New to millipedes, want to make sure I get things right (a. monilicornis)

Tubifauna

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So I've been reading this forum for awhile, and I've been falling more in love with millipedes by the day. I really want Bumblebees, I was very excited to learn people keep them as pets, I always loved to play with them as a kid visiting relatives in Florida. I've gotten permission from my family and landlord to buy them, and I have an empty 10 gallon tank I just need to find/make a lid for. I've read all the caresheets I could find and the info on BugsinCyberspace. So the only things really stopping me now are the cold weather and my remaining questions!

1. is there any way to actually avoid breeding, other than keeping the bugs at an uncomfortable temperature? The idea of having to get rid of excess pedelings upsets me, and I doubt I'd be allowed multiple tanks. I'd be a nervous wreck every time I changed the substrate, too. Is there anywhere online that sells sexed pedes, so I could have an all-male or all-female tank?

1.5. If I also had some scarlet millipedes (t. corallinus) in the mix, would that help reduce breeding as opposed to 100% bumblebees?

2. What is the average lifespan of a single bumblebee millipede in captivity?

3. What heat pads do you all use? It seems like most of them don't have a temperature setting, just "on" or "off," which seems like a recipe for disaster based on my experience with fish. And do you use ones that cover the whole bottom of the tank, or only part of it?

4. Do I need springtails, or can I have just isopods instead? And what isopods would do best in the warm, humid type of enclosure that bumblebee pedes like? I love the zebra and the Montenegro ones.

5. How many 'pedes and 'pods should go in a 10 gallon, and how much substrate should I order from Bugs in Cyberspace?

Thank you to anyone who provides input on even one of these questions! Also, I know it's the middle of the night, so don't worry if your response is hours and hours after I posted this. I'll still really appreciate it! And thank you to all of you on this forum already, for providing such a good place to research!
 

Aquarimax

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I keep both bumblebees and scarlets, as well as other species, The only good way to stop your bumblebees from breeding that I am aware of is to separate the sexes. I don't know whether or not any of the online sources will sex them for you or not, though.

I keep my bumblebees and scarlets together, and it does not seem to have a negative impact on reproduction.

I am not sure of the lifespan, although I think Bugsincyberspace lists an approximate lifespan on the website.

I don't use a heat pad...but I do keep the millipedes on a shelf close enough to my crickets' heat source that their enclosure gets a little warmer than ambient temperature.

For millipedes, I would recommend springtails rather than isopods. Some people have reported that isopods have attacked newly molted millipedes, though others keep isopods with millipedes with no apparent ill effects.

You could keep dozens of bumblebee/Scarlet millipedes in a 10-gallon. I would start with at least 6...although more would be better. the more you have, the more you will see them.

I can't comment on how much substrate to order, as I make my own, but for small millipedes like these, 2+ inches of substrate depth should suffice.

Best of luck with your millipedes! They are fun creatures!
 

pannaking22

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1. You can either sex them as you go or don't worry about it for a few years. With a 10 gallon, you can fit a ton of pedes in there without any issue. If you think they're getting crowded, increase substrate depth and that'll give you more time.

1.5. Having another species won't stop breeding, but it'll make for a nice display when they're out and about.

2. Few years (I think up to 5)

3. Heat pad on the side if you want it. Room temp or a little higher won't be too uncomfortable to them and you won't have to worry as much about breeding.

4. Springtails are the way to go. Armadillidium need slightly drier enclosures with more heat anyway, especially the Montenegro.

5. 2-4" of substrate should be enough to really get things going, especially if you aren't getting a ton to start off.
 

Tubifauna

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Thank you! I have to keep my room around 68-70 degrees so my guinea pigs are comfortable, and since I know bumblebees like it a bit on the warmer side I thought a heat pad would be a good idea. Glad to hear it doesn't have to be exact.

Darn, I was really hoping to be able to do isopods instead of springtails. I definitely wouldn't want to risk anything happening to the pedes, though, so springtails it is. Thanks again! (And if anyone does come across a place that sells sexed bumblebee millipedes, let me know!)
 

mickiem

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You'll love the bumblebees and scarlets! They are lots of fun to watch. As far as the heat pad goes - put it above the soil line so the pedes can't get up against it. They would scorch their little millie bodies. That's how I keep my bumbles and they are happy. LOTS of babies!

You could order 1-2 substrates from BIC and mix it with coir. I think it would hold more moisture and the texture would be better for tunneling. I keep my substrates deeper than most people. For a dozen or so small millipedes in a 10 gallon tank; I would go with 4" or so. I keep oak leaves sprinkled on top. Dead ones. :)

Definitely springtails!

As far as sexing them, they are harder. I never knew I had a pair of scarlets until I met their children....

If you have room for two tanks, you could have one for males and one for females and sex them as you go. But it would only take one mistake to have a tankful of babies. And a mistake could be made by an experienced keeper, so if you really can't have babies, you should only get one of each. But it would be much more fun to find an outlet for any babies you can't keep.

Have fun and keep us posted.
 

Arthroverts

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I purchased two pounds of substrate from Bugs In Cyberspace, and it covered the floor of a two-and-a-half gallon aquarium measuring 12L x 8H x 6W up to two-and-a-half inches. Maybe six pounds could cover the floor of a standard 20L x 10H x 10W up to an inch or two, I'm not sure though. I found this site that says how to sex a millipede, http://www.earthlife.net/insects/milipede.html
 

mickiem

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I purchased two pounds of substrate from Bugs In Cyberspace, and it covered the floor of a two-and-a-half gallon aquarium measuring 12L x 8H x 6W up to two-and-a-half inches. Maybe six pounds could cover the floor of a standard 20L x 10H x 10W up to an inch or two, I'm not sure though. I found this site that says how to sex a millipede, http://www.earthlife.net/insects/milipede.html
The problem is that they are fairly small and not at all cooperative to straighten their bodies so we can see the arrangement of their legs/ gonopods.

Sometimes they also have a "hood" which is an enlarged segment a few segments back that you can see from above. You can look at photos of Ivory millipedes and see this. You can tell by the size if you know the age - the scarlet female is just a little bigger than male. Very slightly - in Ivory millipedes the female is nearly a third larger, so it is quite noticeable.

I have put the small millipedes in a clear glass box with no substrate, taken a picture from below and had a little success sexing them that way. I find it to be difficult. Larger millipedes aren't a problem, but those little guys are tricky!
 

Tubifauna

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Thank you again! And it's not that I can't have babies, it's just that I'd rather not since I'd feel terrible if I accidentally threw any away or didn't have enough space for them all. I suppose I could always mail them to my relatives in Florida and have them let go in the wild if it came down to it, though.

Taking pictures from the bottom of a clear container is a good idea! If I have another tank available by the time I'm ready for pedes, I may well do that. You guys have totally sold me on the Scarlets, too. Now that I think about it it seems much more fun to have different colors. I've never had a pet that was compatible with other species before so it's a little weird to me. I've also never had bugs mailed to me, so it's a little nerve-wracking! My only previous invert pets were a P. Audax spider I saved from my cat, and aquatic snails.

I can't wait for it to be warm enough to get the pedes. Also, if I pick fresh oak leaves and then dry and bake them, would that work? It's spring, so I'm not sure how many dead ones will be available.
 

Arthroverts

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Yeah, they definitely are small, and on top of it all, mine are usually burrowing down into the substrate whenever I catch them on the surface! Hello Tubifauna, welcome to the wonderful world of millipedes! And if you don't want babies, there are plenty of people here on Arachnoboards who would buy them from you, me included! And if you ever did throw any away, you would probably never know it, they are so tiny. I guess if you picked the leaves, then let them dry out for a few weeks, and then baked them, that would be A.O.K, although I'm not sure. I'll try it out though.
 

mickiem

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Thank you again! And it's not that I can't have babies, it's just that I'd rather not since I'd feel terrible if I accidentally threw any away or didn't have enough space for them all. I suppose I could always mail them to my relatives in Florida and have them let go in the wild if it came down to it, though.

Taking pictures from the bottom of a clear container is a good idea! If I have another tank available by the time I'm ready for pedes, I may well do that. You guys have totally sold me on the Scarlets, too. Now that I think about it it seems much more fun to have different colors. I've never had a pet that was compatible with other species before so it's a little weird to me. I've also never had bugs mailed to me, so it's a little nerve-wracking! My only previous invert pets were a P. Audax spider I saved from my cat, and aquatic snails.

I can't wait for it to be warm enough to get the pedes. Also, if I pick fresh oak leaves and then dry and bake them, would that work? It's spring, so I'm not sure how many dead ones will be available.
The leaves need to be pretty decayed before you feed them to your pedes. Some that you find on the ground under the trees from last years "fall" should be good. I soak mine for a day; dry them for a day and then bake them at about 200* for a few hours. I know it's overkill, but I'm OCD that way. When I bake them, I cover the pan with foil (shiny side out) so I don't accidentally start a fire. Most people just do the baking part and some do nothing (shudder), but we all have success. Find what is best for you!
 

pannaking22

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I think there's at least a decent market for the bumblebees as well, so if you end up getting plings (whether by accident or on purpose), you should be able to sell them pretty easily.
 

Tubifauna

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Thank you for the welcome!

Alright, thanks! I'll probably skip the soaking them step, since knowing me I'd end up making a huge mess, but I'll try and find some old leaves once the snow melts and then dry and bake them.

And selling the pedelings would make me feel much better, I'd be much happier knowing that they were in good homes with people who wanted them. That makes me much less anxious about the idea of babies.
 

Socfroggy

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Could you guys enlighten me about what they would eat and what kind of conditions they need to be kept in?
 

pannaking22

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Could you guys enlighten me about what they would eat and what kind of conditions they need to be kept in?
They eat rotting hardwood and hardwood leaves, need good humidity and a deepish substrate and prefer temps a bit warmer than normal room temp.
 

pannaking22

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Actually I really enjoy the smell of millipede and isopod enclosures. Fresh set ups smell like the fall and once they sit long enough they start to smell like really good soil. They nice thing about the hardwood and leaves is that they're already pretty far gone, so the real rotting smell will have already passed.
 

Socfroggy

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Actually I really enjoy the smell of millipede and isopod enclosures. Fresh set ups smell like the fall and once they sit long enough they start to smell like really good soil. They nice thing about the hardwood and leaves is that they're already pretty far gone, so the real rotting smell will have already passed.
Oh cool! Where can I find the hardwood leaves??
 

pannaking22

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Hardwood is a general term. Oaks, maples, etc. all count as hardwoods. Pretty much as long as it isn't a pine tree or any of the conifers it'll be a hardwood.
 
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