Dubia Colony Clean Up Questions

How should I handle Dubia frass (poop) buildup?

  • Nothing--it's not a hazard and with the mealworms in there it will contribute to the colony ecosystem

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • Remove it-- you don't want to risk something growing in there.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Add isopods--the frass shouldn't be a hazard, but add a little extra clean-up crew just in case

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Something else entirely--see comments below.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

BugzNelson

New Member
About 3 months ago, a family friend gave me his dubia roach colony. There are about 300-400 Dubias of various sizes in the colony, and I'd say 100-200 mealworms. According to him, it is a fully self-sufficient Dubia/mealworm colony which he had been keeping for 2 years. He said that it doesn't require cleaning, and that all I have to do is feed them and plug in the heating pad when I want them to reproduce.

Here's the thing, I'm not 100% sure that it doesn't require any cleaning, but I'm a bit scared to even attempt to clean it. It's a big container with solid 2-3inches of frass (dubia poop) at the bottom and the bugs hide in it. It doesn't really smell bad, it smells like dirt--though it can get a bit mucky if the room isn't aired out. The dubias don't seem to care, they have been growing nice and healthy. But my concern is something might grow inside the frass as cause a lot of headache.

Does anyone have any experience with keeping a dubia colony? What could I risk growing in the frass if I don't remove it? Is it possible for me to add isopods and/or other clean-up crews to keep the frass clean enough to not cause problems? Or is my only real option to clean it all out? Please let me know your thoughts and experience, thank you :)
 

nightanole

Chameleon Enthusiast
you shouldnt have to clean out a dubia. At worse they frass will get to 3-4" and then you just widdle it down to 1". The babies live and eat the frass.

I also a few times a year just remove all the fruit rinds and avocado cores.
 

bbyoda

Chameleon Enthusiast
I keep my Discoids and Surinams in a bioactive container with soil and isopods. Frass is eaten quickly by nymphs and isopods. I don't think I'd want to do mealworms and have the setup you have but it should work. Up to you how you want to care for your critters.
 

BugzNelson

New Member
you shouldnt have to clean out a dubia. At worse they frass will get to 3-4" and then you just widdle it down to 1". The babies live and eat the frass.

I also a few times a year just remove all the fruit rinds and avocado cores.
OK, that's good to know. Thank you!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
I just clean the bin out a every ten years or so, whether it needs it or not—then I don't have to think/worry about it. 😁

Kidding. I just clean the bin out a few times a year—then I don't have to think/worry about it. :)

If it gets too... soggy, it can draw phorid flies (just another PITA, but too small for chams to eat).
 

MissSkittles

Chameleon Enthusiast
I keep my discoids with dwarf white isopods and springtails. I think the other day was the first time ever I had to clean one of the bins and all I needed to do was remove the food that had rotted and was attracting fruit flies. I guess none of the bugs wanted to venture so far away from their heat mat to eat.
 

Pickle-cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mites can become a problem in roach bins especially on uneaten foods, although dubia are not a species that live symbiosis with mites they seem to attract them still.
Maybe the mealworms help to keep them in check
 

Lindasjackson

Chameleon Enthusiast
I have the dubias in a bin under the beardie-box, which is in the "family room".

I know we've had this discussion before. ;)
Yes and I’ve often thought about breeding them but just haven’t dared. I just don’t know how messy it is. If I did it I’d want to do it bio active with the clean up crew but I don’t want bugs all over my house plus I don’t want to get over run with them!
 

Klyde O'Scope

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes and I’ve often thought about breeding them but just haven’t dared. I just don’t know how messy it is. If I did it I’d want to do it bio active with the clean up crew but I don’t want bugs all over my house plus I don’t want to get over run with them!
I understand your points. I don't breed them because I tried—a couple of times—and it just didn't work out. So I order 500 at a time, and keep them in the bin. Ironically, now they seem to be reproducing! Not a lot, but I get ~3/4", and those tiny nymphs are coming from somewhere.... 🤷‍♂️

The times I did try, it wasn't messy. With large enough bins, there shouldn't be any escapes,and if there are, they should die off quickly, and can't reproduce at room temp. Depending on how many you start with and how many Eustis will eat.

Not trying to talk you into it. TBH, I don't think it's worth the trouble for those with a single lizard—not even worth it to me with 2 lizards. A few folks on the Bearded Dragon forum ran some calculations, and figured at least 3-4 lizards to make it worthwhile (economically and PITA). Beardies eat a lot more dubias than chameleons (especially the young little eating machines!) so payback may be even higher. Others may disagree, and that's cool; we all have our limitations.
 
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