Caring for Blaberus...

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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so i've had this batch since early spring, mixed B.craniifer and B.discoidalis...for 4~5 months, the colony never seemed to take off, but i do see more adults. the problem is, i find about 2~3 dead adults each day, for a colony that has maybe like 50-60 adults over all. is it suppose to be like this or am i doing something wrong? they seem to eat well and i feed them dry food and fruit/veggie, with a good water source. should i increase the level of humidity? thanks guys...
 

bugmankeith

Arachnoking
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Mabye they are too crowded, or need more protein (cooked hamburger meat)

You could gently mist once a day with water for added humidity and another source of fresh water.
 

Aquanut

Arachnosquire
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That seems like a lot of mortality, i was finding a few each week and i had at least 500 adults, probably from old age since i;d had the colony for several years. Your feeding seems fine, the protein angle seems worth checking, but i wouldn't think they would be dieing, just poorer health and maybe wing biting. I like water crystals for water source since it wont get foul or grow nasty stuff in it. Whats your heat situation?
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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I just keep them around room temp, about 78~80 degrees or so. i use water crystal too, and they are not very crowded at all, i have a 20 gal tank full of glued egg cartons stacked together, just for a colony that small. i'll check on the protein and humidity thing though...i feed them cat food for the dry food part. thanks guys.
 

Aquanut

Arachnosquire
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I would go closer to 85 degrees to be more productive, but those temps shouldn't cause deaths. Personally i dont worry about humidity, i live in the high desert with low humidity and don't have any problems. I know many will disagree on this point (i have have discoids and had dubias)
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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hmm...how often do you clean the enclosure? does it have to be kept super clean? I clean them about every two weeks...
 

Aquanut

Arachnosquire
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maybe twice a year. Although it sounds disgusting it doesnt seem to be a problem. The little ones like to hang out in the frass. I usually only clean when i sort out to sell some off. I dont believe that would be an issue.
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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those pine bedding thin chips...that's usually used for like rodents and stuff.
 

james

Arachnobaron
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blaberus

I use a mixture of sphagnum moss and vermiculite. Blaberus do like wamer temps and will breed better with them. They will survive at your temps and breed some, but not as fast. Remember where these species range from. They flourish in Florida, Mexico, and South America. I feed mine apples, oranges, and carrots along with a blend of dry food. Mixing blaberus species is never a good ideal because they will interbreed. If the die offs are adults it could very well be males. Male craniifer do not live very long after molting into adults.
James
www.blaberus.com
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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how about keeping them in a shaded place outside? would it be too hot when it gets to the 100's? and would airborne pesticides be a problem?
 

harrypei

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sorry for bring this up again...it's summer now and they cage seems to attract more and more scuttle flies...very annoying to say at least. i look and remove dead ones pretty much daily...whats your method of keeping the flies away from the roach cages? thanks...
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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no input guys? i remove unfinished fresh food daily and clean out dead ones daily...how come there are still a lot of flies...it's really frustrating...
 

Cheshire

Arachnoking
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Here's what you're going to love...the answer to your question is whiskey and cigarettes.

Mix a tall shot of whisky and half a cigarette into a shot glass and leave somewhere close to the tank (within five feet preferably), but not somewhere it could possibly get to the roaches.

This will attract the adults and take care of them.

Next, you need to figure out where they are breeding. Make sure they're scuttle flies and not phorid flies (many threads here on the boards). The former are scavengers, the latter are semi-parasitic.

Phorid flies don't really care whether or not what they lay their eggs on are dead or alive.

Inspect your roaches for eggs (again, search the boards) and use a Q tip to wipe them off.

What are you using for substrate?

Is it kept dry or moist?

I keep my blaberus hybrids (craniiferXdiscoidXfusca and possibly gigantea) in a 10 gallon tank furnished with egg crates and paper towel rolls with an inch thick layer of dry cocobark (bed-a-beast, etc) on the bottom. There is a 60 watt heat lamp over the top of it with the 'bug lights' you can find at Wal*Mart for heat.

Since I went to that setup about a month or two ago, my colony went from taking a week to eat an entire apple to taking about half a day to eat an entire apple. I haven't attempted to count them.

I also keep B. dubia in there with them.
 

harrypei

Arachnoknight
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thanks for the long reply. I'm pretty sure these are not the phorid flies that were introduced here to kill fire ants, as I haven't seen any eggs laid on anything that's alive. I use aspen shavings for substrate now but do plan to switch to peat next time I clean out the entire cage. I keep them in the garage, which faces the east, so it's not as brutal in the afternoon versus one that faces the west in the Texas heat. It's still pretty hot in there though. And I keep them pretty dry. Any obvious problems you see with this setup?
 

Cheshire

Arachnoking
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thanks for the long reply. I'm pretty sure these are not the phorid flies that were introduced here to kill fire ants, as I haven't seen any eggs laid on anything that's alive. I use aspen shavings for substrate now but do plan to switch to peat next time I clean out the entire cage. I keep them in the garage, which faces the east, so it's not as brutal in the afternoon versus one that faces the west in the Texas heat. It's still pretty hot in there though. And I keep them pretty dry. Any obvious problems you see with this setup?

Actually, phorid flies can come in with shipments of crickets. I've had problems with phorid flies that came in with crickets.

I'd move the cage inside, if you can and see if you can't figure out where the flies are breeding.

Pantyhose will keep them from getting in. Pantyhose will keep them from getting out, as well so try to physically kill every one you can find. Or use the whiskey/cigarette combo in a tall glass vase inside the cage so the roaches can't climb up.

Make sure your roaches can't get into the whiskey/cigarette combo because it will kill them, as well.
 
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