Hermit crabs are fun pets that don’t take up a lot of room. For many people, hermit crabs will be ideal pets.
You might want to buy hermit crabs for your home because of how fun they can be. Maybe you have seen pet hermit crabs at a friend’s home recently and it piqued your interest.
Buying a pet is a big choice and you want to ensure that you’re making the right decision. It’s wise not to rush forward without doing a bit of research.
You might be worried about whether hermit crabs will attract bugs to your home. Do hermit crabs attract bugs or is that not the case?
Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about hermit crabs and bugs. You’ll also get general information that will help you to decide if you should buy a pet hermit crab.
1 – Hermit Crabs Might Attract Gnats
It is possible that hermit crabs might attract gnats. This is because hermit crabs live in habitats that have to stay very humid.
Humidity is an important thing for hermit crabs. They need humid environments to be able to breathe properly.
When these creatures live in dry environments their gills will dry out fast. Hermit crabs possess modified gills that allow them to breathe oxygen.
They can only breathe oxygen when their gills remain moist. Humidity helps them to keep their gills moist.
Generally, hermit crab owners use humidifiers to keep habitats humid enough for the crabs. The high humidity levels in the tank might wind up attracting certain types of bugs.
It’s common for hermit crab habitats to attract gnats. Specifically, fungus gnats might be attracted to hermit crab habitats.
Why is this, though? Well, it’s because food can rot so quickly when it’s left in the habitat.
The high humidity levels cause leftover food to rot faster than usual. Gnats might make their way to the habitat to try to feed on the decaying food.
2 – Fruit Flies Can Be Problematic
Fruit flies can also be problematic. People feed hermit crabs pieces of fruit and other such things.
If your hermit crab doesn’t eat the food in a timely fashion, it’ll start decaying the habitat. It’s normal for this to happen, but it can attract flies.
Fruit flies are going to be very interested in leftover fruit that has been left on the sand. They will start flying around in the tank trying to feast on the fruit.
Uneaten fruits and vegetables can cause fruit flies to come to your hermit crabs habitat. They seek out such situations and there isn’t much you can do except avoid leaving leftover food in the tank.
To keep fruit flies from becoming a problem, you should only give your hermit crab so much to eat at once. Try not to give it so much food that there will be leftovers.
If your hermit crab doesn’t want everything that you’re giving to it, you would be better off discarding the food. Get rid of leftover food instead of letting it hang around in the hermit crab’s habitat.
Doing your best to protect the crab and keep bugs from becoming an issue is imperative. Simply be mindful of not putting too much food in the tank.
It shouldn’t be too hard to avoid problems like this. You just have to understand the situations that cause fruit flies to come around.
3 – Springtails Are Common Sights
Seeing springtails in your hermit crab’s habitat will be a common thing. These insects are rather tiny and they can be hard to spot sometimes.
They’re so small that they’re actually around 1/8 of an inch at maximum growth. It’s common to find these bugs in flower pots because they have to live in humid environments.
As you’d expect, the reason why they can be found in hermit crab habitats is the humidity. They like the humidity and the habitat will be a place where they can thrive.
Honestly, springtails aren’t that big of a deal and you probably shouldn’t worry about them. To an extent, they will help to keep the habitat clean.
They feed on hermit crab poop and will also eat other decaying material that’s present in the habitat. They’re considered to be fantastic cleaners overall.
These types of bugs have been around for millions of years. Even if they aren’t something to be worried about, not everyone is going to like seeing them.
Keeping your tank clean will give springtails less access to food. They might not stick around if you don’t leave leftover food in the tank and if you clean up hermit crab poop promptly.
Don’t worry about these bugs harming your hermit crabs, though. They aren’t harmful to hermit crabs so you can safely ignore them if you want to.
4 – Booklice
Booklice can also be found in hermit crab habitats. As you’d expect, they like going to hermit crab habitats because it gives them ideal conditions where they can live.
Sadly, it’s not easy to get rid of booklice. They can often live in other parts of your home and they won’t always be easy to spot.
They sort of look like grains of sand. They’re very small bugs that are usually somewhere between white and gray in color.
People sometimes find them living in old books. This is why they’re called booklice.
You can ignore these bugs if you want to since they won’t harm the hermit crabs. Some even find them to be beneficial.
Booklice will feed on fungus and mold. They might help to keep things in order, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll like the idea of having them in your home.
You might need to turn to professionals to ask for assistance when looking to get rid of such pests. This is because they can be a problem in more than just the hermit crab’s habitat.
5 – Beetles
Finding beetles visiting your hermit crabs is not too unusual. Some types of beetles simply might find the hermit crab habitat to be a good living opportunity.
When you see beetles, it’s important not to overreact. Beetles aren’t going to be able to harm your hermit crab in any way.
You can remove the beetles from the habitat if you want to. Cleaning the habitat thoroughly should help to discourage these types of bugs from coming around.
Just know that beetles shouldn’t make you too worried for the safety of your hermit crab. There are problematic bugs that can enter your hermit crab’s domain, but these bugs are parasitic in nature.
Normal bugs such as beetles are little more than a nuisance. They don’t need to be allowed to stay in the hermit crab’s habitat, but you don’t need to worry too much either.
6 – Parasites
Of course, the big problem that you want to look out for is parasites. There are parasites such as mites that will bother your hermit crabs.
If hermit crabs wind up having problems with mites, you’ll want to take action fast. Mites can do serious harm and will negatively impact the health of your pet.
Hermit crab mites can be hard to spot with the naked eye. They’re rather tiny, but they’re going to cause huge problems.
You can use a magnifying glass to get a clear look at the mites. When you’re sure that you’re dealing with mites, you’ll want to spring to action as soon as you can.
Getting rid of spider mites if possible, but you want to approach the situation the right way. Under normal circumstances, you might choose to use chemicals to get rid of such pests.
This isn’t possible when your hermit crab is dealing with a pest infestation. Hermit crabs are very sensitive to chemicals and you don’t want to accidentally kill your pet.
Thankfully, there is a way that you can solve this issue. You simply have to approach things carefully to get your pet back to feeling good and being free of parasites.
Follow the advice below and you can help your hermit crab. Be sure to do things the right way so your crab will have the best chance of being okay.
Clean the Tank
Cleaning the tank is the first thing you want to do when you notice hermit crab mites. To get started, remove the hermit crab from the main habitat and place it in a holding tank.
The hermit crab should be fine in the holding tank or temporary habitat until you’re done with the cleaning process. Grab a small bowl and fill it with dechlorinated water.
You’re going to use this bowl of water later on. You should have one bowl of water for each hermit crab that you need to help.
Now it’s time to start removing things from the tank. Since you’re likely using sand as the substrate material, it’s going to be best to throw it all away.
Get all of the sand out of the tank and put it in a garbage bag. Tie the garbage bag up and place it outside in a garbage can.
If you have gravel or rocks you can boil these to disinfect them. Boil them in distilled water for twenty minutes and then allow them to cool.
You could get rid of the gravel, rocks, decorations, and other items if you don’t want to boil them. It’s up to you whether you want to replace these items or not.
Set the items that you boiled aside and start wiping down the tank. The tank should be wiped down with standard water and you want to ensure that you rinse it thoroughly.
Go ahead and let the tank dry for a period of time. You can allow it to dry in the sun.
When the tank is dry, you can add new sand to the bottom of the tank. Fill the tank with as much sand as you like to keep in the tank for your hermit crab.
You might have a specific amount of sand that you want in the tank based on the size of your hermit crabs. Just be sure to use new sand that you purchased from the pet store and not the old sand that you removed.
After the sand is placed in the tank, you can start adding the accessories, rocks, and gravel back. Put everything where it needs to go so the habitat will be ready.
Now it’s time to turn your attention to the hermit crabs. Grab your hermit crabs and submerge them in the water bowls that you set aside.
You want to submerge each crab for a couple of minutes. Doing this should remove the hermit crab mites.
Generally, just doing this will be enough to remove most of the mites. It might even get all of them.
You can now go ahead and put the hermit crabs back in the habitat. Keep an eye on them for the next few days to see if there are any more problems.
Medication Might Be Necessary
It’s possible that medication might be necessary for your hermit crabs. Should the crabs still have problems with mites after you did the cleaning method described above, it’s best to enlist the help of an exotic veterinarian.
They can recommend medications that will help hermit crabs that are dealing with parasites. This should solve the problem and get the hermit crab back to normal.
You might be able to purchase medication at an exotic pet supply store, too. Some might choose this route if they don’t wish to pay the fee to get the help of an exotic veterinarian.
If you’re concerned about your hermit crabs, it is likely worthwhile to get expert help. Exotic veterinarians that have experience caring for hermit crabs will always know what to do.
They deal with situations like this all the time and can give you sound advice. If you don’t want to lose your hermit crab, don’t be afraid to reach out for help when the time is right.
Hopefully, you won’t even need medication to get your hermit crab feeling better. You might simply need to repeat the cleaning process.
Cleaning Can Get Rid of All Types of Bugs
What if you’re annoyed by the bugs that are harmless? For example, you might want to get rid of fruit flies, gnats, beetles, and other such bugs.
Cleaning can get rid of all of these bugs. When you notice several bugs in the habitat, just go through the cleaning process that is described above.
Taking the time to wipe the tank down will get rid of many bugs. Changing the sand will make a huge difference, too.
Boiling decorations, rocks, gravel, and other such things is beneficial. You don’t have to simply put up with bugs in the hermit crab tank if you don’t want to.
Some bugs are considered to be slightly beneficial. Despite this, many people would just rather not have bugs around. Do a good job of cleaning the tank and it’ll be less of an issue.
Focus On Tank Maintenance
Focusing on tank maintenance is a good idea when you want to prevent bugs from bothering your hermit crabs. It’s likely that bugs will be more attracted to the hermit crab’s habitat when it’s not clean.
You should make cleaning the tank a regular thing. If you don’t clean the tank, it’s going to get stinky anyway.
Most people don’t want to have a hermit crab habitat that smells bad in their homes. So taking the time to clean is going to be beneficial no matter what way you look at it.
Clean the tank regularly by getting rid of leftover food and cleaning out feces. Do spot cleaning on a daily basis to keep the tank looking nice and smelling okay.
It’s wise to do a bigger cleaning session on a weekly basis. This will ensure that the tank stays very clean and it’ll be less likely that bugs will be a problem.
This doesn’t make it impossible for bugs to enter the habitat. It just makes the habitat less likely to attract bugs.
Now you should feel a lot more confident about hermit crabs. A hermit crab’s habitat does attract bugs to an extent.
There are some types of bugs that are attracted to the hermit crab tank because of how humid it is. Of course, this isn’t the only thing that attracts bugs.
It’s common for bugs to be attracted to leftover food in the tank. It could be that leftover pieces of food are attracting fruit flies and other such bugs.
To keep issues with bugs to a minimum, it’s best to clean the tank regularly. Try to keep up with maintenance and everything will be less problematic when it comes to insects.
Hermit crabs can be harmed by parasites such as mites. If you see mites crawling on your hermit crab, take action fast.
Clean the tank thoroughly and submerge your hermit crabs in distilled water to try to get rid of the mites. Dechlorinated tap water will also work very well.
If the parasite issue is bad, you might need to give the hermit crab medicine. It could be wise to reach out to an exotic veterinarian in this situation.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.