What Mite Have Been, And Probably Was

Y.E. K. wrote:


I am a student clarinetist and I have noticed a couple months ago these white bugs first on my reeds. These white bugs are like little spots of dust, but when observed carefully they move! These bugs have spread to the rest of my clarinet. I have tried every possible solution, but there has not been one that has worked so far. I have done quite some extensive research to find out what these bugs are, but I have found nothing. I know for sure that they are not carpet beetles, woodlice, mites, and such. Help would be much appreciated.


Dear Mr. K.:
Many thanks for your interesting note concerning these tiny bugs ambling about on your reeds.
I am afraid that while I commiserate with you because I too have had them, I could not find out what they are called.
They are so tiny, you almost don’t believe that they are moving, but in fact as we both have determined, they do indeed move.
Now , as to what they are called, I would definitely think because of the size, (about the size or smaller than the head of a pin,) that they must be some kind of mite. I say this because they are about as tiny as the ones we both seem to have seen, or they can be even smaller.
Here is a “control sheet I found from Ohio State University, which may be of interest to you:

Control Measures:For bird and rat mites, standard insect repellents such as diethyl meta-toluamide (deet), ethyl hexanediol or dimethyl phthalate will prevent bites. Locate and remove bird and rodent nests, and treat infested areas with household crawling insect sprays of malathion, diazinon or Baygon. A vacuum cleaner will collect many mites. Dispose of sweeper bag contents. For grain and mold mites, store materials moderately dry (130 degrees F and low relative humidity). Discard infested foodstuffs and clean premises. Treat storage areas with pyrethrins, malathion or resmethrin. Before using insecticides, read the label and follow directions. Infested grains and cheese in food handling institutions must be fumigated only by licensed, certified pest control applicators. For treatment of scabies, dermatitis and other skin disorders, contact a physician. I realize one might consider the above as “overkill”, it may in some way help you.

While I cannot remember when or where I incurred these little things, I do remember spraying my reeds very lightly with some type of repellent and have not seen them again. Unless………
Best wishes:


2 Responses to What Mite Have Been, And Probably Was

  1. dhinton says:

    I should point out that the mites almost certainly have infected the case as well — don’t forget to fumigate it well, and then air it out before using it. Tough at this time of the year, but sunshine is a marvelous disinfectant, and makes things smell nice! 🙂

    Cheers, Dallas

  2. I totally agree, and your note made me recall what I did do at the time: I changed cases, and then I sprayed the newly empty case with ammonia, effectively getting rid of everything including the color. But it is a very strong Yamaha double case and I have since gone back to it. Funny inside with that washed out bleached out look . stay well, sherman

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