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Please Help Me Get My Dubia Colony Running Under WEIRD Conditions.

Discussion in 'Feeders' started by SpidaFly, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    I need some advice.

    I want to get a Dubia colony started to support my current reptile in addition to any reptiles I get in the near future.

    At present I have 2x 55gal sterilite crates. I've been trying to beg egg carton flats off local restaurants. I'm not having luck so I'm going to end up buying online I guess.

    Anyway, here's the problem(s) I'm having: I live in a VERY dry VERY hot part of the country. Glendale, Arizona. It's REAL dry here. The summers are so hot that the air conditioning literally never turns off. I DO NOT have a "hot room", because hot rooms in this part of the country don't just get hot, they get deadly. :p So, I forsee these problems:

    1. If I keep the roaches INSIDE, where the house ranges from 68f at night to 80f in the day, I'm going to need a thermostat for the heating pads under the roaches. I'm planning on just resting them on human heating pads from walgreens or something, does this provide enough heat? I understand that they need to be kept ~90F constantly? Of course, keeping 100gal of roach housing inside is going to make my in-laws flip their <censored> (yeah, my wife still allows them to run our life after even 12 years)... so the only other option is:

    2. If I keep them in the garage, they're out of the way and any odor is a non-issue, but garages get stupid hot here. I'm not really sure HOW hot my garage gets, but... it does get really hot. Does anyone in the Phoenix area or similar dry/very hot area know if this is doable? What is the MAX TEMPERATURE at which dubias can thrive AND breed? Now in the winter, it could get down to 40-50F. Once again I'm not sure what the garage reaches during the winter, but are there any ideas for how to keep the colony hear UP enough during the winter?

    3. No matter where I store them, humidity is going to be a mega problem. I don't want to use substrate, since digging properly sized bugs out is going to be difficult enough without dirt for them to hide in. But... they need what, 80-90% humidity? I have NO idea how I can accomplish this in this kind of climate. (Smaller vent on the top of the lid? I don't know. Any ideas?)

    I'm getting frustrated trying to plan for this, so any and all advice is of enormous help and greatly appreciated!
  2. bradyloach

    bradyloach Elite Member

    Honestly: you can just put a heating pad under them, change the food everyday and boom you have a colony. There not picky! I keep mine at 90-106 all times and there doing great
  3. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Temps between 75-95 are fine!
    I go to the local co-op, farm supply store to get my egg flats 125 for $25.
    Here is a caresheet;
    Breeding Blaptica Dubia
  4. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    That high? Wow. Well that's definitely a positive thing. I had no idea.

    Thanks both of you for the help.

    Can you recommend any advice on keeping the humidity up? Minimizing the "vent" size perhaps? Daily misting on the egg crates maybe? Any troubles with mold when doing that? I have some "Water gel crystals", I'm going to put those in and see how those do.

    Any favorite gutloading recipes?
  5. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    don't mist the egg crates, you will definitely get mold, just mist the sides of the tubs lightly, you may have to do it a couple of times a day. Mold will crash your colony fast.
    Dubia have no odor,at least nothing like crickets! Their odor is very light,almost earthy,hard to explain but it is not strong.
    you want the air to be able to circulate,so I wouldn't make your vents to small.
    For gut loading/daily feeding I use a mix of high end cat food,fish flakes and since I have an excess of baby oatmeal and rice cereal I throw that in as well, throw it all in a blender and let it become a powder...they seem to thrive on it! I also throw in whatever leftovers my veggie eater doesn't eat, they LOVE oranges, and any fresh fruits and veggies that I have that aren't being eaten fast enough go to them.
  6. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    If you are in a dry area, you can offer a little extra humidity by making a container to place in with your colony.
    I use an ice cream container (plastic) cut a hole in the top and place very fine screen over the hole, and glue in place. Keep an eye out because they can chew and end up drowning. Another way is to take the same type of container and take a soldering gun with a pointed tip and make very small holes in the top of the lid. I have a picture of mine, I'll take a photo of it later. I only use this container when it's dry here, it helps with molting.

    But like previously mentioned, never spray your colony, mold will kill them.
  7. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Please do not feed your roaches dog or cat food. Those foods are terrible for anything other than what they were designed for. Heck, they arent particularly good for the animals they were designed for most of the time!

    Anyway, the reason I say this is that roaches are strange little creatures. They are used to low protein diets, and are adapted to that environment. They only require about a 15-20% protein diet for healthy, reproductive lives. They actually synthesize their own proteins from stored uric acid and other amino acids when they dont get enough in their diet. What this means is that feeding them high protein diets actually causes them to store higher and higher amounts of uric acid. Dry dog and cat foods are much better than wet foods as they dont eat them as fast, but it still means you are feeding a high uric acid prey to your lizards. (If you fed them wet dog or cat food the uric acid levels would get so high that it would actually start to crystallize in the roaches organs and kill them.)

    Im not saying feeding dog or cat food to your roaches is going to kill your reptiles, but it does mean you are feeding them a roach much higher in uric acid. This means you are taxing your reptiles organs, specifically their kidneys and liver, as they try to process this high uric acid. Not life threatening in and of itself, but if your reptile becomes dehydrated or has some other difficulty, it isnt helping the situation at all. Its simple, cheap and easy to feed them a good natural dry mix, with some fresh veggies. No need for the dog or cat food at all.
  8. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    I have cut the cat food out of my roaches diet for this reason, my bearded dragon has become dehydrated and poop is very grainy and urates have also been too solid. I am just feeding fresh veggies, oranges and a rodent food blocks.
  9. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    I have never heard this before, what would you suggest in place of the high end cat food for a natural dry mix? Where did you find your information?
  10. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Their nutritional protein requirements are pretty minimal, like I said about 15-20%. As such, the fresh veggies and a dry mix of things like oats, whole grain corn meal, alfalfa pellets, soy meal, etc will be enough to reach that. Plus those things are cheap and easy to find. You can add in calcium carbonate as well to boost the Ca in the roach.

    As for the research behind the uric acid, that was mostly from Sabree and Kambhampati's work over the years. A good article to read is 2009, called Nitrogen recycling and nutritional provisioning by Blattabacterium, the cockroach endosymbiont. There are others but that one is easy to find in its entirety online at PNAS. Its a pretty interesting read!
  11. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    Thanks for some very detailed information! I'm glad you provided me with this, since I was planning on researching a good low fat high nutrient dry dog/cat food today. I'll stick to rodent pellets and fresh veggies instead!

    I've heard great things about oranges, but I've heard they aren't good for your reptiles... should several days pass between feeding oranges to the roaches before feeding roaches to your reptiles?
  12. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    I generally stay away from fruit. The mushy ones mold too easily and the citrus fruits are really acidic. I dont think its going to harm your lizard, per se, but again there are some better options out there. I feed veggies with skins on them, things like squash, green beans, etc. It keeps them from molding and those veggies have lots of good vitamins and minerals in the skins too.

    Be careful of the rodent block/chow diets for the same reason though. Those are generally pretty high in protein too, and again are meant for mammals. Depending on the protein content you may run into the same problems.
  13. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

  14. jarich

    jarich Elite Member

    Ah, ya thats a good one! The protein is only 18% and the fats look good too.
  15. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    This is the sterlite bin that I keep them in, it's 35 gallon and I make sure that the feeding bowl are cleaned daily.


    Here is that container that I was talking about!
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    With mine the fruits don't last long enough to mold! And I have routinely given them oranges, limes, even grapefruit and they make quick work of those as well!
  17. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    My dubias go through a lot more food then I do.
  18. schlegelbagel

    schlegelbagel Frog Lover Premium Member

    For humidity, I have a sherbert container with eco earth and some wire mesh glued on top. When the eco dries, I add more water.

    For heating in the winter, use a simple 60 watt night bulb from the pet store. My basement is at 54 degrees in the winter and they seem to be doing just fine.

    I feed mine veggies scraps, sweet potatoes, and carrots in the winter. In the summer I pluck the dandelions that grow all along the side of my house, behind the bushes.
  19. missabrat

    missabrat Elite Member

    oranges are like crack for my colonies, the adult colony will clean out however many oranges that I put in with them overnight,there's never anything left but the empty peel LOL

    I have already changed out the cat food for oats and cornmeal, was time to make a new batch anyways so I just used what I had on hand :D...will see how well they do with it, so far I hear no complaints LOL

    My colony is thriving,having started out with 12 adults about 6 months ago, I currently have 2 established colonies one of adults,one nymphs to juveniles...each colony has well over 1000 members...and growing fast!
  20. SpidaFly

    SpidaFly Elite Member

    I've got TWO heating pads under mine right now, and I can't get the temp up above 85F (and that's down low, the temp above is way too cold). I've tried 4 heating pads so far, returned 2, these things just don't get very hot.

    I don't want to go with a ceramic bulb, because I have no idea how I can safely attach it to a plastic tub.. but I'm thinking it might be time to figure it out.

    Another problem is, they don't seem to be eating. I check occasionally and I literally NEVER see them on the food or water gel. I had a chopped up apple in there yesterday, took it out and put in a mustard leaf and some green beans.

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