In an effort to reduce the continually increasing cost of feeder crickets, superworms and waxworms, I decided to delve into producing a colony of feeder roaches. Besides learning more biology, the kids and I will find establishment of the roach breeding colonies to be an interesting, satisfying challenge.
Commercially produced feeder roach species have a higher meat to shell ratio than do crickets. Unlike crickets, the feeder roach species don’t smell, can’t climb and are quiet.
The problem I encountered was finding individuals to start the colonies. I could have mail ordered them, but was reluctant to do so because of the cost of shipping.
The most commonly maintained feeder roaches are dubia roaches (Blaptica dubia) which sound ideal for the purposes of feeding the tarantulas, vinegaroon, amphibians and gecko. I purchased 100 young nymphs at the Invertebrates in Education and Conservation conference in Tucson, AZ last month.
More recently, a local individual mail ordered some discoid roaches (Blaberus discoidales) and found them too active for her reptiles, so I now have her roaches. She dropped them off in the school’s Main Office, so I received them sight unseen. In retrospect I should have been there to see them at the point of delivery. They are too large for any of my animals, which would have dissuaded me from taking them. On the other hand, their offspring won’t be too large, so it looks like my task this weekend is to establishing colonies of two different roach species. There will be more to come as the roach breeding adventure begins!