Discoid roach Male to Female ratio question( and my story of utter failure so far)

14pokies

Arachnoprince
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Oct 25, 2014
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I have a colony of discoid roaches that have been wimpering along for the last 6 months or so.. I say wimpering because the amount of losses I have sustained and the number of new nymphs I produce isn't enough to keep a sustainable food source for my tarantulas going..

I had been keeping them as recommended high heat, low to mid 80's and humid a nice variety of vegetables oranges and crumbled cat or dog food allways available.. I had mold that killed about half the original colony close to 50 adults- sub adults and who knows how many nymphs.. It was a fine layer underneath the egg crates so it was hard to notice untill it was too late..
With mold being a problem after cleaning the enclosure I increased ventilation and introduced about 30 new adults both male and female.. Over the course of a month or so I lost close to 20 do to bad molts.. I'm assuming because of the temps staying high while decreasing humidity..

So I said F Word I'm doing it different.. I dropped the ambient temps to low 70s ( average temp of my house) and threw a small piece of flexx watt heat tape underneath the enclosure set to 78 just to provide some rising heat up into the egg crates.. I removed all dry food and water gel and now only offer a whole skinned carrot daily as both there source of food and hydration ,occasionally they get an orange and a hand full of high quality un-dyed fish flakes 1x - 2x a week..
I have been keeping them like this for the last two months and they are doing great so far. I'm finally seeing healthy looking fat nymphs of various sizes scattered about and I can't remeber the last time I pulled out a dead roach. I'm getting fast growth rates and the roaches are holding great weight and I'm also not getting failed molts anymore.. I'm not claiming succes just yet but it's looking better ;)

So onto my main question.. By eyeball I would say I have close to 60 adults and at least half are males.. Should I pull out most of the males and feed them off? I have a ton of Ts that would love a big fat adult male so thinning them isn't a problem..
I have heard ratios of one male to every three females, one to five.. Etc.. But I also have heard these roaches like it hot and moist and that hasn't shown to be true.
So if any of you have kept and bred them and know of a good ratio let me know please..

I like the idea of having a decent amount of males to feed off to whatever T I choose whenever so thinning them out drastically in one shot isn't something I want to do unless it will benefit the colony.. I don't see any nipped antennas so I don't think over crowding is an issue. I just want to keep this colony healthy and producing. So lf you have had succes breeding this species in particular please drop a comment on what you think I should do.. Leave the males or throw them to the wolves:vamp:! Thanks..
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
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It depends, if you have a large amount of territory for them to claim a half/half ratio ...can... (and I stress the maybe in that can) work. As long as they breed and the males don't get nippy with other males or the females you will likely be ok. They are a blaptica species (related to dubia) so a 3-4 ratio of female to male (so 3-4 females to 1 male) is probably your best bet, along with plenty of space and territory for the males to claim (this is how I have kept my dubias and related species for a long time). If you notice a lot of growth lately but large amount of death in adults quicker than it should be, it shows your protein levels are too high because discoids and almost all tropical roach species (especially blaptica) create a large amount of uric acid crystals when introduced to high protein levels on a regular basis (this is because they prefer to eat vegetation in the wild (fruit and foliage) and only eat protein to help with birthing honestly) and they can't excrete it, which causes death quickly compared to what it should be. It does create a faster growing colony, but a quicker death for all adults. Since you aren't feeding reptiles I don't think you have to worry about gout with T's.

As far as keeping them hot and moist, this is true, but you also have to have plenty of airflow. My dubias have a huge opening in the top of the bin, with bug screening attached. But they are on a flexwatt heat pad that is one a thermostat. How were you heating them before? I don't use water gels ever... there is not point, veggies and fruit offer plenty of water for their moisture part of their diet and offer healthier vitamins and minerals also.
 

14pokies

Arachnoprince
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@Andee I had been using a small heating lamp towards the end of the cage.. It was 25W so I didn't think it would dry things out too much but I think it did. It's gone now and will never come back! Lol.

I have never heard of them not being able to process much protien so I will keep that in mind for sure..

They have plenty of ventilation and at these lower temps seem to be doing good so far..

Thanks for the info man..
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
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Jul 1, 2013
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Yeah idk why but I have had issues even with low wattage ceramic heat emitters/bulbs (though I don't use bulbs for roaches) with all my heat loving insects. If you use air temp things (like bulbs) they can cause drying out and therefore poor molts with all insects.I use ceramic heat emitters instead of bulbs because they don't have as extreme of a "basking point" compared to any bulb, but they do radiate heat, it's closer to a UTH (though still have the ability to dry them out easier than uth). My FlexWatt UTH is mounted on the side and only takes up... 1/3 of the side of the bin so the roaches can regulate themselves easily. And the thermostat is never not used. Otherwise I have things like fruit and veggies that are given fresh daily (only enough that will be eaten within a 24 hour period) that give off some moisture. I also have a cleaner crew of beetles so I don't have to worry about mold at all ^^
 

Hisserdude

Arachnoking
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They are a blaptica species (related to dubia)
Actually, Discoids are not Blaptica, they are in the genus Blaberus, their scientific name is Blaberus discoidalis, (though many "Discoid" stocks now are B.fusca x B.craniifer hybrids). :) They are both in the Subfamily Blaberinae, so they are still pretty closely related.

Also, many keepers have been feeding their Blaberids dog food as a staple diet, with fruits and veggies as a supplement, (me included), and they haven't noticed any adverse affects or shorter adult lifespans, in fact I've been rearing Blaberus atropos, a very close relative to B.discoidalis on mostly dog food, and my adults are over 12 months old now, which is two months longer than the normal maximum life span for this species.
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
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Depending on the gender of discoids I would expect adult males to average around 12 months, and females to average around 16-24 months as a lot of caresheets say. But there seems to be a lot that say 1 year is average for all discoids and 16-24 months is average for them (which would be more what I'd expect). Females generally live longer than males in all roach species. https://dubiaroachdepot.com/guidance/dubia-roaches-dietary-protein

I mean I have a dubia female (because I have fed an 18% protein diet of only veggies/greens and a small amount of high protein nuts/seeds/grains) that she has lived passed what is expected for a female and is 2 1/2 years old. I recognize her because of a scar she carried on her back where her wing bud was eaten and her actual... meat underneath was exposed. She healed well but she is the only one with this bad of damage that I have ever had. I think the reason there is an average life for certain species and it is so low, is because people feed them constantly high protein diets. It's not good for them.
 

Hisserdude

Arachnoking
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Depending on the gender of discoids I would expect adult males to average around 12 months, and females to average around 16-24 months as a lot of caresheets say. But there seems to be a lot that say 1 year is average for all discoids and 16-24 months is average for them (which would be more what I'd expect). Females generally live longer than males in all roach species. https://dubiaroachdepot.com/guidance/dubia-roaches-dietary-protein

I mean I have a dubia female (because I have fed an 18% protein diet of only veggies/greens and a small amount of high protein nuts/seeds/grains) that she has lived passed what is expected for a female and is 2 1/2 years old. I recognize her because of a scar she carried on her back where her wing bud was eaten and her actual... meat underneath was exposed. She healed well but she is the only one with this bad of damage that I have ever had. I think the reason there is an average life for certain species and it is so low, is because people feed them constantly high protein diets. It's not good for them.
Hmm, somehow I think those estimates are a little inaccurate, in rare cases they may live that long, but even people I know who feed their roaches mostly fruits and veggies haven't reported B.discoidalis lifespans quite that long...

Nice, that's one long lived dubia! :astonished: I once had a male hisser that lived over 3 years in my care, I got him when he was quite old though, so his total adult lifespan was probably over 4 years, and I fed him mostly dog food.

I know that there is a huge amount of controversy on the subject right now, and I'm not trying to discourage you from feeding your roaches mostly fruits and veggies, do whatever works for you! :) All I'm saying is that I have had adults of several species that have lived to or over the normal maximum lifespan of their species, and I use dog food as their staple diets, (with fruits offered to certain Blaberids that don't reproduce well without them, like Panchlora, Corydidarum, Paranauphoeta and Gyna).
 

Andee

Arachnobaron
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I agree high protein diets are definitely needed for certain roach species and definitely certain crickets species like.... I think they are called gryllus sp. (as the broader term for the species not going into the different subspecies, also known as black field crickets over here) they need high protein and do best with larger enclosure because males are severely aggressive and will cannibalize each other even worse than most species. I know the uric acid stuff isn't the ONLY way reptiles get gout (pretty sure that isn't an issue with T's so it's not something to worry about with them so I am not saying to worry about this, but I raise reptiles so it's why I avoid it) I know they can get secondary gout for dehydration and various other things.

With species of roaches I think it's just about being careful and being aware of what you are feeding (especially if you aren't feeding a reptile), I think something that is balanced, with healthy veggie and some dry maybe lower protein but still higher quality dog food... (the dog food would still be higher protein easily than a lot of bug chows), I think it's all about being careful and aware of your feeders and their health and etc. Just like it is with anything else ^^ At the moment I expect my scarred up girl to die soon. I see her regularly, but she's far passed prime breeding age, she's no longer getting pregnant, at least not regularly, but she will be well cared for just like everyone else who gets old in my colonies. She also is getting kind of slow... kind of not trying to avoid me as much and such, but she's still eating well. I love the heck out of her, and will likely allow her to feed the cleaner crew once she dies. I find it odd getting attached so much to one roach in my 1000+ feeder colony. But she just keeps trucking. I mean when I realized she was as beat up as she was. I seperated and kept her in a small enclosure with a couple small nymphs (just so she felt safe) and kept her dark with some honey smeared on an orange. Once she healed and seemed to have perked up, I put her back.
 

14pokies

Arachnoprince
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Oct 25, 2014
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Well just an update.. I ended up taking out about 8 males since making this thread and kept up with the cool temps no water and just fresh fruits and vegetables. Today I decided to remove more males close to 15 and while digging around I found hundreds of nyphs of various sizes.. So for me the cooler temps and less humidity are working great so far. I don't know if having fewer males makes a difference but I will continue to periodically thin them out further.
 
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