There are plenty of dubia roaches for sale but learning how to keep them is a quick and easy way to feed your reptiles through self sustainability. With a constant food supply, you never have to worry about repeatedly visiting the local pet store or ordering online and praying they show up alive. Depending on how many feeder roaches you need, you can start pretty small and cheap too. If you have read through our dubia roach care sheet, you should have a good grasp on the needs of these insects. But here is a step by step guide on how to care for dubia roaches for less than $100:
- Dubia Roach Enclosure
The first step is creating secure container for holding your feeder roaches. The best choice is a simple plastic tote. It should be large enough to fit some egg crate flats and two dishes for food and water.
These plastic totes do not have enough air ventilation, so they require some slight modification. You can easily cut a hole in the top of the tote and hot glue a fiberglass mesh screen from a hardware store to cover it. Another cleaner looking option is cut two to four 2” holes along the sides of the tote with a drill and insert these insect proof vents.
You may consider ordering a second tote for easier cleaning. For removing frass and exo-skeleton scraps, you move the egg flats from one enclosure to the extra one, clean it out, then transfer them back. The second enclosure does not need venting, as they are only stored very temporarily.
2. Maintaining Breeding Dubia Roach Temperature
While these feeder roaches can survive just fine at room temperature, for adequate breeding conditions, they require at least 85-90 degrees F. Usually, tank heating can be down with a ceramic heat emitter, heat lamp, or under tank heater (UTH). However, depending on the model, these may be too hot and melt the plastic tote. Instead, it is recommended to use a heat pad intended for human pain relief. You must find one without an automatic shut off.
To help verify your enclosure is warm enough to induce breeding, you should add a basic thermometer. They are very cheap, and you can be sure that your roaches are comfortable.
They do not need any light, so if you are worried about your apartment complex finding a box of creepy crawlies, you can hide them in a closet without worry.
3. Decorating The New House
Dubia roaches live extremely basic lives; they need very little. So, while it may be tempting, you should not add any substrate or plants; this will clutter the enclosure, make it difficult to clean, and offer no discernable benefits to the inhabitants. In fact, you only need to add two items: egg crate flats and food dishes.
The egg flats are placed vertically back-to-back, so the cockroaches are not smashed between them.
You will need two dishes to hold food and water. A very shallow food storage container or even just the lid flipped upside down will work just fine.
4. Making Roach Food
For just getting started, you may find it easiest to just throw some cut up oranges and oatmeal into the enclosure. However, for the long term, you should really use roach chow with fresh fruit as a supplement. Roach chow is nutritious, ground up food that your dubia roaches will love. In addition, it lasts much longer than fresh fruits and vegetables, so you do not need to worry about mold outbreaks. You can buy roach chow; however, it is vital you avoid ones with cat, dog, or fish food. These contain much more protein than a dubia roach should eat, and they are simply not intended for roach consumption. Too much protein leads to gout and potentially death of the colony. If you want to be absolutely sure that what you are feeding your insects is safe, you can always follow a dubia roach food recipe to make your own.
In addition to food, your dubia roaches will need something to drink. Considering dubia nymphs can be pretty small and cannot climb, the potential for drowning is very high. Therefore, you should use water crystals, a polymer that absorbs water. This provides a semi-solid that dubias can crawl on and absorb moisture.
That’s all, folks! This basic setup can support breeding dubia roaches in the thousands, and it only cost a whopping $67.18 ($79.15 with the optional vents). Of course, you still need to add some roaches to start the colony. You should seed your colony with the following:
- At least 5 male dubia roaches and 20 female roaches. You can determine sex very easily by looking at the wings; males have full length wings, while females have short stumpy wings. The optimal ratio is 1 male for every 4 females.
- A few hundred small and medium sized dubia roaches. While your breeders are hatching new nymphs, these will grow and eventually replace your starter roaches. This will close the gap between waiting for nymphs to become adults.
Once you place your new dubia roaches in their enclosure, they will scatter to find a warm, dark place to live and breed. The colony will require very little maintenance. You should:
- Check every one to two days to make sure the roaches have food and water, and that the temperature is at least 85 degrees F.
- Clean out the tote every month or so. You can do this by placing the egg flats into a different tote, dumping out most of the frass and exo-skeletons, and then returning the egg flats.
With just a few simple steps, you have learned how to breed dubia roaches for under $100. You no longer have to rely on pet stores to feed your pets. Congratulations!