Are there any feeder insects that can breed at 40% humidity, or otherwise dry conditions?

Wayfarin

Arachnoknight
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Mar 20, 2022
Messages
190
Hello, folks!

I have been interested in the idea of breeding feeder insects for my pets for quite some time now. I've been trying to do it since I lived back in Connecticut, but now after moving to northern New Hampshire, where the nearest Petco or PetSmart is over an hour away, the advantage of doing this has only become more evident.
My past experiences with feeder insects were often negative, and had much to be desired.
Mites, flies, mold, smelly dead insects, low survival rates, and a very long time before I had even babies, which I never got to feed to my reptiles.
I've tried breeding superworms and mealworms, honestly with more success breeding the superworms than the supposedly simple mealworms.
I've never tried breeding crickets, but I did have a huge maggot infestation inside a cricket bag that had poor ventilation.

Of all the obstacles I've faced, the mites are the one I hate the most. Even though they are probably harmless grain mites, I suspect the hidden pests may have been devouring my mealworms eggs or competing with the hatchlings. They obviously bred a lot faster than the "prolific" mealworm beetles, and for some reason decided that the mealworm bin was not big enough and started to crawl out of the bin to explore the room. Since my brother is allergic to dust mites, we didn't want them invading his room, so we just threw the whole bin out.

I've noticed that a lot of my problems are caused by humid conditions within the breeding containers. Less humidity = less mites, maggots, mold, disease, and smell.
The only problem is that from what I've read about breeding feeder insects, warmth and humidity is important for breeding most feeder insects.
Apparently, any conditions that are not favorable for breeding mites and maggots are also unfavorable for breeding feeder insects.
From what I've heard, mites and mold are less prolific when the humidity drops below 50%, but the eggs and larvae/nymphs of most feeder insects do not thrive in conditions that dry.
Do silkworms need humidity? From what I've read, they seem to breed fine without any moisture or humidity.

But surely, out of all the feeder insects in the world, not all of them require warm, humid conditions to thrive, right?
Are there any feeder insects that can breed at 40% humidity?
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks! God bless!
 

jbooth

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Nov 24, 2022
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150
This winter both my lateralis and dubia never got over 30% and were mostly in the teens, they bred fine but I have had lots of deaths assuming from dehydration from the runners, but not enough to stop the colony by any means. Zero known deaths to dubia attributable to dehydration. Just make sure they have water. I did separate some lateralis ootheca into a separate container in the enclosure and moistened the substrate in that a little, but I still had some hatching in the main colony as well.
 

Wayfarin

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Messages
190
This winter both my lateralis and dubia never got over 30% and were mostly in the teens, they bred fine but I have had lots of deaths assuming from dehydration from the runners, but not enough to stop the colony by any means. Zero known deaths to dubia attributable to dehydration. Just make sure they have water. I did separate some lateralis ootheca into a separate container in the enclosure and moistened the substrate in that a little, but I still had some hatching in the main colony as well.
Even the dubia roach nymphs survived? I would have thought that at least half of the newborns would have died since they are pretty soft and tender.
The teens? You mean, like, 13-19% humidity?

I've heard that dubia roaches need much higher temperatures to breed than even crickets. How did you keep your dubia roaches warm in the winter?
 

jbooth

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I keep them on heat pads. I was overflowing water dishes some at first, but the dubia started to stink when I tried to get it stay over 30% so I stopped. Probably lost some nymphs, but I didn't notice any dead ones. Didn't see any noticeably 'dried out' either, as long as they have water they hold it well. Runners are a different story because of the thin exoskeleton. I had to pick and choose because lots looked physically dried out whenever I went to feed. I don't recommend it, I'm just saying they survived it. Definitely looking to have a humidifier in the room by next winter.
 

Introvertebrate

Arachnoprince
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This winter both my lateralis and dubia never got over 30% and were mostly in the teens, they bred fine but I have had lots of deaths assuming from dehydration from the runners, but not enough to stop the colony by any means. Zero known deaths to dubia attributable to dehydration. Just make sure they have water. I did separate some lateralis ootheca into a separate container in the enclosure and moistened the substrate in that a little, but I still had some hatching in the main colony as well.
I find lats to be a bit more dicey than dubias. I'm still getting mine dialed in. The second generation seems to be more hardy.
 

Tarantuland

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I’m new to raising feeders, but you can seed many roach colonies with Buffalo beetles and it’ll help some of these issues
 

Wayfarin

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Messages
190
I keep them on heat pads. I was overflowing water dishes some at first, but the dubia started to stink when I tried to get it stay over 30% so I stopped. Probably lost some nymphs, but I didn't notice any dead ones. Didn't see any noticeably 'dried out' either, as long as they have water they hold it well. Runners are a different story because of the thin exoskeleton. I had to pick and choose because lots looked physically dried out whenever I went to feed. I don't recommend it, I'm just saying they survived it. Definitely looking to have a humidifier in the room by next winter.
Yeah, Turkestan cockroaches don't look to me like the kind of insects that would appreciate dry conditions, but I'm surprised that you had any success breeding them.
Dubia roaches, on the other hand, I might be looking into. I'd probably try to keep them at least at 40% humidity, just to be safe, but it's good to know that they can survive lower humidity levels.
 

Wayfarin

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I’m new to raising feeders, but you can seed many roach colonies with Buffalo beetles and it’ll help some of these issues
Will adding a few superworms to a dubia roach colony have the same effect? Our nearest pet store has dubia roaches and superworms, but I've never been to a store that carries buffalo beetles.
 

jbooth

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Will adding a few superworms to a dubia roach colony have the same effect? Our nearest pet store has dubia roaches and superworms, but I've never been to a store that carries buffalo beetles.
I don't think so. The worms I think have to be separated to become beetles, and I don't think they eat carrion. The point of the buffalo beetles is they eat dead roaches, and the worms will clean up food waste, but so will the roaches themselves. Not sure what other issues they were supposed to solve...
 

Wayfarin

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I don't think so. The worms I think have to be separated to become beetles, and I don't think they eat carrion. The point of the buffalo beetles is they eat dead roaches, and the worms will clean up food waste, but so will the roaches themselves. Not sure what other issues they were supposed to solve...
I don't think that superworms have to metamorphosize to be useful cleaners. I'd have a hard time picturing superworms not eating the dead roaches, and I think they will eat almost anything, even styrofoam. But they would probably not be as good at carefully picking them clean. I might just have to test this for myself.
 

jbooth

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I don't think that superworms have to metamorphosize to be useful cleaners. I'd have a hard time picturing superworms not eating the dead roaches, and I think they will eat almost anything, even styrofoam. But they would probably not be as good at carefully picking them clean. I might just have to test this for myself.
Sounds like its worth a try for sure, might make it easy to have worms as a backup too. I don't like feeding the buffalo worms because they eat the egg crates and I think I compacted a spider with it once(it cleared it and was fine). I'd just make sure they don't do that too if you feed them off.
 

Arachnophobphile

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B. dubia roaches are really only good for slings up to 2 to 2.5 inches dls give or take. Sub-adult to adult T's do not care for them. Dubia's either immediately burrow or become foot stools for bigger tarantulas

Blatta lateralis are probably one of the best feeders for T's in my experience. One of the fastest roaches which is a huge bonus to triggering a tarantula tackle. My T's never have denied eating these guys when they are dropped in. Also a bonus lateralis will literally run right towards the T many of times. I wasn't even trying to breed these and they bred twice in only 70 to 71F and enclosure on the dry side, I have no idea.

Eublaberus posticus aka Orange Head Roaches, just got 100 of them in and starting a colony. These are actually an attractive looking roach and will be upsetting for me to actually feed them to my tarantulas. These are big freakin roaches and they eat like a horde of wild hogs devouring an entire farmer's crop of corn, good lord. My B. lateralis never ate like these guys. I'm not home to snap a photo sorry. They are big oval shape if that helps before reaching adult stage. The ones I got in were labeled 3/4 to 1 inch and some of these roaches are bigger than that. Adults reach 2 inches. No doubt these are a big meaty roach and they can scoot along a little quick but nothing like a B. lateralis.

Will try to update when I actually try feeding them to my tarantulas. It will be months before I consider feeding them off. Not sure how my T's will take these compared to B. lateralis roaches.
 

Isaax Critterz

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Maybe mealworms? I keep mine in the fridge because thats what the p̷͕̱̰̖̟̦̟̘̓͛͊̃̊͂̀͆̚͠ê̶̠ţ̷̼̖̲̝̦̆̐ ̵̢͔̭̰̝̲̿̎̐ͅş̸̙̻͇̮̜͚̪͙̩̆͆̚͠t̵̛̤̗͔͎̰̉͂ỏ̸͈̥̻̱̮̊̔̑͜ͅŗ̵̙̩̤͈̠̠̮́͂͋̐̈́̒ẹ̸̀ said i should do.. ( not sure if that is accurate or not)
 

TJ 68

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I have had success with Banded Crickets. I used an 18gal Tote and cut in several ventilation holes.( I used the plastic vent caps that come on the cricket boxes to snap into the holes. ) On 2/3rds of the bottom I had about 2" of loose soil and. on the other 1/3 I put medium size aquarium gravel a little higher than the soil. A small heat pad at one corner of the soil. I only place food on a small dinner plate on the gravel side.I used high calcium cricket diet and raw potatoes for food .After 2 days i remove the plate with any uneaten food and skip a day or 2 before replacing with a clean plate. I use "water pillows" on a jar lid at the corner of soil without the heat pad. I keep the gravel side totally dry and never leave the food in to long, I think this is where a lot of the mold starts. I have this setup in my basement so its not a problem to hang a couple of fly-strips over the bin to catch houseflies etc. I place Egg crates in the middle and change them out every 2 weeks, removing any dead at this time. This has worked for me several times, I only stopped be cause I end up with an overload of crickets. I use the same setup without the heat pad and they dont reproduce but it stays mold and smell free.
 

Wayfarin

Arachnoknight
Joined
Mar 20, 2022
Messages
190
B. dubia roaches are really only good for slings up to 2 to 2.5 inches dls give or take. Sub-adult to adult T's do not care for them. Dubia's either immediately burrow or become foot stools for bigger tarantulas

Blatta lateralis are probably one of the best feeders for T's in my experience. One of the fastest roaches which is a huge bonus to triggering a tarantula tackle. My T's never have denied eating these guys when they are dropped in. Also a bonus lateralis will literally run right towards the T many of times. I wasn't even trying to breed these and they bred twice in only 70 to 71F and enclosure on the dry side, I have no idea.

Eublaberus posticus aka Orange Head Roaches, just got 100 of them in and starting a colony. These are actually an attractive looking roach and will be upsetting for me to actually feed them to my tarantulas. These are big freakin roaches and they eat like a horde of wild hogs devouring an entire farmer's crop of corn, good lord. My B. lateralis never ate like these guys. I'm not home to snap a photo sorry. They are big oval shape if that helps before reaching adult stage. The ones I got in were labeled 3/4 to 1 inch and some of these roaches are bigger than that. Adults reach 2 inches. No doubt these are a big meaty roach and they can scoot along a little quick but nothing like a B. lateralis.

Will try to update when I actually try feeding them to my tarantulas. It will be months before I consider feeding them off. Not sure how my T's will take these compared to B. lateralis roaches.
I don't actually keep tarantulas. The feeder insects are for my bearded dragon.

I feed my wild-caught spiders wild-caught insects, since they are not only free, but offer variety and probably replicate their diets since the insects often originate near where the spiders were found or at least where they could encounter them (our pesticide-free yard).
I would not recommend feeding tarantulas or any other exotic spider wild-caught insects in the same way, but all of the spiders I keep are local natives or naturalized.
 

lindale450

Arachnopeon
Joined
Dec 18, 2022
Messages
40
Hello, folks!

I have been interested in the idea of breeding feeder insects for my pets for quite some time now. I've been trying to do it since I lived back in Connecticut, but now after moving to northern New Hampshire, where the nearest Petco or PetSmart is over an hour away, the advantage of doing this has only become more evident.
My past experiences with feeder insects were often negative, and had much to be desired.
Mites, flies, mold, smelly dead insects, low survival rates, and a very long time before I had even babies, which I never got to feed to my reptiles.
I've tried breeding superworms and mealworms, honestly with more success breeding the superworms than the supposedly simple mealworms.
I've never tried breeding crickets, but I did have a huge maggot infestation inside a cricket bag that had poor ventilation.

Of all the obstacles I've faced, the mites are the one I hate the most. Even though they are probably harmless grain mites, I suspect the hidden pests may have been devouring my mealworms eggs or competing with the hatchlings. They obviously bred a lot faster than the "prolific" mealworm beetles, and for some reason decided that the mealworm bin was not big enough and started to crawl out of the bin to explore the room. Since my brother is allergic to dust mites, we didn't want them invading his room, so we just threw the whole bin out.

I've noticed that a lot of my problems are caused by humid conditions within the breeding containers. Less humidity = less mites, maggots, mold, disease, and smell.
The only problem is that from what I've read about breeding feeder insects, warmth and humidity is important for breeding most feeder insects.
Apparently, any conditions that are not favorable for breeding mites and maggots are also unfavorable for breeding feeder insects.
From what I've heard, mites and mold are less prolific when the humidity drops below 50%, but the eggs and larvae/nymphs of most feeder insects do not thrive in conditions that dry.
Do silkworms need humidity? From what I've read, they seem to breed fine without any moisture or humidity.

But surely, out of all the feeder insects in the world, not all of them require warm, humid conditions to thrive, right?
Are there any feeder insects that can breed at 40% humidity?
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks! God bless!
Still need warm humid conditions but my Pycnoscelus surinamensis have no smell whatsoever, I mostly feed carrots and they are kept @ 85 and are reproducing well, no mold no deaths no mites. Way easier and cleaner then crickets.
 

Arachnophobphile

Arachnobaron
Active Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
539
I don't actually keep tarantulas. The feeder insects are for my bearded dragon.

I feed my wild-caught spiders wild-caught insects, since they are not only free, but offer variety and probably replicate their diets since the insects often originate near where the spiders were found or at least where they could encounter them (our pesticide-free yard).
I would not recommend feeding tarantulas or any other exotic spider wild-caught insects in the same way, but all of the spiders I keep are local natives or naturalized.
I highly recommend Eublaberus posticus for your bearded dragon. If you can find them grab them. Easier to breed than Dubia, much easier. Also bigger and meatier than Dubia roaches.

They cannot climb slick surfaces or fly. They are extremely light sensitive compared to my B. lateralis. The lateralis did not care for light but the posticus hate it even more. They do have a ravenous appetite compared to the other roaches I've had.

I do not know how big your dragon is but you can get them in smaller sizes. That's if you can find them. They seem to sell out fast when available.
 

Stylopidae

Arachnoking
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Jul 7, 2005
Messages
3,207
Lobster roaches are still the best feeders I've ever had.

The adults are about 2x the size of crickets, so they'll catch the attention of much larger spiders (the biggest I had was a 8" P. regalis; it took the roaches just fine).

They're active, and don't burrow. They'll climb and explore, which means they'll consistently cross a burrow. They won't go into a burrow, which is good because they won't disturb a moulting specimen. Good for fossorials and arborials alike.

They cannot breed at room temps, so no fear of infestation like you get with B. lateralis.

The first instars are small enough to feed most slings. I only say 'most' because I never kept dwarf species, but I never had a problem with the smallest slings. Maybe they're too big for the dwarfs, but I doubt it. Widows fed on the first instars just fine.

Keep them warm using a heat lamp. I fed them a mixture of dog food, cat food, and fish food. A frozen/thawed granny smith apple once or twice per week supplied their moisture.

A 10-gallon tank will feed 200 spiders, plus an assassin bug colony.

Get lobster roaches.

If you feed roaches, wear PPE. The BlaG1 protein, found in all (and I do mean ALL) roach species is one of the most potent allergens known. It's literally only behind dust mite salivary proteins in terms of it's ability to make people become allergic.

This is literally the only downside of lobster roaches.

I've kept death's head roaches, I've kept orange head roaches, I've also kept Dubias (Blaberus, Euposticus, and Blaptica respectively), but these turned more into pets than feeders. The lobster roaches were my main workhorse roach colony.

IMO, lobster roaches are the perfect feeder.
 
Last edited:

Arachnophobphile

Arachnobaron
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Joined
Dec 24, 2018
Messages
539
Lobster roaches are still the best feeders I've ever had.

The adults are about 2x the size of crickets, so they'll catch the attention of much larger spiders (the biggest I had was a 8" P. regalis; it took the roaches just fine).

They're active, and don't burrow. They'll climb and explore, which means they'll consistently cross a burrow. They won't go into a burrow, which is good because they won't disturb a moulting specimen. Good for fossorials and arborials alike.

They cannot breed at room temps, so no fear of infestation like you get with B. lateralis.

The first instars are small enough to feed most slings. I only say 'most' because I never kept dwarf species, but I never had a problem with the smallest slings. Maybe they're too big for the dwarfs, but I doubt it. Widows fed on the first instars just fine.

Keep them warm using a heat lamp. I fed them a mixture of dog food, cat food, and fish food. A frozen/thawed granny smith apple once or twice per week supplied their moisture.

A 10-gallon tank will feed 200 spiders, plus an assassin bug colony.

Get lobster roaches.

If you feed roaches, wear PPE. The BlaG1 protein, found in all (and I do mean ALL) roach species is one of the most potent allergens known. It's literally only behind dust mite salivary proteins in terms of it's ability to make people become allergic.

This is literally the only downside of lobster roaches.

I've kept death's head roaches, I've kept orange head roaches, I've also kept Dubias (Blaberus, Euposticus, and Blaptica respectively), but these turned more into pets than feeders. The lobster roaches were my main workhorse roach colony.

IMO, lobster roaches are the perfect feeder.
You're in Wyoming so yeah you wouldn't have too much of an infestation problem.

I've read some horror stories from people who did have them in the lower states from you.

A few escaped because they can climb and fly. They had an infestation and no matter what they did, even burning the building down where they were couldn't get rid of them.

One plus side you'll have roaches for life, haha.
 

Wayfarin

Arachnoknight
Joined
Mar 20, 2022
Messages
190
I highly recommend Eublaberus posticus for your bearded dragon. If you can find them grab them. Easier to breed than Dubia, much easier. Also bigger and meatier than Dubia roaches.

They cannot climb slick surfaces or fly. They are extremely light sensitive compared to my B. lateralis. The lateralis did not care for light but the posticus hate it even more. They do have a ravenous appetite compared to the other roaches I've had.

I do not know how big your dragon is but you can get them in smaller sizes. That's if you can find them. They seem to sell out fast when available.
Can they breed at low humidity? I can imagine that the reason jbooth didn't have many deaths from the dubia roaches was because they don't actually lay eggs.
Eggs, I imagine, would be a major life stage for mortality owing to drought since they cannot drink.
 
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