Millipede Substrate

meloddipedes

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
47
Can someone teach me to make the perfect substrate for my millipedes? I have Archispirostreptus gigas, Chicobolus spinigerus, Trigoniulus macropygus, and Orthoporus ornatus. I have springtails in with them, but noticed little white mites in the substrate as well. I usually order it from bugsincyberspace, but need to make it on my own to start over. Help!
 

Ratmosphere

Arachnoking
Joined
Aug 23, 2015
Messages
2,208
Why not try heat treating it first? I'm going to ferment wild gathered rotting wood. It usually takes 3 weeks or more to have a suitable substrate. Fresh wood takes a lot longer to ferment. It could take up to 6 months. Usually I gather the rotting wood, crush it up, add water, then flour. After it is done fermenting I will add crushed hardwood leaves into it. After this, calcium will be added. I heard of people using sand within the substrate but I'm not sure if I should. It's too bad because I produced a huge amount of substrate in the summer. I also produced too many rhinoceros beetle eggs so the substrate is for when they hatch. Sucks because I need millipede substrate now too!
 

meloddipedes

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
47
Why not try heat treating it first? I'm going to ferment wild gathered rotting wood. It usually takes 3 weeks or more to have a suitable substrate. Fresh wood takes a lot longer to ferment. It could take up to 6 months. Usually I gather the rotting wood, crush it up, add water, then flour. After it is done fermenting I will add crushed hardwood leaves into it. After this, calcium will be added. I heard of people using sand within the substrate but I'm not sure if I should. It's too bad because I produced a huge amount of substrate in the summer. I also produced too many rhinoceros beetle eggs so the substrate is for when they hatch. Sucks because I need millipede substrate now too!
I'm not sure how to heat treat it. I've heard in the oven or boiling water, but I live in a house with other people whom I feel would not appreciate either of those things haha.
 

Ratmosphere

Arachnoking
Joined
Aug 23, 2015
Messages
2,208
Throw the substrate in a plastic container. Then put it in the microwave. I usually do 6 minutes twice. If I still see them after that, a third time would work. Clean the enclosures very well and inspect it for mites before putting fresh/heat treated substrate back in.
 

ErinM31

Arachnogoddess
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
1,166
Microwave would probably work but I think you'd want to do a few cycles, stirring in between, because if it's anything like heating food, parts will be VERY hot and others not at all. :rolleyes: I heat treat wood, leaves and substrate by baking in the oven at 175F until everything is dry (not long at all for already dry leaves but literally hours for damp substrate).

WARNING: Heat treated substrate is primed for mite (re)infestation as all the dead critters are very attractive food for them! You will definitely want to introduce some of the more hardy/prolific springtails right away.

Btw, if it's only a few mites you are seeing, I wouldn't worry. To have a few seems unavoidable. I would instead add more springtails, if you can. Fighting biology with biology is usually the more winning course of action. ;)

As for substrate, you might check out @Cavedweller's basic millipede caresheet. :) I have never made millipede substrate from scratch but rather get the millipede substrate from BugsInCyberspace and optionally add coconut fiber, more fermented oak sawdust, etc., depending on the species. Orthoporus ornatus needs rather dryer conditions than your other millipedes. I keep mine in a 10-gallon tank with high ventillation and substrate composed of a blend of BiC millipede substrate, coconut fiber and sand as per @Mastigoproctus's recommendations and he's been successfully keeping this species for a long time. :)
 

meloddipedes

Arachnopeon
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
47
Microwave would probably work but I think you'd want to do a few cycles, stirring in between, because if it's anything like heating food, parts will be VERY hot and others not at all. :rolleyes: I heat treat wood, leaves and substrate by baking in the oven at 175F until everything is dry (not long at all for already dry leaves but literally hours for damp substrate).

WARNING: Heat treated substrate is primed for mite (re)infestation as all the dead critters are very attractive food for them! You will definitely want to introduce some of the more hardy/prolific springtails right away.

Btw, if it's only a few mites you are seeing, I wouldn't worry. To have a few seems unavoidable. I would instead add more springtails, if you can. Fighting biology with biology is usually the more winning course of action. ;)

As for substrate, you might check out @Cavedweller's basic millipede caresheet. :) I have never made millipede substrate from scratch but rather get the millipede substrate from BugsInCyberspace and optionally add coconut fiber, more fermented oak sawdust, etc., depending on the species. Orthoporus ornatus needs rather dryer conditions than your other millipedes. I keep mine in a 10-gallon tank with high ventillation and substrate composed of a blend of BiC millipede substrate, coconut fiber and sand as per @Mastigoproctus's recommendations and he's been successfully keeping this species for a long time. :)
I have a bunch of springtails in there (it's literally crawling with them) which is what's alarming about seeing mites every time I look in. I don't exactly know how many there are, but I notice them when I look on the glass. I don't see them on the millipedes really, but I have 4 baby a gigas that I'm very protective over haha so I don't want it to become a problem. I may just order more substrate from bugsincyberspace (as that's the only place I get my substrate) and start over.
 

ErinM31

Arachnogoddess
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
1,166
I have a bunch of springtails in there (it's literally crawling with them) which is what's alarming about seeing mites every time I look in. I don't exactly know how many there are, but I notice them when I look on the glass. I don't see them on the millipedes really, but I have 4 baby a gigas that I'm very protective over haha so I don't want it to become a problem. I may just order more substrate from bugsincyberspace (as that's the only place I get my substrate) and start over.
I've done that too, but don't think that you'll get rid of mites that way! Even if you think that you are meticulous in making sure each millipede is mite-free, some will get transferred somehow. So long as you also transfer or seed a springtail colony in the new enclosure right away, they may prevent the mites getting a foothold or at least keep their population small.

I've tried for a while to be rid of mites -- never had an infestation, but still! :yuck: I've found springtails to be the only way. Fight biology with biology! :cool:
 
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