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Entomophagus fungus now being used against Bed bugs


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As a 20 year pest control technician, this scares me. Spraying fungus spores to kill bed bugs!?! As a pet insect keeper this horrifies me. They say it’s a strain that only kills bed bugs. I did learn something about these fungi. You must keep the spores below 90 degrees. Above 90 the spores die. So possibly heat could be used as a treatment to kill this in a roach colony? Worth trying if you get it. I guess the question is how hot can roaches survive that the spores can’t?

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Hope this isn't too off topic, but has anyone here experienced dangerous fungi in their roach colonies? There have been a few times in the past that I've found roaches(usually in more humid bins) dead with a white or powdery greenish fungi all over them. I thought it was probably just a fungus in the soil opportunistically feeding on dead roaches because most of the roaches were unaffected and living fine. Also seems completely random in which bins it shows up, some have been humid with poor ventilation for a couple years now without ever having fungi show up. Others will be new or temporary bins and I'll see the stuff pop up. I've found it in panchlora bins a couple of times too.

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21 hours ago, Jimbobtom said:

Hope this isn't too off topic, but has anyone here experienced dangerous fungi in their roach colonies? There have been a few times in the past that I've found roaches(usually in more humid bins) dead with a white or powdery greenish fungi all over them. I thought it was probably just a fungus in the soil opportunistically feeding on dead roaches because most of the roaches were unaffected and living fine. Also seems completely random in which bins it shows up, some have been humid with poor ventilation for a couple years now without ever having fungi show up. Others will be new or temporary bins and I'll see the stuff pop up. I've found it in panchlora bins a couple of times too.

If you're not seeing it on any living roaches, then I'd say it's just mold growing on dead roaches opportunistically. 

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On 12/25/2020 at 1:07 PM, Jimbobtom said:

Hope this isn't too off topic, but has anyone here experienced dangerous fungi in their roach colonies? There have been a few times in the past that I've found roaches(usually in more humid bins) dead with a white or powdery greenish fungi all over them. I thought it was probably just a fungus in the soil opportunistically feeding on dead roaches because most of the roaches were unaffected and living fine. Also seems completely random in which bins it shows up, some have been humid with poor ventilation for a couple years now without ever having fungi show up. Others will be new or temporary bins and I'll see the stuff pop up. I've found it in panchlora bins a couple of times too.

Sounds like Trichoderma spp. mold. MOST Trichoderma are harmless to roaches and feed on other molds or only on dead roaches, however I HAVE had one or two species of aggressive, protein hungry Trichoderma invade my collection via unsterilized materials before, and it's decimated some of my cultures...

They attack the insects from within and slowly consume them, with individuals dying and usually spontaneously sprouting mold from within, out of cracks between segments and leg joints, mouthparts, etc... It essentially acts like a true entomophagous fungus, and thus I now sterilize EVERYTHING I collect outside before use, haven't had any issues since. 

However if your culture has been doing fine and hasn't had a sharp increase in seemingly random deaths of all age groups, (adults, nymphs, even newborns), then they're probably fine and you're just seeing a typical scavenger mold, not the "entomophagous", dangerously protein hungry species that can kill living roaches. 

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13 hours ago, Hisserdude said:

Sounds like Trichoderma spp. mold. MOST Trichoderma are harmless to roaches and feed on other molds or only on dead roaches, however I HAVE had one or two species of aggressive, protein hungry Trichoderma invade my collection via unsterilized materials before, and it's decimated some of my cultures...

They attack the insects from within and slowly consume them, with individuals dying and usually spontaneously sprouting mold from within, out of cracks between segments and leg joints, mouthparts, etc... It essentially acts like a true entomophagous fungus, and thus I now sterilize EVERYTHING I collect outside before use, haven't had any issues since. 

However if your culture has been doing fine and hasn't had a sharp increase in seemingly random deaths of all age groups, (adults, nymphs, even newborns), then they're probably fine and you're just seeing a typical scavenger mold, not the "entomophagous", dangerously protein hungry species that can kill living roaches. 

As always thanks hisserdude. That worries me! What is your preferred way of sterilization? I have seen low numbers in my panchlora bin, while my 'giants' are thriving in the same kind of set up.

Also, how common are these kinds of molds/fungi? I've been throwing stuff in from outside for a long time and haven't had any issues(that I've noticed). In fact, the bins that have had it seem to be bins that I didn't use anything from outside. Or now that I think about it, maybe I added old leaf litter that I ordered online... and that probably wasn't sterilized.

 

Lol just more things to worry about!

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5 hours ago, Jimbobtom said:

As always thanks hisserdude. That worries me! What is your preferred way of sterilization? I have seen low numbers in my panchlora bin, while my 'giants' are thriving in the same kind of set up.

Also, how common are these kinds of molds/fungi? I've been throwing stuff in from outside for a long time and haven't had any issues(that I've noticed). In fact, the bins that have had it seem to be bins that I didn't use anything from outside. Or now that I think about it, maybe I added old leaf litter that I ordered online... and that probably wasn't sterilized.

Lol just more things to worry about!

I just get whatever I'm sterilizing nice and wet, throw in in the microwave and nuke it for a few minutes, until it's all steaming hot through and through. Most other people boil or bake in the oven, which while it may take longer is probably a better, more thorough way of going about sterilizing your medium... 

It really depends on where you live I guess, I know some people have been using unsterilized materials from their yards and local parks and whatnot for years with little issue, but others (like myself) haven't had that same luck... All it takes is one leaf with spores of that harmful fungus on it, and then your culture is kaput, (and this stuff always seems to happen to the rarest species in a collection, lol). 

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24 minutes ago, RosenKrieger said:

I've heard throwing stuff in the freezer for a few days works pretty well too. I don't have any first hand experience with it though

 

That's a much less safe method, plenty of fungi and other pests can survive a freezing. 

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