The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Millipede nest

Millipede eggs

I stumbled across a big, beautiful millipede while weeding this week, then noticed these round balls beneath her.  Were they castings (aka poop)?  Well, yes and no.

Millipede nest

Female millipedes dig nests like this when they're ready to lay eggs, and many species form a protective case around each egg with their own castings.  I broke one ball open and, sure enough, a tiny egg was inside.  Sure of the balls' ID, I carefully put Mama Millipede back in her nest and swept some dirt back over top of her.  A planting of buckwheat ensures the millipede's nest won't be pawed up again until at least a month from now, at which point the eggs will have hatched.

Inside, I learned that mother millipedes sometimes guard their eggs until the babies hatch and that the tiny millipedes come out of the egg with only six legs, making them look like tiny insects.  The youngsters quickly push out of their old skins and add new sets of legs with each molt, eventually turning into helpful decomposers of decaying plant debris like their mother.  Live long and prosper, little millipedes!



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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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Hi,

We are currently working on a television project for kids between 5 and 12 years old. Our objective is to make the kids love insects. We really like your photos of the millipede nest, and we were wondering if we could use it as a reference to illustrate what it looks like.

Let us know if you are willing to share (non exclusive) rights for these pictures. We will make sure to give you proper credit in the end credit of the episode.

Have a great day :)

Comment by Prestigo Médias Tue Aug 27 11:57:39 2019
Please feel free to use the photos. If you have a spot to give me credit, just put in www.waldeneffect.org. Thank you so much!
Comment by anna Wed Aug 28 15:46:17 2019





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