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Suitable substrate sources.

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Since I'm so new, I'm honestly a little hesitant to try and make my own substrate, and even if I did, I don't really have access to the hardwoods needed for D. Granti. I saw that bugsincyberspace sells substrate, but it was hard to tell exactly how much was in the box, and more importantly I'm curious as to how much I would need for an adult mating pair. Then I figured I would need another batch suitable for raising grubs. Would it make sense to keep the male and female in a tank with the good substrate for egg laying purposes and then move the adults to some potting soil in a display tank after?


I apologize for the questions, I'm a little scatterbrained at the moment and excited at the thought of having some beetles of my own in the near future.

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Buying substrate is always very tempting. I think a lot of times it's the ease of not having to go out and beat up logs for hours combined with the fact that it can be hard to identify rotten trees when you are hoping to find the best source possible. It makes it hard to not just go for premade substrate which seems to have all the right stuff.


The downside to buying substrate is just the size of the bags sold. I'd say for egg laying I would want the substrate to be at least half way filling up a 18 gallon container. 3/4ths of the way is usually even better. 13 gallons of substrate is A LOT to buy. The shipping cost alone would be crazy!

If you can't find hardwood in your area I would check out the second post in this thread http://beetleforum.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=903

Many people here also use BBQ pellets found at local stores that make a whole tub full so maybe someone can provide some more info on that process. I think It is very similar to the one mentioned in the thread though. Some people have also had success using just potting soil for egg laying if I remember correctly so maybe someone will post about those experiences too.


I like to use a substrate that is good for all purposes though. That way you have a huge batch for the female to dig down into and lay eggs, and then all of the substrate can be used to feed the larvae from there on.


As far as moving the adults, you can move the male out into any substrate really but personally I leave the female in until she dies just to make sure I don't don't pull her out before she is done laying eggs since they are not all laid at once.


Hope this helps!

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I've kept adult beetles in a mix of rotting oak, leaves and potting soil. Once I find eggs or larvae I'll separate them. The more larvae you raise, the more sub you will need. I would really try to check local areas for rotting oak. Even if you just find one rotting tree it could provide you with sub for a long time.

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If you like totally do not have the substrate but you have the space to make one, you could try and find some sawmills that sell oak woodshavings on internet. Ppl buy these for smoking meat and fish. If you buy a whole lot it is quite cheap. Then you can either leave to rot them naturally, or with addition of some baking flour to improve it's nutritious value.

But I am sure that you could find some decayed oak leaves in nearby parks. Some breeders rise their larvae on like 90% of rotten leaves and 10% or decayed wood.



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  • 4 months later...

I think that it is very expensive! VERY VERY expensive. I support the idea of working with APHIS, but I have doubts about the success. The Kinshi isn't bad but they only are offering a variaty that is for non-native beetles! Whats that about……?


It looks very new but I think that they are barking up a tree. Am I the only one?


Again I think breeders should still source their own. Beetle shops in Japan would laugh at the thought of this being a commercial site…. Even for Americans.

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I agree. After doing some research, I found Muddy Mire's shop on Etsy where he is also selling substrate, not sure why he didn't cite it here. He's selling substrate he found in the woods, while wcinsects offers "fermented" substrate. Fermented substrate promises nutrients from microbes and also guarantees partial lignin/cellulose digestion (anyone want to confirm this for me?) prior to larval ingestion, while substrate randomly found from the woods might not offer as much. Forest-found substrate usually works fine, though, from my personal experience.

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Aw, geez. Is nothing safe from the flame wars?


Reminds me of The Great Maple Syrup War of 2013 between LarvaHunter and Orin (Dynastes).


A bloody mess, I tell you, with no clear victor.


Please, no more flame wars, okay?



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I offer a variety of substrates for different applications and they evolve over time. My latest version of the hardwood substrate for beetles contains only 100% oak wood, mixed with compost soil. It is suitable for both egg-laying and later for the larvae to feed in. It ships in a 7 lb unit and shipping for such a heavy package costs just under twelve bucks (built into the twenty or so dollar overall price). Collecting and/or preparing and sterilizing and shipping substrates is a lot of work. An $8 profit on that kind of labor is an absolute joke compared with the cost of, say, hosting three forums year after year. I do it all to support the hobby I love and the people in it.


For the original poster in this thread, I'll answer your question directly (and since my sales website and product were mentioned both in your original post and later in this thread). Though some time has passed it may be helpful to somebody in the future. Pretty much any dark soil that is free from fertilizers, pesticides and those annoying little egg-mimicking pumice and Perlite stones is fine for getting eggs from D. grantii. I've gotten thousands of eggs of D. grantii on a wide variety of brands and mixes over the past 15 years.


I'd recommend you make a choice between displaying your beetles or breeding them. If you want to do both, you'll see the female when she comes up to feed but she'll spend a lot of time under the soil (hopefully laying lots of eggs). D. grantii don't live terribly long in captivity so you need to let her make her treks into the depths to lay her eggs through to the end of her life. Beetles are also less likely to dry out and die early if they spend time under the soil. Finally, the soil should be humid and the lid not too ventilated, if at all.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...



Pricey, but for those who do not have much time to search, it's an excellent source.



10 l for $25 seems quite good price to me if it's a good hardwood (oak, beech) and it is properly fermented. I would definitely buy for such price fermented wood here in UK. I make my own hardwood fermented soil and buying fresh hardwood sawdust/shavings for that online. It takes about 2 months to make a good one. It costs a bit cheaper than 25 bucks for 10l in the end, but it takes lots of time, space and resources.




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