Also known as Guyana orange spotted cockroaches, dubia roaches are popular feeder insects. Animals prefer the highly-nutritious dubia roaches. Individual pet owners often buy them from various suppliers who deliver them in constant quantities at excruciating prices. Therefore, many pet owners are thinking about how to breed dubia roaches on their own, while others aim at improving the practice in general.
Dubia roaches have three life cycle stages namely the egg, nymph, and adult. The adults directly give birth to the nymphs as the eggs mature in the body of the females. Keep the temperatures at 75-95oF, the humidity at 40-60%, and in a box measuring 18” x 18” x 18”. They live for more than 2 years.
What Are Dubia Roaches?
The dubia roach (Blaptica dubia) is an average-sized cockroach species that grows to about 1.6-1.8 inches. They are commonly used as feeder insects for various reasons. They have high nutrient contents of moisture, proteins, fat, ash, calcium, and phosphorous helpful for pets’ nutritional benefits.
Also, they have a thin exoskeleton and no odor, making them more suitable than other feeder insects. This makes them perfect for any insectivore pet including reptiles such as bearded dragons, amphibians and arachnids. Dubia roaches live for more than 2 years.
How To Breed Dubia Roaches
With all the dubia roaches breeding project requirements, breeding dubia roaches is relatively simple. Before learning how to breed the feeder insects ideally, it is essential to learn about their life cycle.
Dubia Roaches Life Cycle
Unlike other feeder insects, dubia roaches have a longer life span. Female roaches can live up to 24 months, while males live shorter for about 18 months. The two sexes are differentiable since adult males have fully-grown wings while females have underdeveloped wings. Here is their life cycle:
|Dubia roach stage||Time taken|
|Adult||Male – 18 months|
Female – 24 months
Dubia roaches belong to a group of insects called ovoviviparous, implying that their eggs hatch inside the females before giving birth. Eggs are contained in a capsule called ootheca. Male and females are ready to breed at 3-4 months of age when mating.
Female dubia roaches give birth to an average of 30 nymphs every 65 days. Meaning, females produce 30 dubia roach eggs then hatch them before giving birth. Typically, dubia roaches take 65 days after mating to give birth, where they mate, ready to give birth to a subsequent batch of cluster nymphs in the next 65 days. Female roaches will produce more offspring under favorable conditions.
Dubia roaches are hemimetabolous insects, implying that they pass a series of nymphal stages called instars before attaining adulthood. Newly hatched nymphs are 2mm long and take about 3-6 months to mature. The maturing process involves 7 nymphal stages where every molt grows by about 25%.
The baby Dubia roaches are white in color and the color changes with each molt. Essentially, there are no dubia roach larvae but nymphs at different stages of growth.
After birth, it takes 3-6 months for Dubia roaches to breed. Adult dubia roaches begin mating immediately after attaining adulthood. Extreme dark conditions are preferable for their mating and giving birth. Almost every 65 days, female roaches give birth. This implies that there is an exponential growth of the colony when the next generation reaches adulthood.
Successful Breeding for Dubia Roaches
When raising dubia roaches, all you require is:
- Purchase adult male and female dubia roaches in the ratio 1:5 respectively. If you aim to breed them for animal feed, 100 females and 20 males are enough for a start.
- The best Dubia roach setup is to secure a dark-colored container with a lid to enhance a dark habitat. Also, make holes on the lid for ventilation.
- Food, oranges, and rabbit food give the best results for dubia roaches’ breeding. You can purchase rabbit food from a reliable local vendor at an affordable price.
- Moisture: water beads are best to prevent molding and drowning.
- Temperature: a space heater is appropriate to provide an optimal temperature of between 75oF and 95oF.
- Darkness: paper egg trays should be placed inside the dark-colored container to provide darkness and a hiding place for mating and breeding.
Dubia roaches don’t require too much attention to breed as seen from these requirements.
Factors that affect the dubia roaches breeding
The factors that determine your success in breeding Dubia roaches include:
Optimum temperature is essential to breed dubia roaches. An optimum temperature of between 75oF and 95oF enhances colony productivity. Therefore, always ensure that your enclosure is within this range.
2. Male To Female Ratio
More females than males are needed in a breeding colony. The optimal ratio of males to females is 1:5. 1 male to 5 females is the best balance for a dubia roach colony. If you buy 10 males, you’ll need to buy at least 50 females.
3. Preventing Overcrowding
Too many roaches in an enclosure negatively influence the breeding results. After reproduction, it is crucial to divide the enclosures to avoid overcrowding.
4. Replenishing The Colony
Mature dubia roaches die when they attain a maximum age. It would help to replenish your adult roaches with newly bred roaches to increase offspring. Ensure you optimize the adult roaches in your colony.
5. Nymphs Extra Care
Always ensure proper care for your nymphs. This can be attained by ensuring appropriate temperature, moisture, and food supply. Failure to give care to nymphs will cause death, ultimately reducing the breeding colony results.
Dubia Roaches Living Conditions
The following are favorable conditions for enhanced dubia roaches breeding colony survival:
Choose a plastic container of dimensions 18″ x 18″ x 18″. Dubia roaches quickly climb on fine-textured containers. As such, smooth textured containers are the best. Also, the container should have a color that prevents light penetration since roaches prefer dark conditions for breeding.
Plastic containers provide excellent conditions for breeding since they are energy-efficient and durable. 100 roaches can perfectly fit in an 18″ x 18″ x 18″ container. For enhanced darkness, egg paper trays are placed vertically in the bin to provide suitable hiding places for the insects. Egg paper trays also make good cricket substrates.
Also, the bin should have a lid with holes for ventilation. Choosing the right size bin for your colony depends on your decision. Dubia roaches will appreciate whatever space you give them, finding a way to use it.
With increased reproduction, droppings from the roaches will be observed on the bin base. There is no need to clear such droppings as new offspring (nymphs) feed on them. Hygienic care can be given by changing food substances weekly.
Dubia roaches breed excellently within a temperature range of 75oF and 95oF. They will not breed at temperatures below 68oF. Therefore, the optimal range temperature should be maintained for successful breeding. To achieve this, you can conveniently use a thermostat heater and a thermometer to ensure that optimum temperature is maintained.
Between 40% and 60% humidity is the optimum humidity level for dubia roaches’ breeding. However, a higher humidity at a tolerable level is acceptable, but lower humidity levels should be avoided.
Humidity levels below 40% will cause the egg capsules (ootheca) and nymphs to dry out. This will result in infertile female roaches. Also, low humidity levels cause problems for roaches shedding their old skin. Notably, too high a humidity level – above 80% – will cause other problems.
This is because overly humid areas combined with high temperatures enhance mold development and bacteria that female roaches are sensitive to. Mainly, eggs and nymphs are too sensitive to mold and bacteria.
Therefore, water crystals are effective for dubia roach’s hydration. The absorbent polyacrylamide hydrogel absorbs water and safely releases it to roaches, reducing the chances of drowning. However, they should be handled with the utmost care by placing them in a water bowl with a sponge. They should always be kept clean as they can rot, leading to other problems.
4. What Do Dubia Roaches Eat?
Unlike other feeder insects, dubia roaches are opportunistic and scavenging to all food provided. However, you should provide them with a proper diet for enhanced growth. A proper diet for dubia roaches is composed of vegetables and fruits and protein-based supplements like oats, cereal grains, and whole-grain bread.
Dubia roaches highly prefer carrots and oranges. You should always feed them on varying foods to keep them healthy by providing essential nutrients.
Gut loading for dubia roaches’ food is easy since you only need to throw in some fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, dusting is not required for their diet. Dubia roaches can make good feeder insects together with hornworms for crested geckos and other pets.
There are preformulated insect diets available to feed your insects. However, most of them supply excess protein to dubia roaches. Therefore, it is not essential to provide them with a preformulated diet but choose diets specifically made for dubia roaches when the need arises.
Precautions When Raising Dubia Roaches
You should always consider the following precautions when raising dubia roaches:
- When buying a plastic bin for dubia roaches’ habitat, always buy two of them. You must transfer the colony to a different enclosure when cleaning their main enclosure rather than cleaning when the dubia roaches are inside it.
- Always ensure an optimum temperature range of 24o C and 35o C for breeding to increase the number of offspring.
- Always put the enclosure away from direct sunlight.
- The enclosure should have good air circulation.
- Do not mistake male for female dubia roaches. Male roaches have fully developed wings while females have underdeveloped wings.
- You should always ensure an ambient humidity level between 40% and 50%.
Adhering to these conditions ensures healthy roaches.
As compared to other feeder insects, dubia roaches are easy to breed and multiply quite fast. Also, they are easy to manage and have a longer life span. Successful breeding of dubia roaches is cost-effective and provides an unlimited nutritious feed supply for your animal pets.
University of Michigan. Blatticomposting.
Eastern Kentucky University. Effects Of Thermal Acclimation On The Critical Thermal Maxima Of The Tropical Cockroaches: Blaptica Dubia, Eublaberus Posticus And Blaberus Discoidalis (blaberidae).
University of Illinois. When Your Pet Has Eight Legs.