How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

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How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  gatsu7 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:50 am

Blaptica dubia roaches are, in my opinion, the best feeder insect to keep and feed to herps. They can't fly, they don't smell bad (at least not compared to crickets and mealworms), they can't survive and infest your house if they escape, they come in any size you would need for almost any herp, and they have much more nutrition per bug than crickets. Below is a tutorial on how I keep mine. I have been breeding them for a few years now, and have been pretty successful at it.

Starter Colony Size:
I recommend starting with at least 100 roaches of all sizes and genders. This will give you the best chance of creating a thriving colony that you can feed out of in a short amount of time. If you don't want to breed them yourself, I sell them in small quantities as well, so you can just feed them and get more when you need them. My prices are less than cricket prices at pet stores.

Enclosure:
I use Sterilite plastic tubs, and they have worked perfectly. Make sure to use dark ones as opposed to clear because these roaches do not like light and having a brightly lit enclosure will cause them to breed less. They will also try to escape if they are kept in a clear tub, but seem to be just fine staying put in a dark tub. Like I said before, they can't climb or fly, so it is really hard for them to escape anyway.
I customize these sterilite tubs by cutting a rectangle out of the lid and hot-glueing a piece of black mesh over the hole. This provides ventilation, but keeps the enclosure mostly dark. Below are a couple of examples.


Heating:
Heating is not a requirement, as long as the room you keep them in stays above 75 degrees, however, I have found that adding a heating pad (I use ZooMed ReptiTherm Mini pads) exponentially increases breeding speed and frequency. If your plan is to feed a bunch of herps from the colony, I would definitely recommend heat to keep your numbers up.

Inside the Enclosure:
Inside the enclosure, you should provide egg crate for them to hide in, water crystals (not a water bowl, unless you want them to drown), and a constant supply of high-protein food (preferably in powdered form). Below is an example of what the inside of the enclosure should look like.


I get my egg cartons from www.eggcartons.com and water crystals from www.watercrystals.com. Hard to remember, huh. I usually have extras on hand, if you just need a few and don't want to order in bulk. I also keep powdered roach food on hand and sell that as well.

Food and Water:
As mentioned before, high-protein, powdered food should be available at all times. Failure to do this, or using low quality food without the extra protein will cause the nymphs to start eating the wings off of the adult males. In severe cases, they will resort to straight up cannibalism. I usually have powdered food on hand that works well, but if you want to make your own, all you have to do is get some high-protein, good quality dog food, oatmeal, and bran flakes and put them all in a blender. About 1/2 dog food, 1/4 oat meal, and 1/4 bran flakes works well.
In addition to always having dry food in the enclosure, I offer them a dish of diced fruit and vegetables once per week. This is optional, but I highly recommend it, as it keeps them hydrated and I have noticed much more breeding activity since I started doing this. Any fruit and veggies that are still there after 2 days should be removed, but I rarely have this problem because they devour it.
Water crystals should also always be available. Keep them in a dish and keep them wet with non-chlorinated water.

If you do all this, you will have more roaches than you know what to do with.

Additional Tips:
When feeding out of the colony, always feed excess males first, then nymphs.
You only need 1 male to every 3 or 4 females.
I never feed females. There is no need to.
If you happen to see a freshly molted roach (bright white) when you are feeding, offer that to your herps. They are like candy.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  Snakeman on Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:41 am

"they have much more nutrition per bug than crickets"

Michael,

Years ago when I kept lizards, I read a couple of nutritional studies on feeders including mice and rats.
(I was trying to get the most bang for my buck.)

That was before Dubias were readily available.

Have you found any studies/research discussing the nutritional value of Dubias ?

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  gatsu7 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:03 am

Snakeman wrote:"they have much more nutrition per bug than crickets"

Michael,

Years ago when I kept lizards, I read a couple of nutritional studies on feeders including mice and rats.
(I was trying to get the most bang for my buck.)

That was before Dubias were readily available.

Have you found any studies/research discussing the nutritional value of Dubias ?

I have. It's been a while, but I will try to find them again and post them on here.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  gatsu7 on Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:01 am

Here is a chart from www.theroachguy.com. I've found this chart on other sites as well, but I can't find where it originated.

Species Moisture % Protein % Fat % Ash %
Dubia Roach 61% 36% 7% 2%
Crickets 74% 18% 6% 1%
Mealworms 59% 10% 13% 1%
Silkworm 76% 64% 10% 7.5%
Phoenix Worms N/A 17% 9.5% N/A
Superworms 59% 20% 16% 1%
Waxworms 61% 16% 11% 1%

According to this, dubias have twice the crude protein that crickets have and only slightly more fat. I've also read that the phosphorus content is better in dubias, and that, since they have a longer intestine tract, gut loaded dubias retain more of the nutrition from gutloading than do crickets.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  jonah on Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:26 pm

Thanks for the roaches. I haven't tried feeding one to Mr. Pinchy yet (our Emperor scorpion), but will later on tonight when he gets active.

I know you old time herpers are probably immune to it, but I got creeped out when I was unwadding a piece of paper bag and found a huge male standing on the back of my hand. Laughing

Creepy or not, at least they don't jump like crickets do.
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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  thebluejackal on Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:48 pm

I was looking on watercrystals.com . . . what is the exact product you buy?

I'm using cricket water for now.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  Evilwezal on Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:20 pm

You can purchase the watercrystals at any home depot/green house ect, just make sure they have no added fertilizer.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  thebluejackal on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:10 am

Awesome! In the garden section, I'm guessing? I'll have to check it out. I'm only keeping one small colony.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  gatsu7 on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:20 am

Sodium crosslink. The 1lb bag will last over a year.

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Re: How to Keep and Breed Blaptica Dubia Feeder Roaches

Post  thebluejackal on Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:29 am

Thanks, Michael!

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