Millipede composting

Discussion in 'Breeding, Raising, Feeding and Caring for Animals' started by yeh123, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. yeh123

    yeh123 New Member

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    Hey new user here,
    I have been reading up on permaculture pretty extensively and am quit einterested in the concept/practices. I would like to know if anyone here has tried using millipedes as composters? I have recently caught a few millipedes (Trigoniulus corallinus) and placed them in a 1ft fish tank and so far about a week in they have produced quite alot of dung. Since millipedes break down (mainly) dead organic matter into finer organic matter, would it be similar to vermicomposting? I would love to hear thoughts and experiences from anyone here. Thanks!
     
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  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hello YEH123 and welcome,
    While I find millipedes in the compost periodically (and earwigs, sowbugs, etc), I've not considered basing a system on "millipede-culture" (similar to vermiculture I guess). Let us know how your experiments turn out. Are you using kitchen scraps alone or do you add the "green" and "brown" of traditional composting?
     
  3. yeh123

    yeh123 New Member

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    Hey thanks for the reply.

    I've been using dead leaves and twigs, with some banana peels and egg shells (I read they need calcium to moult). They seem to love the banana peels and twigs. Woody material in general they love to munch on too (They are constantly nibbling on the piece of bogwood I provided them with). I have set up a separate tank where I do not place soil at all to quantify more accurately their produce. Thanks again!
     
  4. yeh123

    yeh123 New Member

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    Hey here with an update.
    The millipedes seem to be producing quite decently. I harvested about 2 table spoonfuls of frass from 3 adult millipedes in 3 weeks. Bear in mind I only harvested about 50% of their produce since I read that their young need the manure to obtain the beneficial gut bacteria from the adults. And I observed some babies too!

    These millipedes seem to only munch on dead stuff but they do occasionally munch on live moss. They seem plant-safe otherwise. Will be testing the effects of their poop on the plants. The image contains the baby millipedes which look abit like beetle grubs
     

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  5. Flatland

    Flatland Member

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    Hi, I have to say while I can see that the millipedes could be doing a good job of chewing up the plant matter they would also be laying a zillion eggs. When you spread their dung out you will suddenly have millipedes everywhere. In the garden that's not a problem but believe me as someone who has lived in a area that has a millipede problem, when you have 100's of millipedes in the house, dropping off the ceiling onto you and into the cooking pot (that really happened) you suddenly decide you hate millipedes and will do anything to get rid of the bastards.
    The millipede area I lived in started with 1 or 2 millipedes being seen one year -- "What's all the fuss about?". Next year, 20 or so --- "That's not a problem" Third year lots in the garden and one or two in the house --- "I can live with that" Fourth year Millions!! carpet of them around the house, and they SMELL when they die in numbers. Getting into the hot water system dying and making the water stink so bad you have to empty and clean the tank and millipede proof it. Millipedes everywhere in the house --- "I hate these bastards! I don't care about the environment, where's the nuck bomb to kill them!!"
    Sorry if I sound like a mad woman but I've been there done that and it makes me shudder to read of someone breeding the darlings.
     
  6. yeh123

    yeh123 New Member

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    I guess that is a valid concern Flatland. I might crush the frass into fine black 'soil' if the population gets out of control. I've realised the babies are quite fragile and most probably don't make it to adulthood (I ripped one in half while trying to pick it up with a spoon by accident, and I swear I was gentle.) Plus spiders and centipedes in my mulch would probably make quick work of them.

    If I have too many adults I could always release them, since they are a native species here.

    Thanks for your feedback.
     

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