Feeder Roaches: Care and Breeding

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Much appreciate your reply, Ethan. A, B, & C had been considered. So then why did I strongly recommend crickets? Humm... Guess via this chart crickets have a good protein content and a respectable fat content as well. Diet should reflect similar goals.

You're totally correct about all the missing details which could invalidate any points made for the charted feeders.

I wonder whether Maurice has any data for feeders?
 

billewicz

New member
Will roaches do well on a diet of all fruits and vegetables alone?

It depends on the roach species and what you meant by 'do well'. I can tell you Dubia's will eat just about any fruit or veggie. Some other species are very picky. I use most of my Dubia colonies specifically as a greens recycling unit. They get all the leftovers from the crickets, the tortoise bins, etc. They are fat, happy and breed like crazy. The roaches do well.

Now from there selected roaches of various sizes are culled and are gut loaded for 2-3 days before becoming feeders to my geckos. I use Repashy insect gut load, but there have been several other formulas detailed in this forum. This process is to insure that the roach has the proper nutritional value for my gecko. It is at this point that the roach will do well as a feeder.

So, if the question is, can a roach be feed only fruits and veggies and obtain the proper vitamins, proteins and essential minerals to qualify as a good feeder, maybe, but it is a lot of work. Because our commercial fruits and veggie are almost void of minerals, you may come up short in this regard without supplementation. :-x
 

Saskia

New member
Wondering... :scratchhead:

How much space is needed for a healthy Dubia colony?? I mean, OBVIOUSLY it depends on the quantity of dubias, but, i.e., how much space to keep every (let's say) 100 Dubias??, or any other ceirtain/given amount of roaches?? I keep 12 geckos at this time, and since all the feeders supliers have been having problems lately I started my dubia roach and surinamensis roach colonies and I want to have enough feeders to happily maintain all my geckos. And also another question, in order to breed large numbers (If I produce anything more than I need I can easily sell, there is a lot of market for it) is it better to have one large breeding box or several medium or small breeding boxes?? I would need about 40 dubias every week to feed my herps (considering I would also provide surinamensis roaches, grasshoppers and mealworms)
 
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Marauderhex

New member
I use one large bin for my dubia colony. The colony will hit carrying capacity in whatever container you put them in, if you meet all of their heat, humidity, and nutritional requirements.
 

billewicz

New member
I'm not sure one way is any better than another. I have three or more medium sized bins, or 10 gallon tanks going for each of my roach species. I do this because it seems that colonies will cycle a bit and the multiple colonies smooths things out.

I've sold extras on Craig's List and traded with other local feeder folks that do Horned Worms or rodents.
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
Saskia ~

This is how I breed dubia:

ROACH CARE
I breed Blaptica dubia in a ten gallon tank with 5 vertically positioned egg flats trimmed to be just a bit shorter than the height of the tank . Albers All Purpose Poultry Feed (ground), dry oatmeal, and alfalfa hay can be kept in shallow lids to one side of the egg flats. Collard greens and carrots can be added occasionally. For moisture I dampen a clean medium-size sponge and occasionally spray the flats. In a room which ranges from 67 F/19.5 C upwards, I keep a 40 watt bulb in a 10 inch diameter reflector dome directly over the screened tank and on 24/7.
 

Saskia

New member
Marauderhex:
I can see you keep many geckos, what other feeder do you breed? Are dubias enough to feed all your critters?

Liz:
Thanks!! One question... in a 10 gallon tank do you have an estimate on how many dubias you have?? How many dubias can you use weekly maintaining your roach colony stable??
 

Elizabeth Freer

Active member
......

Liz:
Thanks!! One question... in a 10 gallon tank do you have an estimate on how many dubias you have?? How many dubias can you use weekly maintaining your roach colony stable??

Saskia ~ No estimate whatever :(. I feed dubia very infrequently and share my colony every so often :idea:.
 
Wondering... :scratchhead:

How much space is needed for a healthy Dubia colony?? I mean, OBVIOUSLY it depends on the quantity of dubias, but, i.e., how much space to keep every (let's say) 100 Dubias??, or any other ceirtain/given amount of roaches?? I keep 12 geckos at this time, and since all the feeders supliers have been having problems lately I started my dubia roach and surinamensis roach colonies and I want to have enough feeders to happily maintain all my geckos. And also another question, in order to breed large numbers (If I produce anything more than I need I can easily sell, there is a lot of market for it) is it better to have one large breeding box or several medium or small breeding boxes?? I would need about 40 dubias every week to feed my herps (considering I would also provide surinamensis roaches, grasshoppers and mealworms)

A few things to consider are the number of roaches you need to produce, the size you need them to be when you feed them off, and how much effort you want to put into their care.

You mentioned you need around 40 a week, let's say you average 20 nymphs per female every 45 days (6 weeks), your need is 240 roaches over that span of time, or 11 females.

If you keep 11 females and 11 males a 10g or similar sized enclosure is perfectly acceptable to maintain your breeders (though I would suggest you go with the latch top sterilite bins).

Depending on how large you need your feeders to be is the next factor you need to consider. Dubia can take as long as 6 months to mature (depending on your care), so if you need a half grown roach you aren't going to be keeping any less than 480 growing roaches of varying sizes. You can keep this many in a 58qt sterilite bin on 5 egg flats no problem at all.

As for the effort you put into them, I find it easier to keep the breeders in their own bin so I can track their age and get them fed off prior to them kicking the bucket and stinking up the colony.

They can all be kept together but you'll lose track of which adults are getting old and which are the new ones.

So I'd keep three bins, one big 58q for your feeders, and two smaller boot box size bins (one for your breeders and the second to rear your replacement breeders).

When your 11.11 first produce offspring take out 33 nymphs and put them in the replacement breeder bin, when they start producing nymphs your other breeders can go. Whatever nymphs are produced between that time is put in the feeder bin.

Maurice Pudlo
 
For the record I pulled a random selection of B. dubia pairs 100.100 to determine my production average.

The numbers;
30.0 avg (22 lo - 42 hi) note: all data used
29.5 avg (23 lo - 36 hi) minus top & bottom 10%
34.8 avg (31 lo - 42 hi) top 50%
25.2 avg (22 lo - 28 hi) bottom 50%

Maurice Pudlo
 
The main reason I suggest the latch tops over the older snap tops is so you can stack them. For B. dubia regular aluminum window screen is fine enough to prevent escape of even the smallest nymphs. If you buy a hole saw for door knobs (works with an electric drill or hand drill) you can drill several holes in each side of the latch top bin, then cut out slightly larger sections of screen to cover each hole. I attach the screen by melting the aluminum screen to the plastic with a wood burning tool, the result is clean and permanent unlike hot glue or epoxy.

A bit of planning is required to place the ventilation, on larger bins I use 16 vents, on smaller bins with lower numbers of insects I use fewer vents.

While none of today's commonly available storage bins are air tight, they do allow the air within to become saturated with humidity when housing a large number of roaches if the lid is used.

If you use a CHE or colored incandescent bulb to heat from above (through a cutout in the lid), less ventilation will be required because of the heating source will dry out the air.

If you use any of the common UTH products to heat the bin a higher number of vents might be required.

In my own case, I heat and humidify an entire room dedicated to a particular group of insects. The ventilation must be adequate to allow humidity and heat to enter and escape practically unhindered.

While this may seem somewhat complicated, we are dealing with roaches here and B. dubia are not one of the more demanding species to keep. In general if you keep them warm and well fed/hydrated they are going to do well.

Maurice Pudlo
 

Saskia

New member
Thanks for all the information, I currently do not use any type of heating device, where I live we do not have 4 seasons, it is always warm and kind of humid (average air temperatures are 80-85F all year round) and the RH about 75% .....
I am being ofered a small colony of Blaberus giganteus and since I am breeding right now Blaptica dubia and Pycnoscelus surinamensis I was thinking about it, my friend told me they grow faster than both dubias and surinamensis but that they lay eggs, however reading about Blaberus mentioned here it says they give birth to live babies, ... what info do you have regarding breeding Blaberus giganteus??? I am spending more time and money right now into getting nice prolific colonies of feeder insects, any info will be highly appreciated!!!

Thanks!!
 
They are much like dubia with respect to reproduction; the males and females mate, about 60 days later the female will expel her ootheca which should in normal situations begin to hatch immediately, the newborn nymphs will then consume the ootheca remains.

Maurice Pudlo
 

Saskia

New member
In that case I think I won´t buy them, I wanted to see some difference, some advantage, because they are quite expensive (one of them costs as much as 8 dubias), do they reproduce or grow faster?? because if it is all similar I will definitively not buy them... THANXX!!
 
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