October 25, 2010,
N.G. asks from Arlington, TX on October 24, 2010
Flies in the Guinea Pig's Cage!
We have enjoyed our pet guinea pig, Smitty, for over two years now. He has been a much-loved and pleasurable addition to our family. We have never had a single complaint, but recently, there have been flies hanging around his cage. When I say flies, I don't meant one or two or ten. I'm talking hundreds of tiny black flies. This has never happened before. We clean his cage often- since we started noticing the flies, we clean it two or three times per week. His cage never smells bad, and we don't feed him foods that spoil, at least not enough of them to sit around and attract flies. when he has fruit or fresh veggies, we only give him enough for him to eat in one sitting. We use the soft granule bedding, made of recycled paper, adding some baking soda. We clean and disinfect his cage at every bedding change. We had noticed that his water bottle was dripping so we just bought him a new water bottle today hoping that that would help. He also gets timothy hay every day.
Any idea why the flies would be hanging around? More importantly, how in the heck do we get rid of them???
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the suggestions! We would NEVER use repellants around our precious Smitty. Hopefully the cooler weather will help our current efforts prevail.
J.B. answers from Lafayette on October 25, 2010
Sometimes these come in with the litter or the pet food. Check the bags, and in the future, freeze the bedding for at least 24 hours before using it so it kills any bugs before they hatch. We have pet rats and we also freeze the rat blocks and dry food mixes before we use them. The pest strips work well, but you do not want anything that might hurt your guniea pig. Good luck! These are hard to get rid of!
S.S. answers from Chicago on October 24, 2010
I remember that. I had a heating guy come over and he kept swatting the flies away and it was the middle of winter. who knows...anyway they were gone after we got rid of the guinea pigs. Sorry...that's all I know.
S.B. answers from Redding on October 24, 2010
Talk to your local pet store. We had a bunny that lived in the house, she was a mini-lop and too small to be outside....we always used cedar chips in her cage. It seems strange you would only suddenly be having this problem, but I would definitely call the the pet store.
S.H. answers from Honolulu on October 24, 2010
We have a pet rabbit... kept on a covered outdoor patio... but the tiny gnat flies, still come around.
Basically... there is poop, and moisture, and food sources.... and the gnats... meet, eat, mate and propagate there... in/around the poop.
... they like moisture or pet excrement to breed and party.
Anyway, I suggest cleaning out the cage more often. Or put up fly strips around the cage...
They tend to come and go... depending on the weather also, humidity, warmth etc.
Or you can try insect repellent... like "OFF!" or the other kinds that people apply to themselves.. but of course, don't put it on your pet... just around the cage where he/she cannot touch it... lick it etc.
And yes, they like decaying fruit and veggies.
So, you have to remove anything uneaten, right away.
These things breed and lay like 300 eggs per gnat.
So, quick turnaround.
For me, I just change our rabbit cage every other day... flies/gnats just like the environment of the pet, too.
I would also suggest...that whenever you change your pets cage and poop.... toss all that stuff in a plastic bag... but don't just cinch it closed with those ties that are on it. Because, the trash bag will STILL have a gap in the drawstring area... and those tiny gnats CAN and do... get in the trash bags.. and continue on with their meeting/breeding/eating in the bag.. So... what I do is, I actually tie... the top of the bag closed... making a full knot in it. Not just using the drawstring.
all the best,
K.N. answers from Boston on October 25, 2010
We loved our guinea pig! Sounds like you guys take excellent care of Smitty. Does he have a house in his cage? Could that be a hiding spot for the flies while you're cleaning? If so, perhaps you need to wash it thoroughly & leave it outside for an overnight or so.
In response to the person who suggested Off or other people-type insect repellant: Please don't! The repellant is a great idea, but those little guys can't tolerate the same kind of chemicals people can. Instead, after thoroughly disinfecting, washing and drying the cage, food & water bowls AND the area around where the cage usually stays (be sure to rinse thoroughly), use a light spray of pet-safe insect repellant. Citronella oil, eucalyptus, and/or tea tree oil are common ingredients in repellants I've used around our barn; common "people-type" ingredients, like DEET, could really harm Smitty.
You might want to try putting your little piggy in an open, temporary cage (box or whatever) away from the usual spot, clean & set up his normal cage and see what happens over a couple of hours. Do the flies still seem to be around the usual cage? Do they flock to Smitty? Keep the fresh food away for a day or two & use only guinea pig food. When you do use fresh food (mine loved grapes), put it in the dish, not on the bedding where the fruit juices can be absorbed. I think this will be a trial-and-error process. Here's hoping your caring attention, time and cooler weather will take care of those nasty flies!
T.M. answers from Bakersfield on October 24, 2010
I havent even read your post but now you have this song in my head:
Flies on the guinea pig shoo fly shoo...!!
I cant help you with your question, but good luck ;) thanks for the giggle.