While keeping dubia roaches is very simple, there are some basic care guidelines that will keep your roach colony thriving and ready to feed to your pet!
- Do use an enclosure with smooth sides:
Dubia roaches are unable to climb any type of smooth surface, which makes using a Sterilite or Rubbermaid tub the perfect enclosure for them (we prefer the 56-58 qt Sterilite's). While you can use glass tanks to house them, the roaches are able to climb up the corners (where tanks are sealed), so having a tight fitting top is a necessity.
- Don't use a textured enclosure:
While Dubia roaches are unable to climb smooth surfaces, they are able to climb any type of textured surface (like a textured storage tub) with ease, making keeping them in any type of textured enclosure less than ideal.
- Do provide them with plenty of hiding places:
Dubia roaches are a nocturnal species and love the dark. They thrive on having many hiding places. This is easily accomplished by using egg crate, as it gives them plenty of spaces to hide, while also making their enclosures easy to clean, sort, etc. Place the egg crates vertically so that the frass (roach poop) falls to the bottom of the enclosure, making cleaning easy.
- Don't overcrowd them:
Dubia roaches thrive when in large quantities, but it's important not to overcrowd them as it can easily lead to undue stress which will result in slower production, slower growth rates, and more die offs. Make sure that they all have spaces to hide and aren't forced to constantly be on top of each other. It is also important to provide them with adequate ventilation- we do this by using screen cutouts on the lids of their enclosures (at least 6" by 6" of screen held in place with either hot glue or zip ties).
- Do provide them with heat and humidity:
If you are interested in breeding your Dubia roaches, it is important to provide them with both heat and humidity. They thrive with humidity levels at 50-60% and access to 90-100 degree temperatures. Heating Dubia enclosures is done easily by using either a ceramic heat emitter (a bulb that only produces heat, not light) or an under tank heater. Both heating sources can be regulated with a simple thermostat to keep temps in the mid 90's and not overheating (and potentially melting plastic enclosures). If you're in an area with low humidity levels, achieving 50-60% humidity is easily achieved by using roach gel and misting the enclosure. If you are misting them, be sure the allow the cage to completely dry out between mistings to prevent mold.
- Don't feed them a high protein diet:
Dubia roaches are unique in that they convert excess protein into uric acid and store it in their bodies. They are adapted to live on a very low protein diet in the wild and thus, when fed a high protein diet in captivity you often run into issues. If regularly fed a lot of protein (often found in dog and cat foods) you will likely see large amounts of die offs from a literal protein overdose. Worse though, is that because this excess protein is stored as uric acid, it can also cause problems for the reptiles that the roaches are fed to. There are studies currently going on relating to feeder insect diets contributing to gout in reptiles. Here is more info on that if you would like to read more: click here.
- Do make sure that they have access to food and water:
As with any living creature, for optimal growth and reproduction it's important that they have regular access to food and water. We typically feed/water our roaches every other day with only enough offered to last until the next feeding. This keeps any type of mold from growing and creates a cleaner enclosure. They can eat a large variety of fruits and vegetables as well as our specially formulated roach chow. We have had the best success with offering a staple diet of our roach chow, 24/7 access to roach gel, and 1-2 times per week offering some type of fruit (mainly bananas, oranges, or watermelon).
By following these simple do's and don'ts, you are sure to have a happy colony of Dubia roaches and a constant food source available for your pet.