Bumble Bee Millipedes originate from the Caribbean but have been introduced in other areas. They are relatively small and are banded with yellow and black - hence the name. They are found in a variety of habitats such as forest floors, as well as in human settlements and will feed on decaying plant material and organic matter. They are small in size and have the ability to stain the skin with toxins if threatened, though the effects will fade away and not cause the 'burn' of other millipede species. Apart from this they are ok to handle though they may not be very tolerant of it.
Bumble Bee Millipedes are a smaller species that prefer company and like to burrow so an enclosure with good space and depth is much better. A good example is a 45 x 45 x 30cm terrarium or a well ventilated plastic container of the same size. Within this area, it is first essential to provide a good depth of loose substrate - a soil is best to use such as coco soil. Mixed in with this you should also incorporate some moss (e.g sphagnum, carpet or cushion moss) as this is great at retaining moisture, and a good amount of leaf litter. The leaf litter will not only provide cover and make a more natural setting, it is also an important part of their diet so ensure these are topped up when running low. You should also have a variety of wood in the enclosure such as cork pieces, or bog wood - creating opportunity for hiding, enrichment and again contributing to their dietary needs. A shallow water dish will keep your millipedes hydrated and keep humidity high, so should also be added to the environment though this dish should be relevant to the size of the millipedes - and for babies something like a bottle cap may be better.
Bumble Bee Millipedes will not require special lighting, though you may decide to add a small LED during the day so you are able to see them and also create better day/night periods. It is also often found that room temperature is sufficient to keep them at, as long as this resides from 20-24C. In cases where the enclosure is much below this, a heating source may be required such as a heat mat. This will need to be thermostatically controlled to ensure that the environment doesn't overheat and dry out. To monitor these conditions, an accurate digital thermometer should be used.
Humidity is an important aspect of this species environment and should remain between 70 - 80% - measured with an accurate digital hygrometer. High humidity can come from moisture holding substrates such as soil and moss and regular spraying. Humidity can also pose a risk of mould growth which needs to be removed when visible. A preventative for mould could be to add spring tails - tiny 'clean up crew' that will live in the soil eating waste and mould and wont bother your millipedes. You may notice that some millipedes come with clean up crew themselves, with tiny mite like creatures living on their bodies - these are not a concern for health.
Bumble Bee Millipedes are detritivores - which means they feed on a variety of decaying plant matter. To provide them with all nutritional requirements, your enclosure should include wood such as cork as well as leaf litter - which doubles up as cover and enrichment. You should also provide suitable fruit and veg every now and then, as this can be an important source of vitamins. Food will not need dusting with any supplements, but it is important to provide cuttle bone in the environment, which will create another great nutritional opportunity. A good example of cuttle bone you can use is Komodo's Cuttlebone Discs.
- Adult Expected Size - up to 4 inches
- Habitat - Forest of Caribbean amongst decaying matter and loose soils. Terrestrial living.
- Required Enclosure Size - 45 x 45 x 30cm or similar sized plastic container (4 - 5 individuals)
- UV Lighting - Not required
- Expected Lifespan - 3 - 5 Years
- Temperature Gradient - 20 - 24C
- Humidity Levels - 70 - 80%
- Feeding - Detritivores - leaf litter, wood, fruit and veg.
- Handling - Ok to handle though they are delicate and may not be very tolerant of it