Reptiles are some of the most popular pets around. Almost two million Americans households own a reptile as a pet. And all those critters need feeding, most eating a steady diet of live food.
That's why so many people are breeding roach colonies to supply the ever-growing number of reptile owners. A dubia roach colony is a popular option for those looking to break into the pet-feeding industry. But most people don't know how to start a successful colony.
It may seem daunting, but it might not be as difficult as you think. If you want to learn more about how to start a dubia roach colony, we can help. Read on for everything you need to know.
Learn About Dubia Roaches
Before starting up a colony, it's a good idea to learn a little bit about roaches and their lifecycle. Understanding these creatures will help you to create a thriving colony and take good care of them.
The average dubia roach lives around 18 months for males and 24 months for females. Pregnancy lasts around six to eight weeks.
Roaches reach maturity at around five months of age. Their maximum size is just a few inches long.
Unlike many bugs, dubia roaches don't lay eggs. Instead, they gave birth to live young. Each roach can give birth every 60 days or so, normally birthing about 25 young.
The newly emerged nymphs won't need much extra care. Just be sure to keep the enclosure clean and keep it from growing overpopulated.
As roaches are sexually dimorphic, you'll be able to tell the difference between males and females easily.
Although it's rare, some people suffer from allergies to roaches. If you notice skin irritation after handling roaches, you may be suffering an allergic reaction. If this occurs, consider wearing gloves while handling the roaches or seeking medical advice.
Understand Nutritional Value
If you're planning on using dubia roaches as a food source, you should know about their nutritional value. It's a good idea to learn about how to make them as notionally valuable as possible.
Although roaches eat a wide variety of food types, they have a strong preference for fruit and grain.
Offering a wide variety of fruits, veggies, and grains will keep your roaches healthy and fill their bodies with the nutrients to make them
The Right Formula
You may wish to create a special diet for your roaches offering the perfect blend of nutrients. Moisture, protein, fat, and fiber should all be included. You can research the optimal mix and alter it depending on what kind of pets you're supplying roaches for.
Water is important too. In the wild, dubia roaches get plenty of fresh water along with the moisture they get from eating fruit. You should provide small dishes around the enclosure filled with fresh water daily.
Get the Right Equipment
A few simple pieces of equipment are required for a successful roach colony. First off, you'll need a tank or enclosure where the roaches can live. This should be a clear container that is easy to store and has plenty of space for your roaches to live in.
Many people assume that a terrarium or fish tank is the way to go. But if you're breeding a large number of roaches, plastic storage crates can work even better. They're cheap, easily stackable, and they're ideal for roach colonies. Be sure to cut out air holes so the enclosure is well-ventilated.
Dubia roaches are relatively easy to confine. They are incapable of climbing smooth surfaces and despite the large wings present on males, they are unable to fly.
You may also want to acquire some heat lamps. You'll need to maintain a temperature of around 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, so consider whether you need any extra equipment to keep your colonies warm. Luckily, there's no need to use a humidifier or mister to keep the enclosure warm as an ample supply of fruits will keep the roaches well-hydrated.
Create the Perfect Breeding Conditions
Dubia roaches are fairly prolific breeders, with each one potentially giving birth to hundreds of offspring each year. But there are a few things you can do to help the breeding process run more smoothly. And we're not talking about lighting candles and piping in Marvin Gaye songs!
First, ensure the enclosure temperature is at an optimum level. If it drops below around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, your roaches will become sluggish and are unlikely to breed. They may even die.
The enclosure should be filled with plenty of nooks and crannies to help the roaches feel safe and comfortable enough to breed. Supply a layer of paper egg flats as these can provide excellent nesting and hiding material for roaches. They're also easy to clean!
Light is important, too. Dubia roaches are nocturnal, so they're far more active at night than during the day. If you have lights on around your colony 24/7, you'll find your bugs are less active and breed less. You'd probably spend more time at home and asleep if you lived in permanent darkness!
Ship Out Adult Roaches
Once your colony is well-established, it's time to begin shipping out some roaches to be used as feeders. Collect some holding containers for taking roaches from the main colony. Small plastic tubs work well as temporary holding containers.
Be sure to keep roaches well-fed until the moment they're released into a pet enclosure. When roach bellies are filled with fruits and grains, the roach will provide more nutrients for the animal that eats it.
It's up to you how often you want to remove roaches from your breeding colony.
Set Up Your Dubia Roach Colony Today!
A dubia roach colony has so many advantages. It's a great way to provide a sustainable food source for pet reptiles, including skinks, pacman frogs, and monitor lizards. With an efficient enough set up, breeding roaches can be a great source of income.
Want to start up your roach colony? You'll need a few good specimens to get started. Check out our range of starter colonies today.