Millipedes and mushroom mycelium

0001

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
22
Hi, we are getting pet millipedes next year, and just slowly researching and getting ready in the meantime.

I’ve recently taken up (small scale on the balcony) mushroom growing as a hobby and the other day learned that the two types of mushrooms I grow (king oyster and grey sporeles oyster) are white rot mushrooms, meaning that any wood they colonize and use as energy source turns into white rot wood once they are done with it.
Sawdust pellets, aspen wood shavings, and beech woodflakes are often used substrates that these mushrooms do very well on. That got me to thinking if I could use the spent mushroom substrate as a partial component for the millipede bedding?
I could either A) steampasturize the spent substrate to kill off the mycelium or B) just place large chunks of substrate with mycelium and all.

In the beetle world there are some breeders that grow the larvae of specific species on kinshi. This is a substrate colonized by mycelium and then was denied fruiting, instead keeping the bootles closed for a few weeks longer until the wood inside the bottle changes color. This is then perfect for the larvae to eat, live, and grow in. This method is also an option for me to create, but the recycling option of not wasting anything was very interesting to me.

We are likely getting Chicobolus spinigerus (Ivories) and Centrobolus spec. “Mozambique” for our tank, but I do know there are a few types of millipedes (like feathers) who mostly eat mycelium, and I would love to know how this works, if you have these type of millipedes let me know how you manage their feeding!

Anyone here who has experiance or knowledge about mycelium, mushrooms, and millipedes? I would love your help figuring this out!
 

Gurantula

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
68
I have experience with mycelium/mushrooms, but not millipedes unfortunately.

From a mycology perspective you could definitely recycle the spent substrate by pastuerizing it. You could even use it for your next mushroom grow if not for the millipedes. If millipedes like fungus I'm sure just putting in the active substrate would be a nice treat. The mycelium might continue to grow out, but more than likely would die off. That could lead to other fungal growth (i.e. mold) but it really depends on many other environmental factors.

Good for you on growing your own mushrooms, they truly are fascinating! Sorry I couldnt help more.
 

0001

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
22
Gurantula, you have no idea how big of a gamechanger that little bit of information you just dropped is for me! I never even concidered that the spent substrate could be used for growing more mushrooms.
I have a small appartment and tiny balcony so had no idea what to do with all this leftover byproduct as I have no garden to create an outdoor bed. This is going to way increase yield per dry weight and lower costs. That might leave some money in the budget to figure out what supplements can be used with steam pastuerizing, thank you!

I would still like to know if it is also usable as part of a millipede substrate if anyone knows this!.
 

BepopCola

Arachnobaron
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
409
It's safe to use as part of their substrate. I'd get mushroom logs myself for my millipedes, in the past.
If a beetle grub can survive off it so can a millipede, from my understanding.

I'd go with option B, I think mushrooms remove most of the nutrients from their substrate, but the residual mycelium would still be a beneficial part of a millipede substrate mix.
I use mushroom compost, which is spent mushroom soil, in my mixes and sometimes I have a mushroom pop up (and eaten),
 

Gurantula

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
68
I think mushrooms remove most of the nutrients from their substrate, but the residual mycelium would still be a beneficial part of a millipede substrate mix.
Correct. The mycelium digests the substrate and grows from the nutrients it gains. Effectively removing most of the nutrients from the substrate. The nutrients are more or less in the mycelium/mushroom though so as you said it would be beneficial.
 

0001

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
22
Good to know it is safe, thanks!

Interesting points! I was reading up about the reusing of spent substrate and what I found suggested that with each following mushroom growth on the same spent substrate, it actually reduces it in volume. You can keep reusing it until there is almost nothing left of it.
If it is true the mushrooms use most of the nutrients I wonder why subsequent uses of the same substrate can be done, logic would suggest that nutrients means the next grows would reduce in efficiency. Surprisingly enough however I’ve found one study that showed that mixing 50:50 spent substrate with new sawdust actually produced higher yields than growing on fresh sawdust alone. That would suggest that on the second go of the same substrate the mycelium actually seem to gain more efficiency out of it.
Seeing as they start with completely fresh wood maybe the process of mycelium growing and feeding makes a different set of nutrients available that can’t be gotten from fresh wood, but can from older rotting wood. Kind of like flake soil maybe?

Mushroom logs for example can produce mushrooms for 3-4 years and then stop producing. At that point it has become white rot wood and is exactly what the millipedes like to eat.

If I had a large surplus of millipedes I might have done some testing to see at what stage the millipedes enjoy the substrate most... Maybe I’ll just have to catch and breed up a small colony of Dutch garden Isopods for testing
 

Gurantula

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 22, 2020
Messages
68
I like the way you think 0001. To me, one of the coolest things about studying fungi is just how little the world knows about them. When I had suggested reusing the spent substrate I had meant to mention to add some new substrate as well. Looks like you figured that out on your own. I have never tried to grow again on just the same substrate, I'll have to give that a try. :) I've had mushrooms go through about 10 or more flushes and by the end the substrate has shrunk by about 75%.
I do also wonder why reusing spent substrate can produce bigger yields. Just speculating here, but maybe the previous mycelium had already converted the nutrients hence the new mycelium doesn't have to spend as much energy in doing so. Which is essentially what you were saying about it being more efficient.


Edit: I wanted to add that when I put the old or contaminated substrate into my compost outside, the pill bugs (Armadillidiidae) seem to love the dense "fluffy" mycelium. Even better the fruitbodies themselves. They actually seem to cut down the taller mushrooms and presumably eat them haha.
 
Last edited:

MillipedeTrain

Arachnosquire
Joined
Oct 19, 2019
Messages
70
Hi, we are getting pet millipedes next year, and just slowly researching and getting ready in the meantime.

I’ve recently taken up (small scale on the balcony) mushroom growing as a hobby and the other day learned that the two types of mushrooms I grow (king oyster and grey sporeles oyster) are white rot mushrooms, meaning that any wood they colonize and use as energy source turns into white rot wood once they are done with it.
Sawdust pellets, aspen wood shavings, and beech woodflakes are often used substrates that these mushrooms do very well on. That got me to thinking if I could use the spent mushroom substrate as a partial component for the millipede bedding?
I could either A) steampasturize the spent substrate to kill off the mycelium or B) just place large chunks of substrate with mycelium and all.

In the beetle world there are some breeders that grow the larvae of specific species on kinshi. This is a substrate colonized by mycelium and then was denied fruiting, instead keeping the bootles closed for a few weeks longer until the wood inside the bottle changes color. This is then perfect for the larvae to eat, live, and grow in. This method is also an option for me to create, but the recycling option of not wasting anything was very interesting to me.

We are likely getting Chicobolus spinigerus (Ivories) and Centrobolus spec. “Mozambique” for our tank, but I do know there are a few types of millipedes (like feathers) who mostly eat mycelium, and I would love to know how this works, if you have these type of millipedes let me know how you manage their feeding!

Anyone here who has experiance or knowledge about mycelium, mushrooms, and millipedes? I would love your help figuring this out!
When you say that you use Sawdust pellets, what type of wood exactly is that? Because you must never ever use anything from needle-bearing softwood trees that keep their needles/leaves all year round. They are toxic to millipedes, especially pine.
 

0001

Arachnopeon
Active Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2020
Messages
22
Millipede train, thank you for the warning! I did know this but it is kind of you to bring it up. Mushrooms don’t grow well on pinetrees because the sap has fungus deterring qualities. So very lucky for me The millipedes need the same type of wood as the mushrooms. Since they will be dual purpose I’m looking for oak and beech mostly, but some other might have good deals sometimes such as hickory or apple. My country doesn’t have a whole lot available in small quantities (it’s all pellets of 300,-) so sometimes it’ll be whatever I can get as long as it’s not pine :)

I like the way you think 0001. To me, one of the coolest things about studying fungi is just how little the world knows about them. When I had suggested reusing the spent substrate I had meant to mention to add some new substrate as well. Looks like you figured that out on your own. I have never tried to grow again on just the same substrate, I'll have to give that a try. :) I've had mushrooms go through about 10 or more flushes and by the end the substrate has shrunk by about 75%.
I do also wonder why reusing spent substrate can produce bigger yields. Just speculating here, but maybe the previous mycelium had already converted the nutrients hence the new mycelium doesn't have to spend as much energy in doing so. Which is essentially what you were saying about it being more efficient.

Edit: I wanted to add that when I put the old or contaminated substrate into my compost outside, the pill bugs (Armadillidiidae) seem to love the dense "fluffy" mycelium. Even better the fruitbodies themselves. They actually seem to cut down the taller mushrooms and presumably eat them haha.
Yeah it’s really cool, I’m having a lot of fun with it!
And yes, I think that is exactly what is happening. From what I understand after more reading kinshi (mushroom mycelium+substrate used to grow beetlegrubs) is specifically artificial white rot wood, turned that way because it was pre-digested by mushrooms. It needs to be so the larvae can eat it. It makes sense when you think about it, (i think?) these type of mushroom can’t eat living wood and millipedes and other detrivores can’t eat freshly dead wood. It needs to be worked over by other organisms first before the food source becomes available to them, and that would be exactly what the mycelium does. I’m thinking mycelium just has a wide enough range in decomposition of the substrate that it can just re-use it again and acces the other types of nutrients as well. The fact that the mycelium holds some of the nutrients and the wood itself is also still available just makes it doubly nutritious for beetlegrubs, and so maybe for millipedes as well.

The fact that your compost bin pillbugs love your spent mushroom substrate is very promising! I’ve caught a few isopods yesterday and will have to breed them up until I get a nice amount for testing how they respond to the mycelium. It won’t tell much about how millipedes will respond to it but it will give some room for testing if it will take over the substrate if it’s put in. And if all of them die within second that might not be a good sign to proceed with millipedes, haha.

Ps. Unrelated to arthropods: I came across a fairly well known book in the mushroom world which talks about re-using the substrate by re-steralizing it first and then sequencing another type of mushroom onto it. Apparently oyster mushrooms do exeptionally well on substrate that has grown shiitake before, and I can not for the life of me figure out why that could be. The chapter is called “maximizing the substrates potentialthrough species sequencing”, by Paul Stament.
 
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