antidote against mites

Thomas Burglin burglin at
Tue Sep 2 12:11:16 EST 1997

Thank you all who have answered my question.
The chemical I was looking for was 1,4 Dichlorobenzene.

it can be obtained from Aldrich:  1,4 Dichlorobenzene from Aldrich d5,682-9

I post here some of the replies, which have various additional tidbits:

most people sprinkle naphthalene in the afflicted boxes.  but at high
concentration, these vapors make worms pretty sick too. and it smells very
in many ways it is easier to chunk out afflicted stocks and pick worms to ne=
plates.  wash all boxes with hot water and detergent and scrub out your
incubators with bleach water or detergent.  if you passage your stocks
regularly for a while and routinely parafilm old plates, you probably won't
have much trouble with mites.  (some people recommend double stick tape, but=
found that mites cross this without much hesitation).
good luck,
eric lambie


the chemical is paradichlorobenzene.  I'd be interested in learning any
responses that you get to your query as we've been testing the effects of
paradichlorobenzene on C. elegans.  It is toxic at fairly high levels.
Thanks much.

 Phil Hartman

I think you have to fight mites vigorously because once they get
established it is hard to get rid of them. The two mothball chemicals I
know of are napthelene and para dichloro benzene. I don't know which is
better for worms. Also, someitmes there is a source of mites somehwere else
in the lab, and you have to eliminate that first. A plant or something.

Mike Finney


When I was in the Thomas lab we used the standard mothballs (Napthalene?)
that are supposed to work on mites and NOT worms.  The worms survive
okay, but were not wild-type.  dauer formation was affected, as were many
behaviors, and the animals grew more slowly.  Therefore, I would only use
mothballs for strain construction and maintenance.  I would not use them
for any animal from which you want to obtain data.  We never played
around with concentrations, but I don't think we were using very much.

The Meyer lab keeps all strains in incubators that can be adjusted to
high temperatures (by mite standards).  At the first sign of an
infestation, incubators can be effectively sterilized by high

Dave Reiner


Naphthol / Naphthalene are the typical agents.
All joking aside, it's prabably much cheaper if you can
find it in a store as moth balls.  Also, if you use polystyrene
worm boxes, you may want to keep the moth balls in
a polypropylene tube or on a piece of plastic wrap to keep
it from messing up the polystyrene.

Andy Papp


We have found naphthalene, as supplied commercially in modern
mothballs, to be relatively ineffective in controlling mites.  It used
to be possible to obtain moth crystals consisting of
paradichlorobenzene, which were more effective (see Sam Ward's
original note in 1980, WBG 5.1: 7), but these are no longer available,
at least in England.  A more effective means of control is anti-mite
paper, which was suggested to us by Laura Wilson Berry (thank you,
Laura).  In 1996, this was obtainable in the USA from Carolina
Biological Supply Company (catalogue # F6-17-3115) at $2.45 per roll.
Placing a sheet of this at the bottom of each box used for worm plates
works very well, and seems to provide long-term protection.  The only
drawback is that the paper is decorated with a variety of hideous
patterns.  Several workers here suspect that the ugliness of these
patterns helps to repel the mites.

Jonathan Hodgkin, Patty Kuwabara & colleagues


A note by myself:

In Gary's lab I used the dichlorobenzene, it worked quite well,
in particular if one put wormboxes in a plastic bag, together
with some crystals. In a short time the mites were paralysed,
so that one actually could chunk and pick worms without the mites
crawling all over (yuck..).

We also had the anti-mite paper.  I don't know about that one,
I got the feeling the mites loved it, since they could drop now
from shelf to shelf easily,(instead of falling through the empty
space of the metal grid shelves), it didn't seem very effective to me,
but perhaps it's a question of the mite variety...

Thanks again for all the replies.

Best wishes
Thomas Burglin

* Thomas Burglin (international character set: B=FCrglin)
* Dept. of Cell Biology,
* Biozentrum, University of Basel
* Klingelbergstrasse 70
* CH-4056 Basel
* Switzerland
* +41 61 267-2066 / +41 61 267-2067 / fax: +41 61 267-2078

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