Yay! I Have Roaches! Dubia, that is!

If you all remember, I have been raising crickets to feed to my bearded dragon, Cooper.  Unfortunately, I have not been having a good time of it these past few months.  Spiders have been a consistent problem, but one I could control.  Virus’s, on the other hand, are not so easily dealt with when I have to buy crickets from the outside to bring in to supplement my population.  It has gotten to the point where it is extremely difficult to raise babies to adulthood.  Which means buying more crickets.  At 12 cents a piece, it costs more to feed a little lizard than a 50 lb. dog.  So after research and discussion, I have decided to switch over to Dubia roaches (blaptica dubia).

Dubia roaches are roughly 35 percent protein compared to about 18.7 percent for crickets.  Their shell is softer than an adult cricket’s exo which means it is easier to digest.  Die off is minimal and instead of living just a few months, they can live 1 1/2 to 2 years.  And there is very little smell and no noise.

You can keep them in plastic containers or aquariums. Drill holes in the plastic tubs for air circulation or cut squares out of the lid. You might want to glue screening across the openings in case the small babies manage to climb the sides.  The adults aren’t so good at it.   A screen lid for the aquarium is fine.  Egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, cardboard stacked closely together, all are good for the roaches to hide in. They eat grains, vegetables, and fruits.  That means what you have in the house can be used to feed them.  Feed your roaches well and you feed your pet well. They do require heat, 80 to 90 degrees, in order to reproduce.  Light bulbs, heat emitters, or under the tank heaters are options. Water is a must.  Supply it in a dish filled with cotton balls or water crystals.  Babies drown VERY easily. This will also help keep the humidity up so they can molt.  Mold is the biggest danger to the roaches so keep everything clean and remove food before it goes bad.  The only drawback is the start-up price.  These guys aren’t cheap.  But spread out over time they’ll more than pay for themselves.

I bought my roaches at http://www.buydubiaroaches.com/ .  I am thrilled.  All the roaches I purchased arrived alive.  It has been a week and there have been no deaths.

Here is how they arrived minus the newspaper that held everyone in place.  Note the styrafoam lining the box.  It also came with a heat pack because it was in the 20's here.  They also have the post office hold the box for you to pick up to reduce the amount of time the roaches are exposed to the cold or heat.

Here is how they arrived minus the newspaper that held everyone in place. Note the styrofoam lining the box. It also came with a heat pack because it was in the 20’s here. They have the post office hold the box for you to pick up to reduce the amount of time the roaches are exposed to the cold or heat. Awesome!

These are the 1 in. to 1 1/8 in. large nymphs that were in the top container. Look how healthy they are!

I ordered 50 of the 1 in. to 1 1/8 in. large nymphs. They were in the top container. Look how healthy they are!

Here is the bottom of the Mixed sizes container (1/4 to 1 in. / 200 count)

Here is the bottom of the Mixed sizes container (1/4 to 1 in. / 200 count).

These are what were left after I got the egg cartons out.  As you can see it is a good mix of sizes.

These are what were left after I got the egg cartons out. As you can see it is a good mix of sizes.  There are chunks of water crystals in the shipping containers to supply water in transit.  They are to the left of the quarter along with some pieces of exoskeletons.

Even after being locked up in a dark box being bounced around for two days, they began to explore their new home within minutes.

Even after being locked up in a dark box being bounced around for two days, they began to explore their new home within minutes.  Note all the toilet paper tubes stapled together.  They’re cheaper than egg cartons! 😀  Roaches need someplace to hide for most of the day.  They are nocturnal insects.  Once they get used to where they live they will move around occasionally during the day.  But they much prefer the night.  I have discovered this past week that they are like the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches I used to own in that they need to be touching each other to be happy.  Thus all the little ones have stuffed themselves into the small spaces between the tubes.  When I move them to a 10 gallon tank, I’m going to smash the tubes into ovals so that it is easier for them to touch each other.

This guy decided that exploring could wait.  He was hungry!

This guy decided that exploring could wait. He was hungry!

This is a top view of the plastic tub I have them in, one week later.  Still no dead roaches.  Note the cap full of cotton balls.  That is their water dish.  Small roaches drown VERY easily.  You need to keep water available at all times.  Water crystals are also good for supplying water.

This is a top view of the plastic tub I have them in, one week later. Still no dead roaches. Note the cap full of cotton balls. That is their water dish. Small roaches drown VERY easily. You need to keep water available at all times.

Some people will tell you to keep your roaches in the dark all the time.  This is something I disagree with.  I believe all critters that are used to a day/night schedule in the wild should have one in captivity as well.  So there will be light when I finally get these guys into a tank.  Right now I have them in this tub and have them on top of my refrigerator where it stays in the low 80’s.  Which is fine, they’re eating and molting.  But as they approach adulthood they’ll need better heat to get them into breeding mode.

Roach pile!  Don't they look good?  When I run out of crickets, this will be Cooper's new protein source.

Roach pile! Don’t they look good? When I run out of crickets, this will be Cooper’s new protein source.

Hope you enjoyed the post.  With any luck, when they’re grown,  I’ll catch somebody making their egg case and get pics.  Fingers crossed!

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2 responses to “Yay! I Have Roaches! Dubia, that is!

  1. Those are so cool! How big do they get?

    • 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. The males get actual wings but rarely fly and the females get just little ‘buds’ instead of wings. They’re very similar to the hissers.

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