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.
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.
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!