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Mite Infestation

Gert Bolwig bolwig at cshl.org
Wed Oct 5 20:58:47 EST 1994

pab6awd at leeds.ac.uk (A.J. DAVIS) writes:

> In article <9410010037.AA104066 at acc.wuacc.edu> zzwolf at ACC.WUACC.EDU (wolf tom) writes:

> >I am teaching a genetics laboratory and the stocks have become infested
> >with mites.  
> Yes mites are a time consuming problem and no there isn't a simple solution.  
> The only reliable stratagy is rigorous quarentine.  Most stock centers are 
> infected and in any cases it's always best to assume that they are.  

...I agree, you should assume the worst. Keep recent arrivals in a
seperate room for that purpose (an office will do fine). The vials
should be surrounded by a sea of soapy water in a tub. Soap will reduce
the surface tension of the water and prevent the mites from walking on

> There are products and methods which will reduce infection risk but my 
> technician refuses to tell me the details unless i pay the usual consultancy 
> fees for such information - yep- Universities are getting commercial - sorry.

...Oh...well...I'll give you some FREE advice: 

* Completely clean out your fly maintenance room and incubators

* Flip your stocks regularly--every 21 days at room temp!

* Keep everything--every vial and bottle--surrounded by soapy water for
several generations

* If you have relatively few stocks, it will be very efficient to
hand-clean the flies under magnification. You will have to remove both
adult mites (small, pale and eight-legged) and their eggs (very small,
pale, shiny "super-elliptical" objects) and then move the flies to a
new *mite-free* vial. Get at least 25 of each sex. Repeat for several
generations to play it safe...

* We have had some success with treating the flies with [2, 4, 4',
5-tetrachlorodiphenyl sulfone] ("TEDION"). Dissolve four gram in one
hundred mililiters acetone and spray lightly it on strips of
cellu-cotton (or beefy papertowel). Try 50 cm X 50 cm X 100 cm worth of
very fluffed strips/100 ml. Fluff them frequently whilst spraying. Do
not breathe the acetone soln., and handle the strips with gloves. I
don't know what it does to humans. Place a strip in each bottle for
several generations. It may only affect certain developmental stages of
the mites. Test if your genotypes can tolerate the stuff.

We got some [2, 4, 4', 5-tetrachlorodiphenyl sulfone] from the
Sigma-Aldrich library of rare chemicals. P.O. box 335.  Milwaukee.  WI
53201. USA.  Phone 414-273-3850

* make sure your fly food is mite free and stays that way. Keep it at 4

* All these efforts work best if everyone is doing it at the same time

* The best way of dealing with this problem is to not get mites in the
first place, so keep your stocks carefully once you get rid of the

I cannot promise you that the above will help, but I hope it does.
There are numerous species of mites; you should take a look in a D.m.
book e.g. Ashburner's. Tedion may not work on your strains. 

Good luck and greetings from Cold Spring Harbor Lab on sunny Long
Island, New York

Gert <bolwig at cshl.org>

Gert Bolwig  Long Island; New York; USA
I do not represent Cold Spring Harbor Lab. I just work there.

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