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Thread: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

  1. #1
    Mr TinkyWinky
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    Default WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Hi, I have a White's tree frog. I feed him mostly dubia roaches, dusted once a week with repcal and vitamins. I feed him crickets and a few waxworms about once a month. What else could I add for variety? I tried superworms (phoenix worms) once, but he puked them up.

    Also, does anybody breed dubias? and if so, is it easy? is there a specific guide for breeding dubia's that you would recommend? I am a little afraid of ending up with too many roaches since I only have one little frog!

    THANk YOU

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  3. #2
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Hey Mr WinkyWinky,

    I think you'll find this guide that I wrote up pretty useful to answering most of your questions:
    http://www.frogforum.net/food-feeder...r-roaches.html


    Additional items for variety include silkworms, soldier fly larvae (phoenix worms/calci-worms), feeder cockroach species, and earthworms as staple feeders. Mealworms, superworms (zophobas) and waxworms should only be offered as treats of appropriate size, and captive bred hornworms of appropriate size (NOT Wild caught) make fine feeders though are a bit pricey.

    Breeding roaches is almost effortless - you'll find the guide linked to above pretty extensive but the take-home message is that roaches are excellent feeders and require very little to culture.
    -Jeff Howell
    ReptileBoards ( Branched from The Reptile Rooms )
    "If you give, you begin to live." -DMB

  4. #3
    Mr TinkyWinky
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Hi Jeff,
    Thank you so much. your info is so detailed, i will definitely have a go at breeding dubia roaches.
    Cheers.

  5. #4
    KittyKat90
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Where do you go to obtain Dubia Roaches to start a breeding colony?!

  6. #5
    Mr TinkyWinky
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Quote Originally Posted by KittyKat90 View Post
    Where do you go to obtain Dubia Roaches to start a breeding colony?!
    Hi,
    I live in NYC and buy dubia roaches to feed my frog from a pet store called Fauna (where I bought my WTF). I know you can buy them online too, but usually in very large quantities, and I only have one little frog. I usually buy the smaller sized roaches, but next time I'll ask them to sell me some bigger adults to start my own colony.

  7. #6
    HerpDerp
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Dubia roaches breed pretty slowly so it would be pretty easy to control how quickly the colony grows. I have a very small colony right now with just three adult females. I'm not feeding off of it until I get a second generation of breeders. In theory my colony shouldn't really get too out of control. And if you start a colony that gets too big you could always sell some of your roaches back to the pet store. No one around here sells roaches so that isn't really an option for me!

    All I do for my roaches is keep them warm (75 degrees although they prefer 85 and will breed quicker like that), feed them high protein cricket chow and my leftover catfood powder from the bottom of the bin (it's high quality grain-free), give them occasional fruits and veges (they LOVE organic apple sauce) and give them water cubes for hydration. Every couple days I do a light misting for humidity so they can molt properly. Really easy if you ask me!

  8. #7
    Mr TinkyWinky
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Hi Michelle, thanks for this info- I am really encouraged to try.
    I have a question though!
    I usually buy 50 -60 small roaches at a time to feed my frog, which he eats in about 3-4 weeks. I feed the roaches everyday- a bit of whatever fresh vegetable/s i am preparing for supper, sometimes a bit of fruit- but they seem to prefer veggies. Both you and Jeff mentioned feeding roaches high protein. Is that just for breeding? or should i be feeding the roaches something with high protein anyway, for my frog's nutrition?

  9. #8
    HerpDerp
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    The protein is more for the roaches health than the frog's health. I believe it encourages breeding? Roaches also like grains and sweet cereals. I feed mine grapenuts cereal and they really seem to like that.

  10. #9
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Good question about the protein - as far as I know from experience in using high protein foods and from talking to few roach hobbyists, the protein is probably an exaggerated need of cockroaches. In nature, most cockroaches are pretty efficient decomposers and likely feed more heavily on carbon-rich organic matter. Excessive protein in the diet may lead to larger overall sized roaches, but their actual fitness and morbidity with exposure to abnormally high protein may be at stake as a result.

    The true need seems to be moisture/hydration. Most high protein food items like dog kibble contains substantially more moisture and protein than say, chicken feed, that will be significantly drier. While it doesn't appear so to us, on the mico-level that insects live in a difference in moisture content by only a few %'s can be dramatic. Many of the species we culture as food for our herps are tropical species, afterall. I think many hobbyists have neglected to consider moisture content in food as a more viable preference option that the protein content. I've raised cultures of several species on an almost exclusively fruit and veggie/leaf diet with no ill effects. I do want to emphaize the need for moisture in the DIET...not in the enclosure. Excessive moisture in the bin can lead to bacteria and mold growth.


    Roaches are pretty generalistic in their feeding preferences. For whatever reason, there is speculation that oranges increase reproduction. I've never noticed any staggering change to my colonies in offering oranges and any other single food item, but it never hurts to try. As long as they are given some dry grain base diet and are provided with plenty of hydration (water crystals, fruit, greens, salad items, etc) and adequate space and heat, they will thrive and breed without much effort. In order to make them best for your frog - feed quality dry baby cereals, cat or dog kibble, and/or fish food as a dry grain base and offer fruit and salad items a couple of times a week. This is usually adequate to keep the roaches thriving and reproducing while offering an ideal gutload for your frog's benefit.

    Ideal temperatures for B. dubia production is probably in the mid 80's.

    KittyKat - Feel free to PM me if you'd like a list of a few locations to where you can find private sellers of feeder roaches. I'm not sure we are allowed to link to other forums on the website. I've personally done business with the following and have been most pleased... although I was obtaining more "exotic" species for collecting rather than feeding so prices may be on the steeper end:
    Aaron Pauling.com
    Greg's Exotic Inverts Home - Greg's Exotic Inverts
    DoubleDs
    Home - Roach Crossing

    I apologize if I repeated anything that has already been said ; )
    -Jeff Howell
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    "If you give, you begin to live." -DMB

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  12. #10
    HerpDerp
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    This is some great info! I will definitely take this into to heart and use it. Thanks!

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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Jeff, out of curiosity, do you think dubia's would feed and be sustained on the leaves that fall off live plants? You did mention they are very good at decomposing. Am i wrong in thinking that dead leaves would be more like their natural diet? I would even consider tossing trimmings in as well.
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  14. #12
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Good question Bill

    The problem with leaves is the secondary metabolites that may exist... I'm certainly not qualified to know what kinds of chemicals reside in each species of plant, but some plants have pretty potent defenses.

    Plants all over the world have coevolved with other organisms and use allelochemicals to combat being preyed upon by herbivores. Secondary metabolites include things like alkaloids, tannins, cardiac glyocoside residues, and many other chemicals. Alkaloids are responsible for things like nicotene in tobacco and THC in hemp, for example. Most herbivores need to become specialized in order to feed on plants for a few reasons... first is the ability to neutralize or combat these chemical defenses, and second is often the ability to metabolize cellulose. This is why you see Monarch butterfly larvae feeding on things like milkweed that contains latex-like sap, alkaloids, and cardiac glycosides. While this plant will completely kill the vast majority of insects that feed upon it, the monarch larvae has coevolved in such a way that it can not only feed on the plant, but also utilize the chemical properties as a biological defense mechanism against predation.

    An interesting example of what leaves in plants may secretly hold - I recall a study that discussed the leaf feeding preferences of a certain species of Colobus monkey. Despite a plethora of some 120 species of plant, the monkeys would only feed on 3 species.

    So the real question is: what species of plant do you wish to feed to your cockroaches? While they are excellent decomposers, the quality of the food being offered is still important and they have obvious preferences. I'd wager most roaches are primary decomposers that are first to arrive on the scene - breaking organic matter to smaller pieces for things like springtails, isopods, mites, earthworms, bacteria etc and will be more selective about feeding as a result. Oak leaves for example are perfectly safe to feed and I always offer my roaches fallen oak leaves as something to munch as detritus and substrate. Plants in certain families like Solanacea however should certainly be avoided due to the family's notorious history of containing toxic metabolites.

    If feeding your cockroaches to a pet amphibian or reptile, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution and only feed items that are certainly safe...common salad greens, fruits, vegetables, and grains. If you are trying to create as natural an environment as possible for the cockroach itself, adding fallen leaves would certainly be useful so long as the leaves are not otehrwise toxic. I've never experimented with anything other than Oak - but I'm sure they would be capable of eating a wide variety of common temperate leaves. Regardless - most species of cockroach are capable of thriving under a wide variety of conditions. Whether one provides a bin with leaves, soil, bark and other natural things or simply an empty bin with egg flats... as long as basic needs are met roaches will thrive and breed ; )
    -Jeff Howell
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    Moderator deranged chipmunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Jeff, first off, allow me to thank you for the excellent reply. I had not thought about secondary metabolites. I'm planning on picking up a small starter colony at my next local reptile show in jan, but would rather be well prepared in advance. When i saw you mention decomposition and leaf litter, it got me thinking about feeding what i would normally throw in my compost bin. I guess i assumed that since most roaches are scavengers, that they would have some immunity towards alkaloids and such. That is why we ask questions, right?

    As you said, i do err on the side of caution when it comes to my critters, so i will stick with tried and true methods for my roachie friends. no need to push the envelope on this one....lol

    Btw, awesome quote in your sig.....i've been a huge D.M.B. fan since day one.
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  18. #14
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    No problem Bill, happy to help! Sending you a friend request by the way - gotta share the love with fellow DMB fans = )

    I'm sure roaches have some unique adaptations being decomposers that allow them to handle a wide variety of food types, but I'm simply too unfamiliar with the effects of compounds in certain plants on them to give a clearcut answer. Its a great question and one that would require some independent research in order to determine what, if anything, each species is more sensitive too. For example, the rare and beautiful giant burrowing "rhino" cockroach of Australia (Macropanesthia rhinocerus) is very delicate in captivity and requires specialized care. They feed on Eucalyptus leaves in their natural range primarily and act as important decomposers, but in captivity species of Eucalyptus in the states used for ornamental purposes can be toxic to them. I've not well enough versed on my rhino roach care to be 100% certain about this, but I recall reading something (perhaps by Orin McMonigle?) that suggested they fared much better in captivity when Oak leaves were given instead on Eucalyptus. Interesting that even plant species in the same genus can vary enough to be hazardous to those that feed on them. For these reasons: I'm sure many cockroaches, even individual species, can handle certain compounds in certain plants better than others... but I am too unfamiliar the vast majority that may contain toxic chemicals to know for sure... so my roaches get all scrap salad items that are starting to turn in the house and some supplemental diet options to benefit the herps = )

    Heck, some cockroaches, including termites (a social cockroach) have found a way to metabolize cellulose by utilizing symbiotic bacteria and protozoans in the gut. The world is an amazing place! I could geek out about this stuff all day.
    -Jeff Howell
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    Moderator deranged chipmunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    yeah man, i remember hearing Ants Marching on the radio, went out and bought the cd, got home, heard Jimi Thing and i was hooked!!!LOL

    i'll be honest with you, if you did know all that info, i would have been astonished. LOL you are right, it amazes me how within the same species, plants can be so diverse. the more i research for builds, the more i find fascinating. i think i read somewhere the same issue with eucalyptus affects koala bears as well. but that was very, very long ago....lol

    i am going to have do so some research into **** roaches, yeah, there's a fun subject my wife would say...lol she already gives me nasty looks when i talk about breeding roaches...lol

    if you ever want to geek out about stuff, i'm always a pm away. i hate clogging threads as well. besides, i have a thirst for knowledge that just can't seem to be quenched....LOL

    p.s. i did not know that termites were in the cockroach family. i always assumed that because they tunneled and were social, that they were a distant relative of ants. see? i learned another new thing today!! LOL
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    0.0.5 Dendrobates Leucomelas
    0.0.2 Dendrobates Tinctorius 'Powder Blue'
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  20. #16
    Mr TinkyWinky
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Thanks Jeff,
    I'll definitely expand the diet i feed the roaches, even before i start breeding them. I have never given them grain, cereal or protein rich food. I only ever fed them fruits and veggies, and the occasional cricket cube. Also, I never used water crystals before because I assumed there was adequate hydration in the fruits and veggies.
    I thought the diet i was using was OK because the roaches never die (unlike the icky crickets i used before). But from what you say, I could improve the nutrition for my frog.
    Thank you.

  21. #17
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    The water crystals are more of a useful tool for very large colonies and for species that fair better with more moisture in the diet. For example, the Eublaberus genus containing orange head roaches (Eublaberus posticus, an excellent feeder species) are roaches that need water crystals available at almost all times for their benefit. Without a constant supply of water crystals, this species often eats the wings of their fellow roaches and will resort to cannibalism very readily. I often suggest having water crystals available at all times for most roaches just to cover the bases and ensure success for keepers... it certainly does hurt to always have them available for any species. Plus, they are incredibly cheap online... about $1 per dry ounce that makes 1 gallon of water crystals. The pet stores rip you off with that "Cricket Quencher" and the Flukers gel products that are essentially the same thing at ridiculous prices in small jars ; )

    Also - just want to make a note of this. I'm pretty passionate about keeping cockroaches because I culture a wide variety of species for pleasure. That being said, my recommendations are often sort of "high-end" for lack of a better term. These are cockroaches we are talking about, and true to what most people believe many species are incredibly hardy and forgiving of imperfection in their captive environment. In all honestly most roaches, particularly B. dubia just need some basic items: a bin (space), surface area (egg flats, TP rolls, drink carriers), heat (shoot for mid-80's for most species), food and hydration. The food and hydration part can go hand in hand with the veggie and salad items... and for cost effectiveness of feeding and for the benefits as a gutload I offer dry feed AND veggies as gutload and food. For smaller colonies, veggies can be the only hydration source and the roaches will fare just fine. So are you absolutely right from your experience in only using fruits and veggies for adequate hydration for smaller colonies.

    For the benefit of out pets - we should shoot for offering as much variety as possible. Both in terms of the species of insect offered, and in terms of what we are feeding the roaches. As far as I'm concerned, having a dry gutload available to the roaches at all times in the form of chicken feed, dog/cat food, fish food, cereal etc gialong with a constant supply of water crystals will provide the roaches with 24/7 access to their food and hydration needs. Then the addition of various salad items a couple of times as week further increases their nutrional benefits to the frog and provides a supplemental but of food and moisture that the roaches thoroughly enjoy.

    Bill! We'll catch up in a PM sometime most definitely! I apologize for going a bit off topic here Mr TinkyWinky in the previous postings - just love talking about my bugs ; )
    -Jeff Howell
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    I might just want to add this in, but it seems in several cases, a diet with excessive protein above the roaches' needs seemed to have led to the formation of uric acid, which later caused impaction. This happened to my whites as well, so I've simply been using repashy's bug burger to feed them ever since, at very efficient and cost effective rates.

    Somewhat anecdotal, but if you do a google search on the above topics, you can see several queries.

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  24. #19
    Moderator JeffreH's Avatar
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    Default Re: WTF diet and breeding Dubia roaches

    Thank you frogged - I was unaware of this, but the logic behind it makes perfect sense.

    When fed an excessively high protein diet cockroaches are subject to hyperketosis... ketones compete with uric acid for transport in the body. Ketone production goes up, the result is excess buildup up Uric acid... bad for roaches, and apparently bad for herps.

    All the more reason why I think we should start focusing on the idea of higher MOISTURE in the diet and not necessarily protein. Indeed, as mentioned, cultures have successfully been raised on an almost exclusively veggie/fruit/green diet with no ill effects to reproductive fitness or vitality.

    The amount of protein found in your typical dog kibble or fish food shouldn't pose an issue for the frogs or the roaches - but avoid feeding ground meat and table scrap mammalian meat product to colonies. Most species can thrive on a very minimalistic dry gutload so long as its supplemented with salad items. I have a neglected dubia bin that is still producing nymphs despite not being fed dry feed in over 3 months.
    -Jeff Howell
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