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Hello.

I bought some general garden soil from Home Depot.Mixed it with wood for my beetle larvae.I noticed  i had some added fertilizers and minerals nothing special just to help promote plant growth.Can they  affect my larvae in a negative way if they ingest it?

 

 

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In my experience, not a problem at all. I've reared two species from eggs to adults and reproduction as well using Miracle Gro and two-three different brands with nutrition capsule as well as perlites (white stone-like in size of about 1/8 - 1/16 inch) with NO PROBLEM. I reared Dynastes tityus and Strategus aloeus until emergence without any problem. You can use it for female to lay eggs as well. I reared hundreds of of D. grantii larvae with it. I never emerged any D. grantii only because I gave all my larvae away to colleagues and other beetle enthusiasts in past, and I'm currently rearing couple tens of larvae with those garden soil (the potting soil, not topsoil or anything non-plant materials). Of course, I do rear some others with my own fermented substrate as well too.

However, I did experienced specimens from potting soil did not emerge in average time period compared to the ones reared in fermented oak substrate. They also took from couple months to even an year to develop enough to emerge as adult beetles. It seems potting soil just don't have enough nutrients for scarab rearing, but still edible. If you did not prepare substrate, then I guess this can be your alternative.

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The fermentation of oak is quite a long process. Being from oregon all I can do for heat is keep my house hot. But this can only go so high before I become miserably toasted. 

 

I've collected white rot wood, but thats only good for stags.

I do wonder if there is a brand online that sells some kind of compost that would be perfect

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2 hours ago, Briareo said:

The fermentation of oak is quite a long process. Being from oregon all I can do for heat is keep my house hot. But this can only go so high before I become miserably toasted. 

 

I've collected white rot wood, but thats only good for stags.

I do wonder if there is a brand online that sells some kind of compost that would be perfect

Beetle substrates - https://shop.bugsincyberspace.com/Beetle-Substrate-bic797.htm

Have used these for years, with excellent results.

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44 minutes ago, Briareo said:

Ive ordered from Peter multiple times before. But the price is quite high. I wonder rather if there is any bulk compost or such that can be orderded that isnt marketed for beetles per say.

Well, the thing is, the majority of commercially-produced composts are of course made for use with plants.  For rearing beetles, you'll definitely get the best results from hardwood-based material that's been prepared specifically for them, by way of fungal / microbial treatment (e.g. - spent logs from mushroom cultivation, or naturally decomposed wood if you can find some in your local area that's suitable, or through sawdust fermentation).  Peter's "flake soil" is made using the fermentation method.

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1 minute ago, Briareo said:

I have some oak pellets being fermented. But it isnt seeming to work. Hasnt gotten warm at all. Im using a completely sealed tub to keep gnats out. Should I drill breathing holes?

The process requires a non-stop exchange of air, to allow oxygen in, and carbon dioxide out.   Of course, you don't want to have an unsealed container of actively fermenting substrate indoors - the pungent, sour smell would permeate the whole house and be really nauseating.  The process also usually produces some ammonia (along with various other volatile organic compounds) for a period toward the end of fermentation as the "fuel" (e.g. - wheat flour) is used up and the microbe population crashes, and needless to say, you don't want to be breathing any ammonia at all!  I've never done fermentation anywhere other than in an outdoor situation, with the container placed right in the sun for much of the day, to get maximum ambient heat (in addition to the heat that the process itself generates).  Daytime temperatures of 90 F and above are ideal.  80 F is adequate, though.  At temperatures below that however, the process will really struggle to even start.  So, the hottest part of the summer is the best time.  By the way, what did you use as a microbial seeder?  Active dry yeast?  Old substrate?  Also, how often are you rotating the substrate?  And, what is the volume?  It's much harder to get small batches to work than large ones, since small ones don't retain heat as effectively.

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Im using an entire 20 pounds of traeger pellets plus the remnants of a previous bag. 3 poinds of oat bran. An active dry yeast packet. And water. Its in a very large lockable container. It is placed in front of a window that gets direct sunlight. But often its about 75F. It likely isnt getting enough oxygen exchange or heat given what was just said

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7 hours ago, Briareo said:

Im using an entire 20 pounds of traeger pellets plus the remnants of a previous bag. 3 poinds of oat bran. An active dry yeast packet. And water. Its in a very large lockable container. It is placed in front of a window that gets direct sunlight. But often its about 75F. It likely isnt getting enough oxygen exchange or heat given what was just said

20 lb of dry pellets equals 3 gal. plus 1.5 qt.  If I recall correctly, 2 gal. of dry pellets expands to about 7 gal. of sawdust when moistened.  So, a 20 lb bag would become roughly 12 gal. of sawdust when moistened.  Certainly, that's a large enough volume to retain heat once fermentation starts up, so yes, the problem you're having is likely due to a lack of oxygen and high enough surrounding temperature.  If your current batch isn't working, it's definitely not ruined - you can just re-start it in the summer when the weather gets warm enough.  You probably won't need to add in the original percentage of oat bran (or flour) to get the mixture to start, though - perhaps only half of what you originally used, since there will still be a lot of the original still in it, if fermentation never actually took place.  If the volume of your batch of moistened sawdust is approx. 15 gal. (a 20 lb bag + some extra from a previous bag), the amount of bran or flour to add would be roughly 1.7 gal. (it doesn't need to be really precise).  Generally, I've always just calculated what 11% of the sawdust's volume is, and thoroughly mixed in that amount of flour.  For re-starting a batch that's already had flour added but failed to start up on the first attempt, adding an amount of flour equal to 5% of the sawdust's original volume (what it was before you added flour the first time) should be enough to get good activation.

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