Jump to content

Recommended Posts

When gathering rotted hardwood for my beetles, I aim to get the parts of wood that I can physically crumble in my hands into a soil-like composite. However, I've two different logs I gathered from and one is dark, dark and completely able to be crumbled. The other one is rotted as well as it's able to be crumbled and pulled apart, but it is much lighter. Does this mean they are just at different stages of decomposing or perhaps different kinds of wood or both? I am guessing the lighter one could use more time to rot.

 

Real question: Would both suffice to use for my larvae and beetle mating? I will post a picture as I'm in the process of crushing it up and drying it outside today.

 

20170402_132739_zpsghk0pbip.jpg

 

 

 

20170402_132750_zpsoii5xndb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The lighter wood is better for stag beetles while the darker one you have is almost perfect for rhino beetles. That's an awesome haul though, it will work for your larvae!

All right, that's very good to know. Thanks man!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you know what kind of tree the dark brown substrate came from?

 

No, no idea. I gathered it from a tree that has fallen and rotted. It's hard to say..

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beetle larvae feed on cellulose and not on lignin. The darker wood is likely brown-rot and has had most of its cellulose removed, leaving behind mostly lignin. The lighter wood is probably white-rot and has most of its lignin removed, leaving behind mostly cellulose.

 

Cellulose is soft when wet and lignin feels gritty when wet, so if you can't tell by looking at it, you can try pinching it and grinding it between your fingers to determine what it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beetle larvae feed on cellulose and not on lignin. The darker wood is likely brown-rot and has had most of its cellulose removed, leaving behind mostly lignin. The lighter wood is probably white-rot and has most of its lignin removed, leaving behind mostly cellulose.

 

Cellulose is soft when wet and lignin feels gritty when wet, so if you can't tell by looking at it, you can try pinching it and grinding it between your fingers to determine what it is.

 

Fascinating...okay then. The lighter wood would be better for larvae and not the darker? Depending on the presence or absence or cellulose or lignin? I did not know this so thank you! It's good now I can figure out a way to determine which is which. This is very helpful!!

 

 

So searching for white-rotted wood is more key for beetle larvae then?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Never had luck using white rotting wood for rhino beetles. Even if I add the slightest amount of moisture, in 3 days I notice green mold all over the container. @shadeofeclipse knows more about this topic than me though. I tried to ferment white rotting wood found in the wild before. It broke down, and I thought it was done fermenting since it had a good amount of decay already. It also cooled down and turned a dark brown. It was like this for about 3 months. I put the substrate in 50 containers with air holes because I was prepping for larvae. A few weeks go by and I notice that the substrate was generating heat again and started to smell like ammonia. That sucked! :ph34r:

Link to post
Share on other sites

As white rot wood continues to decay, it darkens naturally as other organic materials build up. This darkening is not the same as brown-rot, but it is an indicator that the cellulose is being broken down more and organic waste and microbes building up. You can tell the difference between very dark, aged substrate versus high-lignin substrate that has almost no nutritional value for beetle larvae. Aged substrate will feel soft--kind of like wet, macerated newspaper and lignin-based substrates will always feel gritty. White rot wood was definitely not a great substrate for most rhinoceros beetles I've raised. I've kept some that seemed to like feeding on large chunks of white rot wood, but they did still have a substrate that was primarily leaf mold and heavily fermented saw dust.

 

The color of the fermented wood is not a great indicator of readiness. I've had fermented substrate appear ready for use, but upon adding some boiling water to kill some pesky fungus gnats, most of the brown coloration washed away and I was left with sawdust that was nearly as light as what I had started with! Grinding it between my fingers showed that it was still mostly unfermented sawdust as it was still grainy with sharp edges instead of soft. The determination of whether or not substrate fermented by an amateur hobbyist such as ourselves is best done using multiple indicators such as color, smell, and most importantly, texture. From my experiences, it's unreliable to use just one indicator and I've had plenty of moments where I've found myself using substrate that was not quite ready yet. When in doubt, it's a good idea to try some substrate on just one of your larvae before switching them all if you have enough to spare one. The larvae will always let you know if the substrate is good or not--hopefully you notice before they perish!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you want lower lignin content and higher cellulose content unless you're working with an organism that has gut symbionts that are capable of producing enzymes that can break down lignin. White rot fungi primarily digest lignin and leave behind most of the cellulose--that's why most beetle larvae can feed on it. The mycelium present also adds some nutrients as it is rich in protein.

 

No multicellular animal is known to produce the enzymes required for the breakdown of lignin. Raw wood has cellulose that is covered in lignin--this is what makes raw wood difficult to digest. Too little microbial action and the lignin remains, locking away the cellulose and other nutrients from the larvae. Too much microbial action and the lignin is mostly gone and the cellulose and other nutrients have been freely accessible for extensive decomposition and it is no longer nutritious enough.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

hi, im having trouble with finding the right type of rotten wood. I live in the tropics and i found a large dead tree which was completely rotten and super soft like wet cardboard. i took some of the rotten wood home. as it had just rained the wood is wet and dark brown. It is really soft and i could break it all down by hand to basically soil. Is this a good wood to use or is it potentially just brown rot and useless?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It is likely brown rot if brown. I found a NCBI article someone did on testing the best hardwood density. The consensus was the best wood logs just dent with a hammer. If the hammer goes right through it is too soft, and if the hammer bounces off like nothing that it is too hard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...