question about rotting wood

sschind

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
May 27, 2005
Messages
344
I went out and gathered a bunch of rotting oak wood for my AGB millipedes but I have a question regarding using rotting bark. I peeled away the bark and scraped the wood underneath but I could have gotten so much more if I could use the bark as well. Is the bark OK to add in or is it preferable to use the wood underneath.

Also, my dad burns wood so he has a pretty good supply of dry oak. Its not rotting yet but what do you think about chopping it up into pieces and burying it for a while or just leaving it on the ground and covering it with a tarp or something. I've read the threads about fermenting oak from wood pellets and I am going to give that a try but I could get a ton for free if I let nature do the work for me. Anyone try that.

Last question If I were to be able to produce a large amount of the fermented wood pellets would I still need the dead wood to mix in or could I just mix it with coco and dead leaves.

I'm interested in a few more species of millipedes but I'd like to get a better handle on sourcing their substrate before I jump into too much.
 

mickiem

Arachnoprince
Active Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2016
Messages
1,544
Lots of people have been doing this longer than me, but I saw your post and thought I'd share my experience. I have AGB's, I got them wild caught from Ward's in June. They began mating immediately. I put them in 7-8" of coir and BIC rotted wood. I sprinkled a few dead oak leaves on top and about once a week I sprinkled more until I had a depth of 3-4" of leaves. (Then about a week ago, I found eggs and protonymphs.) I have redbud bark pieces with most of my millipedes (it's what was available). I don't see them eat it, but if there was nothing else, I am sure they would! Some of my other millipedes will hide under the bark, especially Ivories, but the AGBs just tend to crawl over it. They don't seem too excited about the bark. I'm sure if it had yummy morsels attached, they would get excited. I have broken pieces of oak bark in a few cages. It doesn't seem to hurt anything. Good luck with yours!
 

Ranitomeya

Arachnoknight
Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
250
I inoculated a bunch of wood fuel pellets that I expanded with boiling water with mushroom spawn and let the mushroom mycelium do the work of breaking down the substrate before I used it for my millipedes. I've also inoculated whole logs with spawn, but they will take a much longer time to become fully colonized and broken down. Fermented wood pellets will probably work as well. You probably don't need to add any coco fiber, but you should provide them with dead leaves. My millipedes will eat the substrate, but not anywhere near as quickly as they eat the leaf litter I give them. The bark won't be eaten, but if they're large pieces, they make good pieces of decor that also work as hiding places if laid on top of the substrate.

You could inoculate a bunch of pellets with mushroom spawn until it's fully inoculated and then bury pieces of wood in it so that the spawn colonizes the wood as well, or you could get spawn plugs and inoculate the logs directly after they're rehydrated. Leaving them on the on the ground and covering them with a tarp will not result in a very even rate of decay unless it's colonized by fungus--it'll rot quicker where it comes into contact with soil and will probably be eaten away by detrivores as quickly as it decays. Burying it might work, but it will still probably take quite some time.

The bark of an oak tree is really quite inert and doesn't provide any nutrients. It's meant to be a barrier against herbivory and infection on a living tree, so it wouldn't make sense for that outer layer to be nutritious. It's only the thin layer of living tissue between the wood and the bark that has any significant nutritional value and that tends to be the first thing that gets eaten or broken down.
 
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