Breeding roaches?

magicmed

Arachnobaron
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Jun 4, 2016
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I think I'm going to start breeding dubias. Wanted to get some tips because I know a few of you breed them. Had a couple questions.

My T room is kept at 80 degrees. I know dubia need to be kept warm, will I need extra heat? Maybe a red heat light? Or is 80 good?

I'm solid on feeding, not worried about that at all. But as far as substrate I've seen both it used and not used, what would you recommend? If they require humidity I can see it being much easier with substrate.

Size/type of enclosure? I have a spare 20 long I can use, I know they can't climb glass, but what about plastic? Thought maybe a large rubber made tub but can they climb that material?

I have someone near me on craigslist who can supply a large starter colony based on what I feed weekly. Should I trust them to put together a good colony, or should I attempt to buy a certain amount of young, MM and MF?

Thank you for the input
 

EulersK

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I think I'm going to start breeding dubias. Wanted to get some tips because I know a few of you breed them. Had a couple questions.

My T room is kept at 80 degrees. I know dubia need to be kept warm, will I need extra heat? Maybe a red heat light? Or is 80 good?

I'm solid on feeding, not worried about that at all. But as far as substrate I've seen both it used and not used, what would you recommend? If they require humidity I can see it being much easier with substrate.

Size/type of enclosure? I have a spare 20 long I can use, I know they can't climb glass, but what about plastic? Thought maybe a large rubber made tub but can they climb that material?

I have someone near me on craigslist who can supply a large starter colony based on what I feed weekly. Should I trust them to put together a good colony, or should I attempt to buy a certain amount of young, MM and MF?

Thank you for the input
@Hisserdude, this is up your alley. Feel free to fill in the gaps I miss :D

You'll want a heat mat, yes. I believe that they can't breed unless it's over 85-90F. I can't comment on the heat light, though. I wouldn't recommend any substrate at all, it's just unneeded. Once your colony gets large enough, their substrate will simply be the frass (the feces), which you can then sell for a profit! They do not require any additional humidity, although they desiccate very quickly. Never have an empty water dish, even for a few hours. I keep mine in plastic Sterilite containers. So long as the sides are smooth, then they can't climb them. I never plan on "upgrading" to a glass aquarium. You'll need to clean these monthly (more often when the colony grows), and aquariums are heavy and easily broken. They could also climb the corners, where there is silicone connecting the glass panes.

For food, I'd recommend unmedicated chick feed. Not chicken feed, chick feed. Supplement with citrus high in vitamin C and your colony will explode. I prefer to primarily feed dry food as it A) keeps their feces dry and B) has zero chance of attracting mites, flies, or any other uninvited guests.
 

Tenevanica

Arachnodemon
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There's a nice forum that focuses entirely on insects and other invertebrates located here. Many of us Arachnoboards users are quick to forget that it exists, but I assure you that you'll be much more likely to get help if you post things in the correct sub-forums ;)

As for your questions, they will breed and grow at 80 degrees, though for maximum production, you can raise the temperature all the way up to 95 if you prefer. Substrate is unneeded and only promotes the growth of mold and fungus gnats. The roach's frass and exuvia will eventually pile up and make a nice organic substrate that also happens to be a good fertilizer if you're into gardening. A 20 gallon terrarium could easily hold 2,000+ individuals. They can't climb plastic, though if the plastic is scratched or dirty they may be able to get a slight foothold. Still, they're easy to contain. Really, you can start with any amount of roaches you want. You can seed a colony of thousands with just 10 individuals, though you'll be up and running faster if you start with larger individuals and more of them.

Like Eulers did, I'm gonna tag @Hisserdude, as he's an invaluable source for roach information. He also only hangs out in the insects sub-forum, so any future roach questions should go here: http://arachnoboards.com/forums/insects-other-invertebrates-arthropods.18/ (There, I mentioned it twice!)
 

magicmed

Arachnobaron
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Jun 4, 2016
Messages
403
There's a nice forum that focuses entirely on insects and other invertebrates located here. Many of us Arachnoboards users are quick to forget that it exists, but I assure you that you'll be much more likely to get help if you post things in the correct sub-forums ;)

As for your questions, they will breed and grow at 80 degrees, though for maximum production, you can raise the temperature all the way up to 95 if you prefer. Substrate is unneeded and only promotes the growth of mold and fungus gnats. The roach's frass and exuvia will eventually pile up and make a nice organic substrate that also happens to be a good fertilizer if you're into gardening. A 20 gallon terrarium could easily hold 2,000+ individuals. They can't climb plastic, though if the plastic is scratched or dirty they may be able to get a slight foothold. Still, they're easy to contain. Really, you can start with any amount of roaches you want. You can seed a colony of thousands with just 10 individuals, though you'll be up and running faster if you start with larger individuals and more of them.

Like Eulers did, I'm gonna tag @Hisserdude, as he's an invaluable source for roach information. He also only hangs out in the insects sub-forum, so any future roach questions should go here: http://arachnoboards.com/forums/insects-other-invertebrates-arthropods.18/ (There, I mentioned it twice!)
Thank for the info. I actually really did consider posting in the other inverts section, I think I just made the decision to post here because I know you guys better and knew some like EulersK bred roaches, sorry about that bad call
 

Tenevanica

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I must also add that the key to breeding Blaptica dubia (or any blaberid for that matter) is heat and fruit. Try feeding your colony oranges for a week. A month later, you can watch the baby boom right before your eyes!
 

EulersK

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I must also add that the key to breeding Blaptica dubia (or any blaberid for that matter) is heat and fruit. Try feeding your colony oranges for a week. A month later, you can watch the baby boom right before your eyes!
Agreed. I couldn't believe how many babies I had just after a couple weeks of feeding oranges. I wish I had known that when I started my colony! I fed nothing but chick feed to begin with, and I didn't have a viable colony for about 6 months. Had I done oranges, I likely would have cut that time in half.


Thank for the info. I actually really did consider posting in the other inverts section, I think I just made the decision to post here because I know you guys better and knew some like EulersK bred roaches, sorry about that bad call
Tenevanica can back me up when I say that they are very friendly over there. Like, ridiculously so. Tarantulas bite, roaches don't. Perhaps that's why there such a difference in personalities between keepers :D
 

cold blood

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I keep mine in a sterilite tub...I don't heat them, although the bin is kept next to my space heater, so when its cool, the heater keeps them warm. My room is generally about 80 and I have had no issue with breeding. I don't use substrate and don't use water. I keep a base of cheaper dog kibble and add apples (no skin), potatoes, carrots and oranges and occasionally I throw in some kale or lettuce. All my food has moisture in it, so I don't worry about having water available.

IMO unless you have a decent size collection...like over 40 specimens...keeping dubias just won't be worth it unless you plan to sell them.
 

magicmed

Arachnobaron
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Agreed. I couldn't believe how many babies I had just after a couple weeks of feeding oranges. I wish I had known that when I started my colony! I fed nothing but chick feed to begin with, and I didn't have a viable colony for about 6 months. Had I done oranges, I likely would have cut that time in half.




Tenevanica can back me up when I say that they are very friendly over there. Like, ridiculously so. Tarantulas bite, roaches don't. Perhaps that's why there such a difference in personalities between keepers :D
I've actually found you guys to be very friendly and welcoming. A lot of the reptile forums I've been on a lot of members have an elite attitude like they are the only ones worthy of what they keep haha. I've really enjoyed reading and communicating a lot here, I'm not scared to ask a question like some forums can make you feel.
 

Hisserdude

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Thanks @Tenevanica and @EulersK for tagging me, you guys pretty much covered everything. :)

However, just wanted to say that dry foods like chick feed actually can attract mites easily if there are leftovers and the cage is humid, and even if it is relatively dry. The most common mite species in a breeder's enclosure, grain mites, are pests of stored food after all. Just keep your cage as dry as you can without killing the roaches, keep the tub well ventilated, and only feed them as much food as they will eat before it spoils, and you shouldn't have too much trouble where grain mite explosions are concerned.

Other than that seems like you all got it covered, fruit should be fed often as it promotes reproduction in live bearing roaches, a substrate is not needed for this species, plastic tubs make great containers for breeding roaches, and they can technically breed at room temperatures but if you want to use them as feeders the ambient temps should be around 85 Fahrenheit, etc.
 

magicmed

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I keep mine in a sterilite tub...I don't heat them, although the bin is kept next to my space heater, so when its cool, the heater keeps them warm. My room is generally about 80 and I have had no issue with breeding. I don't use substrate and don't use water. I keep a base of cheaper dog kibble and add apples (no skin), potatoes, carrots and oranges and occasionally I throw in some kale or lettuce. All my food has moisture in it, so I don't worry about having water available.

IMO unless you have a decent size collection...like over 40 specimens...keeping dubias just won't be worth it unless you plan to sell them.
Good info! I just know im going to keep on going with T's, I see more I want all the time and knowing me I'm going to try my hand at breeding after I get some more experience in me. Not only that but I figured I could switch the bearded dragon to roaches instead of supers and crix for his protein, it's healthier for him anyway and he's getting to the age where crix are getting tough to catch. Plus, profit is always tempting. Just figured I'd get a jump start on it
 

cold blood

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Good info! I just know im going to keep on going with T's, I see more I want all the time and knowing me I'm going to try my hand at breeding after I get some more experience in me. Not only that but I figured I could switch the bearded dragon to roaches instead of supers and crix for his protein, it's healthier for him anyway and he's getting to the age where crix are getting tough to catch. Plus, profit is always tempting. Just figured I'd get a jump start on it
Then do it, I wouldn't worry about buying a larger starter, as a quickly booming colony isn't probably what you want or need. I will say I resisted for a long time and only got them because when I gave a local guy some free slings, he brought me an H. gigas sling and a small starter colony....but having them, they're pretty interesting and I kinda like them.

One thing I notice is the massive sized bolus that an adult roach leaves...easy to find, but remove them quickly because its a lot of waste compared to a cricket.
 
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EulersK

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Good info! I just know im going to keep on going with T's, I see more I want all the time and knowing me I'm going to try my hand at breeding after I get some more experience in me. Not only that but I figured I could switch the bearded dragon to roaches instead of supers and crix for his protein, it's healthier for him anyway and he's getting to the age where crix are getting tough to catch. Plus, profit is always tempting. Just figured I'd get a jump start on it
All of my repeat customers are owners of bearded dragons. I've never owned one, but they're apparently garbage disposals.
 

Ellenantula

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All of my repeat customers are owners of bearded dragons. I've never owned one, but they're apparently garbage disposals.
Oh -- they are. lol Mine could eat 35 adult roaches easily in a sitting. Don't know how they pack 'em in, but I have to count them out now mine has gotten a teensy bit obese. :( I'm trying to push more veggies.

I breed B lats, not dubias; but I keep mine on top of upright freezer that has outer coils -- keeps my bin warm without needing UTH/external heating element.
 

magicmed

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All of my repeat customers are owners of bearded dragons. I've never owned one, but they're apparently garbage disposals.
Oh they are, when young they can tear through 50 crickets in a day. Older ones dont require as much protein, it's about 80% salad 20% protein. But even at that my 7 year old gets about 30 worms/ crickets a week, and sometimes he's flat out stubborn and refuses salad until he gets a nice steak.
 

Tenevanica

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I breed B lats, not dubias; but I keep mine on top of upright freezer that has outer coils -- keeps my bin warm without needing UTH/external heating element.
I'm in a similar boat. I don't breed dubias anymore, I keep lobster roaches as a feeder. I don't heat the bin. They breed fast enough at room temperature as it is and I don't have a huge T collection.

Tenevanica can back me up when I say that they are very friendly over there. Like, ridiculously so. Tarantulas bite, roaches don't. Perhaps that's why there such a difference in personalities between keepers :D
Yeah, it's pretty crazy what the difference is between the insect people and the tarantula people. I kind of like @EulersK's theory as to why that is, but who knows the actual reason.
 

crlovel

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I have 47 tarantulas and started my first roach colony a month or two ago - orange heads (Eublaberus Posticus). They give live birth, easy to keep, a little more feisty than dubias. Non-climbers. I give them Colony Builder diet and jelly water. They don't lay eggs, they're live bearers. Babies have been popping out left and right, but still not fast enough to make me happy.

A few weeks ago, I inadvertently dumped a few hundred dubias in with them. Everyone got along, no one was eaten (that I know of), and today while cleaning the Orange Head colony I separated them into another Sterilite bin with a fresh dubia colony I just started yesterday with about 1300 young roaches. I don't sell the roach poo; it gets dumped into the lawn.

As others have noted, I know a few people with Bearded Dragons that I sell excess adult males to for 25 cents each.
 

Tygarys

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Here is a dumb question. I have been thinking about doing this and have several unused plastic sterilite totes that I can convert, but what are you using for heat? I don't have a separate room and a space heater is out of the question. Would a small heat mat work with the plastic totes?
 

Tenevanica

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Here is a dumb question. I have been thinking about doing this and have several unused plastic sterilite totes that I can convert, but what are you using for heat? I don't have a separate room and a space heater is out of the question. Would a small heat mat work with the plastic totes?
I've used heat mats with plastic totes before without issue, but it really depends on the thickness and the type of plastic. Personally, I use a mixture of heat lamps and reptile heat cable to heat my roach enclosures, though in the summer my rearing room gets warm enough for most of the species I keep to breed without external heat. The winter is tough on my roaches though, so I'm trying to find ways to heat all my enclosures as well.
 

REEFSPIDER

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Here is a dumb question. I have been thinking about doing this and have several unused plastic sterilite totes that I can convert, but what are you using for heat? I don't have a separate room and a space heater is out of the question. Would a small heat mat work with the plastic totes?
UTH can be used slap it right onto the tub on the side. This way there is a hot and cold gradient in the tub. This method with vertical egg crates provide an ample enviornment for the colony. If your room is 85 I would just let them ride. But heat can bring on quicker life cycles and new growth in the colony faster.
 

shining

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Everyone covered everything I just wanted to add one thing if you are going to use that 20 long. Dubias can climb silicon.
 
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