08.31.09

Spingtails in My Home

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:20 pm by livefood

To: questions@livefoodcultures.com
Subject: Questions about Springtails

We have a infestation of springtails in our home. They are crawling on the
ceilings in our bedrooms and throughout the home. We also have had Orkin
come once a month to spray the home. We don’t know how to get rid of these
critters. Do you have any suggestions? Sanjana

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Sanjana,

Springtails are only motivated by very basic needs. If you remove any of those needs they either leave the area or die.

Moisture…they are a primary component in most area in the decomp of vegetation. They are great in compost piles and old lawns where there is a fairly constant temperature and usually humid or moist.

Food…They only eat vegetable matter. In the wild hey will look for food in areas that have same…dead (not live) plants or other organics. We used to feed them oatmeal…but dry oatmeal would be hard for them to eat…it would have to be moist.

Temperature…they do best when the weather is about 75-80. If it gets too cold they die back and/or burrow deeper. If it gets too hot (summer time around here) the same thing happens..they die back and or burrow deeper.

Typically you would find them in a houseplant or around a house plant…if you found them indoors at all. They are sort of difficult to cultivate because they need to be feed frequently and the moisture/temperatures need to be right. They can be found in the thatch of the lawn (almost any lawn anywhere)…old forest floors around the world.

You need to inventory your situation. Why do you have them and what can you do to change the environment so that they can’t be happy there. A dehumidifier maybe, move the houseplants if you have a lot of them. Remove cat and dog feeding stations.

Have these critters been positively identified as Springtails? If they have not been positively IDed, you might jar a few and take them to the local AD Extension folks for that ID.

Spraying for them won’t help much…very temporary IF it helps at all. They are a naturally occurring “pest”…that don’t bite or transmit any know diseases. They can be a nuisance but usually it’s very temporary (I’ve never heard of situation that was more than a change of seasons long. You can not kill all of them in the area…they will return if you don’t find the reason that decided that your home was “cool.”

The best practice is find the environmental cause of the bloom and change the environment to un-suit them.

Good luck,
Jim
The Bug Farm

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08.24.09

Feeding Brine Shrimp

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:38 pm by livefood


Subject: Questions about Grindal worms

on the brine shrimp what do they eat if your hacting them at home?
what kind of yeast do they eat?

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Christina,

Baby Brine Shrimp, like the adults, are filter feeders. Typically they with ingest just about anything (food and otherwise) that they can get into they “mouths”…so feeding is a matter of nutrition and particle size. Any nutritious food that is small enough is good. You can use any type of yeast. We get our as a food wholesaler in big blocks…it’s usually used for baking. Some baby foods will work also…sweet potato, strained peas etc. A little dab will do ya.

The huge problem is that they will be shedding (molting) through their lives (a couple of dozen times) and each time will foul the water with about ½ of their body mass. It’s a huge challenge to keep the water quality high enough (clean enough). Most folks don’t bother because of the systems that have to be put into the place and/or the labor that has to be put into the process.

In even the smallest of situations it is usually easier to hatch small quantities more frequently. We freeze the extra for the next day or a weekend day when we do not want to have to show up and spend the time for the feeding. Freezing extra is also good for those times when things don’t go all that well and you experience a crash in the process (it happens). In those situations when we find that we have a lot of frozen material accumulated we will break the whole system down and wash everything with bleach and dry.

Take care,
Jim
The Bug Farm

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08.17.09

Not All Answers Are What You Want To Hear

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:32 pm by livefood

To: questions@livefoodcultures.com
Subject: Questions about Microworms

I have an ongoing problem with free swimming algae/green water in my 55 gallon tank planted tank. I refuse to use any chemical and have done regular water changes, blackouts, etc. I was told to try daphnia to eat the algae and my fish would consume the daphnia. Is this crazy or realistic?

Kim

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Unrealistic in most cases. The fish will eat the daphnia faster than the daphnia can consume significant algae and reproduce. The is true in nearly all aquarium situations. Some people have place the daphnia in a small “breed basket” (these are old school fine meshed baskets still available in some fish stores) and use a cup to make sure they are getting enough green water within the net. I suppose you could put an open ended bubbler below the net (daphnia can be killed using fine mists of air). But in an open aquarium and exposed to fish, the daphnia would probably be consumed. You will rarely (never seen or heard of one) find significant daphnia populations in bodies of water which also contain fish.

Your algae is a biological situation and you can treat it that way. Cut back the number of fish for example while increasing the water changes (it takes a minimum of 50 percent A DAY) to maintain nutrient levels…any less and the nitrates (food for algae) increase. Usually it’s a combination of nitrates (sources usually the numbers and size of the fish or just plain over-feeding) and light. Cut those in half for a month and watch what happens.

Take care,
Jim
The Bug Farm

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08.10.09

Gut Loading Brine Shrimp

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:26 pm by livefood

Subject: Re: Baby Brine

Jim,

Since receiving this email from you, I had recommended to me - and purchased - a book by Mike Hellweg entitled, “Culturing Live Foods.” I know you’re an oldtimer in the hobby, but if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. For feeding baby brine, Hellweg recommends a type of product called a “HUFA supplement.” That mean anything to you?

Back on “Liquifry,” which I’m having trouble finding, when I do, will it be obvious how much to add to, say, a gallon jar of hatched BBS?

Tom

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Tom,

To quote one of my white papers, “The nutritional quality of nematodes can be enhanced by the use of media enrichment or a bio-encapsulation technique. Enrichment is simply carried out by adding a fortification additive (vitamin premix for example) to the culture medium (referred to as direct enrichment). Rouse et al. (1992) used a culture medium which was fortified with a 10% fish oil emulsion, obtaining nematodes that had a significantly higher total lipid content and elevated levels of (n-3) HUFA.”

There are a number of dried fish foods on the market that are high in HUFA. Any of those would be a good supplement. The label probably would tell you that it’s “high in HUFA” of some such as it is a feature worth selling J. I have not heard of any product that was a direct HUFA supplement. It’s usually associated with fish, fish oil and products that come from those. Fish synthesize it I think. So to use the term “HUFA supplement” as if it were a product in itself may be misleading.

The Liquidfry would be used several times during the day. Remember those BBS have a short gut and are growing very rapidly. You would probably use several drops per gallon. It will of course depend a bit on the density of the culture. If I remember correctly, the product is made in England. Not readily available…and apologizing for not putting this in the last email, you can usually find it at “That Pet Place” in PA…mailordering is quick.

You could also use the same fish foods loaded with HUFA to mix into the food for a microworm culture.

Take care,
Jim
The Bug Farm

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08.03.09

Oatmeal and Yeast

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:14 pm by livefood

Instant Oatmeal, One Minute Oatmeal and regular Oatmeal are all the based on the same basic material…Rolled Oats. How it’s ground makes it “instant” or not. The finer the grind the more quickly it cooks.

Regular oatmeal is usually cheaper, so we used that for all of our in-house cultures. If you are making a lot of cultures you can buy rolled oats in bulk. We bought 50 lb. sacks from a bulk fook supplier. We bought 100 pounds at a time to save a bit on shipping. You might have a local source. All of our local stores were a little high end fancy smancy market places and I didn’t have the heart to tell them what we did with their precious health food.

The bakers yeast is easy to get in bulk from a bakery supply house, a restaurant supply house (like we did) or over the internet. But it’s baker’s yeast and not brewer’s yeast. In bulk it is a compressed brick-like packaging. We kept the block frozen and in a tightly sealed plastic jar. We removed a cup or so when ever we needed more and refrigerated the working portion.

For most uses, a big tube of Quaker Oats lasts “a lifetime” and a strip of instant yeast from the store will go a long way. I doesn’t take much yeast to start a microworm culture and less in a typical culture of fruitflies.

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