Besides, the moisture and heat in the crabitat always attract them. These mites are also known as wood mites or grain mites.

Food mites help in the breakdown of leftover goods and any organic that’s in the tank. Keeping these mites away can be a tough task because they’ll always come back. The only way you can control wood mites is by introducing isopods or by spot-cleaning the tank on a daily basis.

Getting rid of food mites might require you to move your hermit crabs to a different location as you sterilize their main crabitat.

Related How Long Can a Hermit Crab Live Without Food and Water?

2. Crab mites

Unlike food mites, crab mites are harmful to hermies and they can spread from one crab to the other. This type of mite is known to prey on hermit crabs and should be treated as a harmful bug.

Crab mites prefer to live on the eye stalks, shell opening, mouthparts, and leg joints. These mites can also come in two types (fast and long-legged/slower-moving mites). All in all, both types come in shades of brown, cream, white, and grey.

Always make sure to bathe newly bought hermit crabs before adding them to the crabitat. Mites spread very fast and should not be allowed to do so.

If you notice that your tank is infested with mites, you can either choose to sterilize the entire tank or introduce predatory mites to kill the harmful crab mites.

Related Why Does A Crab Foam From The Mouth?

3. Antenna Mites

As the name suggests, these mites seek refuge on the antenna of a hermit crab. They are not necessarily harmful, but attempting to get rid of them can stress your crab. Unfortunately, it is hard to remove these bugs from the antenna.

The good thing is that these mites don’t wander around and are relatively harmless. The introduction of predatory mites might help a bit, but it’s entirely impossible to control antenna mites.

4. Gill Mites

Hermit crabs in captivity have recently been found to carry mites on their gills. Unfortunately, it is quite hard to identify these mites unless the crab dies. In fact, these mites are extremely tiny and come in shades of red or light pink.

These mites rarely move, and when they do, they move pretty slowly. Despite being parasitic mites, they are quite hard to treat because of the location they occupy. Do not attempt to kill or get rid of gill mites, as you might end up killing or hurting the crab.

Related Do Hermit Crabs Smell Bad and What Causes Odor In The Tank?  

How To Get Rid of Mites From The Crabitat

Step 1

Identify the bugs in the hermit crab tank. If they are tiny creatures crawling on the crabs and appear to be causing distress, they are most likely to be hermit crab mites. Use a magnifying glass to get a good look at them. There are numerous other little creatures that may take up residence, ranging from fruit flies to beetles, and most of them are harmless. The first line of defense is, however, the same.

Step 2

Transfer your hermit crabs to a holding container.

Step 3

Fill a small bowl with dechlorinated or spring water and set it to one side while it warms to room temperature. Prepare one bowl per hermit crab.

Step 4

Boil the substrate, if gravel, and any rocks or other accessories for at least 20 minutes in distilled water and allow it to cool. Alternatively, simply discard these items.

Related The Best Substrates For A Hermit Crab Tank

Step 5

Wipe the tank down with plain water and rinse it.

Step 6

Dry the tank before replacing the boiled substrate and accessories or adding new ones.

Related The Best Substrates For A Hermit Crab Tank

Step 7

If the bugs are mites, submerge each hermit crab in a bowl of water for a few minutes. This should remove most, if not all, of the mites.

Related How Do You Remove A Hermit Crab From Its Shell and Is It Safe?

Step 8

Return the hermit crabs to their tank.


Simon Griffiths

Hi guys, my name is Simon, a fellow pet lover. I love everything about traditional and exotic pets so I am here to help you create a better home for your pets.