Roach care sheet(Blaptica dubia)
If you're looking for a feeder bug for your pet lizard, you might
want to consider roaches.
This care sheet will be centered around the specific type known as the blaptica dubia (or orange spotted).
Why These bugs instead of crickets, or live meal worms or silkworms? Well, roaches -at least this type- have very little smell they can't climb smooth surfaces, they make very little noise, they can't jump, they are more nutritious than crickets, with a higher protein level, and some say are easier to care for.
Live mealworms, silkworms, live crickets or any other type of feeder bug might be less creepy -but give roaches a try, you might be surprised.
The blaptica dubia will live one to two years if cared for properly. Adults can reach a size of 2 inches long. They are very easy to sex, as the males have distinct wings -although they are not able to fly.
The only drawback may be the creepiness. If you can get over that, these could potentially save you a lot of money in feeding your pet lizard.
You want to use a fairly large container. The larger your colony gets, the more space they're going to need to breed.
What seems to work best is a Rubbermaid container. They like a completely dark environment, so if you don't use a Rubbermaid, be sure and try to put your cage in a dark room or closet. Even though this type of roach can't climb smooth surfaces, you want to make sure you always have a lid on their cage.
I can say that I have seen babys of this type climbing smooth surfaces. As they get older and larger it becomes more and more difficult to climb smooth surfaces.
You don't want to use any substrate, as it just makes the cage more difficult to clean. Roaches love and need to hide.
A lot of people use egg crates, and stack them to create more floor space. An easy way to create more hides and more floor space, is to use a cereal box, and other boxes from the various products you buy to feed yourself.
It can't get any cheaper than that, because you're buying that stuff anyway. You'll find the larger your colony gets the faster your hide containers will soil and need to be replaced.
For the temperature, a range from 70° to 95° is best. They tend to breed faster with the higher temps. If you add heat, be sure and add the heat at one end of their cage to provide a cooler end for them to self regulate their temps.
The only potentially irritating aspect of breeding any feeder bug, is the amount of cleaning you need to do for their health and your pet lizard's health. You want to spot clean at least every other day, and clean their entire cage at least every three months. This sounds easy but can be quite time consuming if you let it go for too long. Care needs to be taken to make sure fruit flies don't lay their eggs and infest your colony. The way to guard against this happening is to maintain as clean a cage as possible.
Roaches need protein. You can provide this by grinding up dry kitten food. An easy way to do this is to purchase a coffee grinder. Dry kitten food has more protein than regular cat food.
They absolutely love grapes, they will eat the skin and all. They also go nuts for carrots. Experiment with other fruits and vegetables.
Even though they get a lot of moisture from fruits and vegetables, you want to provide water crystals. These are basically like unflavored Jell-O. You don't want to provide a dish of water, as the roaches will potentially drown in the water. A dish of water will also turn into a bacteria frap. Don't worry the water crystals are extremely cheap, and will last a very long time.
Breeding bugs -such as roaches or live mealworms can be very cost effective in feeding your pet lizard. The only drawback is you need to take the time to clean and feed properly your pet roaches, as they will be nourishing your pet lizard. Who knows, you might like your new pet roaches better than your pet lizards!
All information given from experience from caring for these bugs and open dialogue from the internet.