How To Care For Dubia Roaches
Dubia roaches are the ideal feeder insect for reptiles because they are easy to breed, they do not bite, jump or fly and they are virtually odorless. They are a medium-sized species, measuring between four and five centimeters and they are dark brown, almost appearing black with an orange striped pattern. Although the male species does have wings, they cannot fly and they are unable to climb smooth surfaces.
Food And Environment
An ideal temperature for dubia roaches is between 75 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit and they are unable to breed at temperatures too much lower. This is because they cannot moult properly if they do not have enough humidity however, they can tolerate lower humidity environments to live in better than other roach species.
These roaches are scavengers and carnivores which means they will feed on nearly anything, especially sweets. If you are raising them, you can feed them oranges, apples, carrots, cereal, fish, cat or dog food, bearded dragon chow or gecko meal replacing powder.
It takes dubia roaches several months to become adults. Females have the ability to give birth to as many as 30 roaches at one time. They seem to breed much better when placed in colonies of substantial size so if you start with only a few roaches, it may take a bit of time for them to multiply to a large colony. When possible, it is recommended to begin your colony with at least 30 roaches to see the biggest growth.
Dubia roaches in a colony will establish a dominance hierarchy society. The largest male typically claims his territory near a log or stone and defends it from others and even if he leaves to get food, other roaches will know that the area is claimed.
If a mature female enters into a claimed male territory, she will be approached to mate with however, if a male attempts to enter a claimed territory, they will fight. Interestingly, larger dubia roaches will often stand on the tips of their toes to appear larger and more intimidating against other males.
Males produce a sperm packet in a hard enclosed case that they place in the body of the female. After they have mated and the female has the sperm pack, all other males are rejected. Within a few weeks, an egg case is produced that she will drop in a safe spot where it will continue to develop and then hatch all by itself. Females typically produce three broods per year if there are adequate food conditions, otherwise, the egg sac will be ejected out of her body before it has time to mature, killing all of the eggs.
For breeding dubia roaches, you can basically use any type of container as long as it has horizontal surfaces that are smooth, along with a secure lid. Their cage will need to be cleaned every few months because you will begin to notice black particles building up. You can either choose to use no substrate, pine/aspen bedding or grain bedding, all with their advantages and disadvantages.
- No Substrate – The absence of substrate makes it easier to clean the tank and collect the roaches however, the cage will need cleaning more often. Also, it is harder to keep a comfortable humidity level with no substrate and the roaches do not have anywhere to hide.
- Aspen or Pine Bedding – This allows roaches to hide, maintains the humidity in the tank and allows for less cleaning however, when you do clean, it is more difficult.
- Grain Bedding – They are offered plenty of hiding places and constant food with grain bedding but it can mold, harbor mites and it is hard to control humidity.
Dubia roaches prefer the dark so they need hiding places. Upside down egg flats are highly recommended as they allow for plenty of hiding places and they can be thrown away and replaced easily.