Roaches as feed for T's: Hiding in the substrate.

DubiaW

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
471
This is my first post here so I am going to give you a little background. In the future I will try to keep it shorter.

I've recenly started a colony of Blaptica dubia and Gromphadorhina portentosa to feed my T's. I started back into the pet hobby by accident when my neighbor who was an avid keeper came to my house one day with a small stack of deli containers and clear plastic shoe box. His wife had just had a baby and he couldn't keep them anymore. He shoved the stack into my hands and rattled off some latin names and promised to come back with more as well as a starter colony of B. dubia for feeding. They were all housed with coconut husk and peat moss and there were B. dubia nymphs burrowed into the substrate. He never wrote down the latin names for me and never returned with anything else. I started feeding them crickets but wanted to eventually start a roach colony like he had. As the slings grew I was able to identify them during the rehousing process and found out what I had expected all along. My neighbor had given me a handful of aggressive, reclusive and atractive T's that were not suitable for beginers: Poecilotheria ornata, Psalmopoeus irminia, and Stromatopelma calceatum. This isn't a problem since I used to keep venomous snakes and worked in a venom lab/serpentarium in college. Having been bitten by a sidewinder once there just isn't anything in the world of T's that makes me that nervous.

I switched from crickets to roaches a few months back and to my excitement found that a roach colony is insainly easy and cheep to maintain. I started feeding my T's roaches but due to the reclusive nature of the species I only saw them eat a few times. When I was rehousing my male P. irmina I was distressed to find that almost all the roaches that I had dropped into his enclosure were still alive and well, burried in the coconut husk substrate. This promted me to rehouse all of my T's to see who was eating and who wasn't. Luckily the rest of them had eaten most of the roaches but there were a lot that had burried themselves in the coconut fiber substrate. (I had also provided crickets when my roach colony dwindled so everything was ok). I had collected a few Hadrurus arizoniensis and Aphonopelma chalcodes locally and housed them in a mix of local decomposed granit sand and coconut fiber. Not a single roach had burried themselves in this mixture. It retains moisture nearly the same as coconut fiber but the roaches cannot dig in as easily as they did before. I also made the substrate shallower (resulting in a higher need for misting for the tropical species). I gave the P. ornata and S. calceatum locally collected cholla wood hides to make up for the shallow substrate and they use them. P. irmina turned his plastic plants into a silk home as he always has. I also have a Scolopendra subspinipes housed with the same mix, just a little lighter on the granit sand because he can dig the roaches up. No problems with digging roaches anymore, just the occaisonal hisser that hangs off the lid like a cat over a swimming pool as my S. subspinipes prowls.

Everything seems to be going fine but I am concerned about my tropical species and considering moving away from roaches as T food so I can go back to coconut husk and peat moss. Has anyone else ran into this problem with roaches and what solutions have you come up with to overcome it?
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
Just crush the heads, mate. I'm personally fond of cutting the heads off, as they kick for literally days after doing so.

Crushing the head keeps them from burrowing, but they can still wander around the enclosure. But it's quite a but quicker than cutting. Cutting, however, simply makes them kick... they never actually move around. Choose your flavor.
 

DrowsyLids

Arachnosquire
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
95
This is my first post here so I am going to give you a little background. In the future I will try to keep it shorter.

I've recenly started a colony of Blaptica dubia and Gromphadorhina portentosa to feed my T's. I started back into the pet hobby by accident when my neighbor who was an avid keeper came to my house one day with a small stack of deli containers and clear plastic shoe box. His wife had just had a baby and he couldn't keep them anymore. He shoved the stack into my hands and rattled off some latin names and promised to come back with more as well as a starter colony of B. dubia for feeding. They were all housed with coconut husk and peat moss and there were B. dubia nymphs burrowed into the substrate. He never wrote down the latin names for me and never returned with anything else. I started feeding them crickets but wanted to eventually start a roach colony like he had. As the slings grew I was able to identify them during the rehousing process and found out what I had expected all along. My neighbor had given me a handful of aggressive, reclusive and atractive T's that were not suitable for beginers: Poecilotheria ornata, Psalmopoeus irminia, and Stromatopelma calceatum. This isn't a problem since I used to keep venomous snakes and worked in a venom lab/serpentarium in college. Having been bitten by a sidewinder once there just isn't anything in the world of T's that makes me that nervous.

I switched from crickets to roaches a few months back and to my excitement found that a roach colony is insainly easy and cheep to maintain. I started feeding my T's roaches but due to the reclusive nature of the species I only saw them eat a few times. When I was rehousing my male P. irmina I was distressed to find that almost all the roaches that I had dropped into his enclosure were still alive and well, burried in the coconut husk substrate. This promted me to rehouse all of my T's to see who was eating and who wasn't. Luckily the rest of them had eaten most of the roaches but there were a lot that had burried themselves in the coconut fiber substrate. (I had also provided crickets when my roach colony dwindled so everything was ok). I had collected a few Hadrurus arizoniensis and Aphonopelma chalcodes locally and housed them in a mix of local decomposed granit sand and coconut fiber. Not a single roach had burried themselves in this mixture. It retains moisture nearly the same as coconut fiber but the roaches cannot dig in as easily as they did before. I also made the substrate shallower (resulting in a higher need for misting for the tropical species). I gave the P. ornata and S. calceatum locally collected cholla wood hides to make up for the shallow substrate and they use them. P. irmina turned his plastic plants into a silk home as he always has. I also have a Scolopendra subspinipes housed with the same mix, just a little lighter on the granit sand because he can dig the roaches up. No problems with digging roaches anymore, just the occaisonal hisser that hangs off the lid like a cat over a swimming pool as my S. subspinipes prowls.

Everything seems to be going fine but I am concerned about my tropical species and considering moving away from roaches as T food so I can go back to coconut husk and peat moss. Has anyone else ran into this problem with roaches and what solutions have you come up with to overcome it?
Welcome to AB! Another AZ member! B. dubia are notorious for doing that. I personally give them a pinch on the head with tongs before feeding, they do not burrow easily when their heads are crushed.
 

DubiaW

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
471
It sounds like that would work good. Have you ever had decapitated roaches kick themselves into the funnel of your T and then die?

I'm a little hesitant to do this with my large roaches because it takes so long to get them to full size and if my T's aren't hungry I can't just pull them out and put them back in the colony to breed for another day. I could just spread out their feeding a little more to ensure that they are hungry. I really cherish my tropical T's and like to keep them well fed.

What is your opinion of the "weighted" cocunut husk/decomposed granite substrate? I know that it isn't really any in of the standard tropical care sheets. Not everyone has a fresh supply of decomposed granit out their front door like me. It seems to be working but I really don't like experimenting with tropical breeds. I had originally used coconut husks as a bottom layer with my H. arizonensis to keep the humidity slightly higher without making the cage wet to simulate the humidity of the monsoons when that species is most active. They dug down to that layer to rest under their hides and eventually just mixed everything up because they are such an active species so I got simple and just moistened one side to keep the humidity up every once and a while. I noticed that the mix held moisture well and that roaches couldn't dig in it so I decided to try a lighter version with my tropical T's and it worked. I just want to know if I am messing up by coloring outside the lines. The nearest pet store is about 100 miles round trip so getting crickets is an excursion and B. dubia seemed like the perfect solution until they started digging. The guy that just gave me a stack of tropical T's without writing down their latin names just threw lots of nymphs in with them so there would be plenty of food available. He just said these need to be kept pretty moist and rattled off their latin names. Normally I like to read up on species and learn about them before getting them but I couldn't pass up his offer and here i am experimenting on tropical breeds.
 

Chris LXXIX

ArachnoGod
Active Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2014
Messages
5,689
I swear I've never did something like that, cutting off their heads I mean :-s

I just put the B.dubia, with tongs of course uh :) near the T's but I have noticed arboreals more choosy with those than obligate burrowers and terrestrials.
 

Hellblazer

Arachnosquire
Joined
May 13, 2016
Messages
134
I'm a little hesitant to do this with my large roaches because it takes so long to get them to full size and if my T's aren't hungry I can't just pull them out and put them back in the colony to breed for another day. I could just spread out their feeding a little more to ensure that they are hungry. I really cherish my tropical T's and like to keep them well fed.
Your colony will get the point where you have way more roaches than you'll need, so that won't be an issue. When I feed off adult dubia I mostly use the males because you don't need as many for production.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
Staff member
Joined
Feb 22, 2013
Messages
3,290
I'm a little hesitant to do this with my large roaches because it takes so long to get them to full size and if my T's aren't hungry I can't just pull them out and put them back in the colony to breed for another day. I could just spread out their feeding a little more to ensure that they are hungry. I really cherish my tropical T's and like to keep them well fed.
Like @Hellblazer said, your colony will outbreed your tarantulas by tenfold. You'll never be able to feed them off quickly enough. So long as a tarantula hasn't struck a roach, I'll just pluck out the roach and feed it to another spider. But again, roaches breed like... well, roaches. I wouldn't worry about it.

What is your opinion of the "weighted" cocunut husk/decomposed granite substrate? I know that it isn't really any in of the standard tropical care sheets. Not everyone has a fresh supply of decomposed granit out their front door like me. It seems to be working but I really don't like experimenting with tropical breeds.
I'm not sure what weighted cocohusk is, but it sounds like you're over complicating things. I just use straight topsoil for all of my tarantulas, works just fine. Just be sure that it doesn't contain cedar or pine, as both have natural pesticides. Obviously also avoid anything with fertilizer in it. Any hardware store sells 50lb bags for under $5.

Also, they're not breeds, they're species. Big difference. You wouldn't call a lion and a tiger breeds ;)
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,864
Your colony will get the point where you have way more roaches than you'll need, so that won't be an issue. When I feed off adult dubia I mostly use the males because you don't need as many for production.
+1

On top of that, the MM roaches don't burrow. I just let them roam.
 

Nephila Edulis

Arachnoknight
Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
201
This is my first post here so I am going to give you a little background. In the future I will try to keep it shorter.

I've recenly started a colony of Blaptica dubia and Gromphadorhina portentosa to feed my T's. I started back into the pet hobby by accident when my neighbor who was an avid keeper came to my house one day with a small stack of deli containers and clear plastic shoe box. His wife had just had a baby and he couldn't keep them anymore. He shoved the stack into my hands and rattled off some latin names and promised to come back with more as well as a starter colony of B. dubia for feeding. They were all housed with coconut husk and peat moss and there were B. dubia nymphs burrowed into the substrate. He never wrote down the latin names for me and never returned with anything else. I started feeding them crickets but wanted to eventually start a roach colony like he had. As the slings grew I was able to identify them during the rehousing process and found out what I had expected all along. My neighbor had given me a handful of aggressive, reclusive and atractive T's that were not suitable for beginers: Poecilotheria ornata, Psalmopoeus irminia, and Stromatopelma calceatum. This isn't a problem since I used to keep venomous snakes and worked in a venom lab/serpentarium in college. Having been bitten by a sidewinder once there just isn't anything in the world of T's that makes me that nervous.

I switched from crickets to roaches a few months back and to my excitement found that a roach colony is insainly easy and cheep to maintain. I started feeding my T's roaches but due to the reclusive nature of the species I only saw them eat a few times. When I was rehousing my male P. irmina I was distressed to find that almost all the roaches that I had dropped into his enclosure were still alive and well, burried in the coconut husk substrate. This promted me to rehouse all of my T's to see who was eating and who wasn't. Luckily the rest of them had eaten most of the roaches but there were a lot that had burried themselves in the coconut fiber substrate. (I had also provided crickets when my roach colony dwindled so everything was ok). I had collected a few Hadrurus arizoniensis and Aphonopelma chalcodes locally and housed them in a mix of local decomposed granit sand and coconut fiber. Not a single roach had burried themselves in this mixture. It retains moisture nearly the same as coconut fiber but the roaches cannot dig in as easily as they did before. I also made the substrate shallower (resulting in a higher need for misting for the tropical species). I gave the P. ornata and S. calceatum locally collected cholla wood hides to make up for the shallow substrate and they use them. P. irmina turned his plastic plants into a silk home as he always has. I also have a Scolopendra subspinipes housed with the same mix, just a little lighter on the granit sand because he can dig the roaches up. No problems with digging roaches anymore, just the occaisonal hisser that hangs off the lid like a cat over a swimming pool as my S. subspinipes prowls.

Everything seems to be going fine but I am concerned about my tropical species and considering moving away from roaches as T food so I can go back to coconut husk and peat moss. Has anyone else ran into this problem with roaches and what solutions have you come up with to overcome it?
Place food like carrot or other food source near the tarantula's hide/burrow entrance. The roaches should walk over to eat the carrot and get eaten by the T in doing so
 

DubiaW

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
471
It has been a few feedings since I altered the substrate. I just combed through my T cages and found that there were still roaches hiding in the loose litter that I sprinkled over the weighted mixture in two cages. It wasn't nearly as bad as it was before and they weren't at the bottom of the substrate but it still isn't working as good as I had hoped. Off with their heads it is. We'll see how long they kick. Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try crushing too if that will give them a little more wiggle time.

The Stromatopelma calceatum decided to come out and preform a spider rodeo for me. Don't like to disturb them like that. They all need a little bit deeper cages.
 

DubiaW

Arachnobaron
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
471
+1

On top of that, the MM roaches don't burrow. I just let them roam.

I'm going to look up that breed. The roach colonies are really fun all on their own. Do you know if the MM's colonize your house really easy?
 
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