Can anybody recomend me a roach feeder species?

ScorpDude

Arachnoangel
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Mar 27, 2004
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I'm looking for a feeder species that fits into these "guidelines":

- Won't ever outgrow a leopard gecko (eg even the adults aren't too big for a leo)
- Can't climb
- Can't fly
- Don't infest in a UK climate
- Don't smell
- Relatively easy to breed.

Any suggestions, also where can I get the suggested species in the UK?

Thanks
Dan
 

Cheshire

Arachnoking
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The smallest climbing species that I know of is B. lateralis, and those can infest your house.

I haven't had very good luck with B. dubia. My adults have been adult for ~2 months and they haven't started producing nymphs yet. I've had better luck with B. discoidales, but those are way too big for what you want.

I've been tearing the climbing pads off of lobster roaches to transform them into non climbers.

B. fumigata is a great little feeder roach, but the adults are still a little on the big side.

My vote goes to lobsters, even though they climb.
 

Cheshire

Arachnoking
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How you do that?
I simply tear off the tarsi before feeding them off.

They won't dig and seem to be slower from the hemolymph/whatever their blood is called loss.

The only downside is that they can't climb out of water dishes, so I've been experimenting with leaving one or two pads on.

No word on that, yet.
 
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Takumaku

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The Egyptian desert roach (Polyphaga aegyptiaca) will fit that bill. Adult length: 24-33mm. They are extremely slow growing, so I wouldn't recommend them as feeders unless you have lots of them.

B. fumigata adult length:32-45mm will fit that bill 80% of the time.


Basically, I can't think of anything that stays small and won't climb and/or won't infest and/or is not an extremely slow grower.
 

siliconthoughts

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Feb 27, 2004
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I had essentially the same list of requirements and ended up with Discoids. They don't meet the first requirement, as they do get too big for my leopards, but they meet all the others. I was concerned about the size initially, but getting rid of excess adults has so far proven to be relatively easy. Whenever I hit about 50 more adults than I need I post an ad and within a day or two they are spoken for.

Adult male Blaptica dubia are small enough for an adult leopard gecko to handle, (mine show a distinct preference for them over juveniles) but the females are too large. Again, getting rid of excess adult B. dubia females is not a problem in practice.

I chose to compromise on the size, since I'd much rather sell off, give away, or euthanize extra adults than put up with the hassle of climbers (or mutilate feeders). I'm very wary of lateralis, their life history seems way too conducive to infestation, and there have been a few well publicized cases of it in California.
 

Mechanical-Mind

Arachnoknight
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As Joe stated, Lobsters don't exactly fit your requirements, but I would press you to reconsider as well. Without going into lengthy explanations, climbing roaches simply aren't as bad as they're made out to be. With the right enclosure for your colony (really, just a climbing barrier and quality lid), as well as attention and respect, they're 100% controllable.

On the other hand...

B. dubia fits your bill all the way. I don't think it should really matter whether or not the adult size is too large for your geckos. I rarely, if ever, feed off adults out of any of my colonies. Let the adults do what they do best and use the young and sub-adults of the right size for feeders. The disadvantage I always feel by comparison to lobsters is that B. dubia simply don't reproduce as quickly.

I would say B. discoidalis is a negative because they also don't really churn out significant numbers of offspring without supplemental heating (IME, of course).

The last thing I'll throw out there is the issue of smell. I haven't heard of any species of roach or even invertebrate that doesn't generate some kind of smell when packed together in a single enclosure. It would seem that a stench to one person is an aroma to the next, and the third may not even pick up on it. The nice things are that, you're probably going to adjust and get used to any smell; you can always be a neat-freak and clean up all the frass and soiled climbing material every week/month/year; and you can always do both and store your colony in an area of a room or living space that you access less frequently.

Regards,
-Matt

Edit: Every time climbing species comes up with hobbyists new to roaches, it seems they already have the preconceived notion that species like N. cinerea and B. lateralis run like the wind, are going to get out, infest your homes, kill the neighbors cat, and cause a international panic. The fact is that if you're paying attention to what you're doing, you're NOT going to have any problems. That means don't place nymphs in cages with ventilation holes that are large enough for them to wiggle through. Likewise, don't feed your adult females off, because if they're not eaten right-quick, expect to see some young moving around in your Scorp's or T's enclosure. Use tongs, work on a broad, clear table, and perhaps it helps to crush several limbs or the head of the roach before feeding, depending on the situation at hand. Anyway, just a few things to keep in mind - adios.
 
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Rizzolo

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i agree about dubia. they reproduce nicely once established. much less maintenance than lateralis. little or no smell, and not offensive in any way. just feed the nymphs.

however, i do love my lateralis and disagree about the infestation. i am not sure about your local weather, but if it gets cool in the winter, you will not have a problem. i live in the SF bay area, probably a little warmer than you but not much, and i seriously doubt they could infest. there is reportedly one place in california where they are established, but it is significantly hotter than where you or i live. i had a massive escape from my lateralis enclosure (about a week ago - totally my mistake- and i was such a huge bummer), and now, not quite a week later, i have mopped up the last of them. the gravitate back to the warmth of the enclosure.

i am going to begin to sound like a broken record, but i strongly believe in using a boric acid barrier around the enclosures, that way anything that escapes has a death sentence. if they cross the boric acid, they will die. otherwise it is completely innocuous and will NOT accidentally get into your colonies and kill everything. even with dubias, who climb much less than lateralis, the males get onto the lid (on the screen) and then escape every once i a while when i take the lid off. every month or so, i find a dried up on in the boric acid.

the problem i have with the lateralis is moisture. i have to add moisture to the dubias to keep them a little humid generally pretty dry here), but with the lateralis the container ends up dripping with moisture - i guess it is from their metabolism combined with the evaporation from the vegies i feed them. i can use an open top, or screened top, enclosure because it is too cool here. i am going to have to hook up a little ventilation fan (CPU fan maybe) to keep air moving through the colony. i love how they reproduce and eat though. it is very satisfying. however, now i am going to have give them away in massive quantities or euthanize them.

good luck
 

OldHag

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Im selling my colony of B. lateralis http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=86583 :D They dont climb, so unless you knock over their enclosure they wont get out and infest your house.
The adults are perfect for leos! I feed them to mine all the time. I just prefer the B dubia and have so many of them, I forgot about my lateralis and well......now Im selling them.
 

Rizzolo

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lateralis don't climb?

lateralis don't climb very well, but they do climb and the males can jump a fair ways. depending on what you are using for an enclosure, they can scale the sides once a little dirt collects on them. i have large rubbermaid container, and over time i guess it has gotten enough texture (or maybe it's just the condensation), that they can climb all the way up. also, recently had a mass escape of lateralis, because i put a different top on the crate and the egg crates got too close to the top, about 3 inches. the problem was that the screen was too large where the heat lamp sits. the males probably hopped up, but the others had to climb all the way up the sides, and then along the bottom of the top to the hole where the screen was. i just assumed that they could not get to the hole, so the screen size would not matter. within about 8 hours, about 500-1000 made their escape. that was one of the worst experiences!!!! the only good thing was that most of them stuck around the enclosure, due to the warmth i guess. also, my wife did not find out (yet), otherwise it would have been bye-bye roaches!
 
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