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What's the quickest way to breed dubias?

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Bunyan van Asten, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. Bunyan van Asten

    Bunyan van Asten Arachnoknight

    Hey everyone!
    I've had a very small colony of dubias for some months now, but not a single female has layed eggs yet. I would like to know what the fastest way of breeding them is. I'd also like to have them live in a proper environment, like with hides, soil and stuff, because i don't want them to have a miserable life in there before i feed them. Any and all help, even if it's something everyone should already know about them is appreciated!
  2. Christianb96

    Christianb96 Arachnoknight

    Assuming your dubias are mature, keep tempatures between 85-90 degrees F, they will mate below that but that is by far the fastest way to do so. Give them plenty of food, humidity, and water crystals. Egg crates with no substrate is the best bet. They burrow so you'll have a very hard time cleaning and will likely throw some away, or spend hours picking through poop and cocofiber for baby dubias. Also dubias do not lay eggs, but basically give live birth. I believe gestation period is about a month
  3. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnumerical Staff Member

    If you are looking to breed them at any kind of scale, then I'd suggest you don't have a "proper" enclosure for them. Vertically standing egg flats, no substrate, and a water dish with crystals in it. Open water will lead to drowning. Don't presume to know what they want - a pretty enclosure will be wasted on them. All they want is a tight place to crawl into, and egg flats are exactly that.

    Here's a few quick bullet points for care. Feel free to ask questions on any of them.
    • They need supplemental heat if you want them to breed. They'll live in low temperatures, but won't start breeding unless you're over ~80F. A heat mat affixed to the side of the tub works fine.
    • For food, my colonies get unmedicated chick feed. Note the words "unmedicated" and "chick" in there - not medicated, and not chicken. Chick feed is high in protein and fat, which is what they and whatever you're feeding them to need. Supplement this diet with occasional fresh fruits and veggies. Remove whatever they don't eat within 24 hours as to avoid mold and flies. Each of my colonies gets an orange once every other week or so, as something about oranges makes them breed much quicker.
    • Avoid humidity like the plague. High humidity will lead to molding of your egg crates and fly outbreaks. I live in one of the driest deserts in the US, and the only source of humidity my roaches get is from the water crystals.
    • Offer no substrate - they'll make their own. A decently sized colony will produce a lot of frass ("poop"). This will allow them to burrow if they wish. When you clean out the enclosure, just sift out the babies with a... well, a sifter. Honestly though, I don't clean my colonies until there's about 2" worth of frass in the bottom. That takes about 2-3 months, depending on the health of the colony. Unless you have a mold or fly outbreak, there isn't much of a reason to clean out.
    • Ironically, larger colonies are much easier to keep than small ones. Small nymphs will actively eat dead adults, leaving only an exoskeleton behind. Unfortunately, small colonies don't have those kind of numbers, leading the dead roaches to fester and mold. You'll need to pick these out manually until the colony becomes self sufficient.
    • Do not buy roach chow or "cricket gel" water crystals. Both are massive ripoffs. You can buy the unmedicated chick feed any any feed store, and you can buy the water crystals for $10 at Home Depot. That bag will last you well over a year until your colony really gets going. Add 1.5 tbsp to a gallon of distilled water, let it sit overnight, and you're good to go.
    • For a water dish, I just use deli cups that have been heavily sanded both on the inside and outside. You must sand them so that the roaches can crawl in and out of the water dish. No need for a food dish, just pour the feed off into another corner straight onto the floor.
    • All roaches have ootheca - an casing full of eggs. B. dubia are unique in that the females hold the ootheca internally until it is time for the nymphs to hatch. When that happens, the ootheca is ejected and the nymphs hatch shortly after. The nymphs will eventually eat the ootheca. There is a picture of this below.
    B. dubia ejecting an ootheca
    • Helpful Helpful x 1
  4. G. pulchra

    G. pulchra Arachnogod Old Timer

    Just for reference, I keep my roaches (dubia and hisser) in my tarantula room that is kept at 77-79 degrees and they breed & produce like crazy.
  5. houston

    houston Arachnopeon

    My dubia colony is kept in a naturalistic ~2.5 gallon acrylic tank, with a supplemental heat source of a ceramic heat emitter. The substrate is several inches thick-- some mulch I got with the tank, some sphagnum moss, and the frass. They do eat the sphagnum moss, but I supplement it with leafy veggies (a handful once or twice a week) and a slice of wet dog/cat food (once or twice a month). They get most their moisture from the leafy greens, but I do spray them when I remember- either once or twice a day. My room is dry, and the CHE dries it out even more, so after they drink their fill it evaporates. I started with 6 females and 1 male in October, and now I've got hundreds.

    If they're not breeding, I'd try putting more food than they can eat in an average feeding time. The excess in resources may spur breeding. But also important to remember is that it can take a little more than a month for the ootheca to be ready. You could go from 6 females and no evidence of breeding to 100+ nymphs when they all give birth.
  6. Bunyan van Asten

    Bunyan van Asten Arachnoknight

    Thanks for the help everyone, I see i'll need to buy some more females, and get a little bit of a bigger crate.