Raising roaches experience (and advice)


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So, I decided that as my monster is going through a buck in crickets a day, I'd switch over to dubia roaches as his primary and raise them myself.

My supplies:
A 12 gallon black tote with a yellow lid from the orange box store (with 4 2" vent holes on the sides covered by metal screen repair mesh).
A heat mat with heat controller (set to 85F).
A water spray bottle to occasionally spray in the container to keep a humidity around 40%.
A combination electronic thermometer/hygrometer (probes inserted through a small hole drilled in lid).
A small dish with a cut loofa inside for water (food just sits on the bottom (leftover veggies, apple pieces, romaine, etc)).
Lots of egg crate standing on side in half the container.
A quantity of assorted dubia roaches to establish the colony (30 or so of medium size, 5 breeding males, 20 breeding females).
An assorted beetle/grub clean up crew for a colony up to 1000 roaches.

First, a note on the 'breeding roaches'. They are BIG. Like bigger than your thumb big. Big enough to make noise. Oh, and the males have wings.
They don't bite, but having an insect walk up your arm that you can feel the weight of is a bit weird. My kids call them 'The Nightmare Bugs'.

Second, a note on allergies. After only a few days there is a distinct odor near and in the box. Its not a bad order, sorta like a pungent fruit, and mild. Apparently this can be a trigger to some allergies you may not know you have, or you may develop. Best keep your colony in the garage or basement and drop an air filer or carbon pack nearby.

Third, a note on escapes. Drop a few roach traps around your colony in case you have an escapee. Or drop your colony in a larger tub with water for a Medieval moat effect. If any escape, they breed like roaches.

On April 15 we dumped everything in and hit to go button.
Today is day 7.
No clue they were going to breed THIS fast or this prolifically, there are literally hundreds in the box as of this morning (most nymphs or tiny, but they are there and growing fast).
There are so many roaches of nymph to small medium size that they're going through an apple a day.

Be warned, if you're going to breed the problem seems not to be getting it going, that's easy as heck.
Problem seems to be controlling it.
If anyone is in the NJ Ocean County area I'm happy to pass some out.
I kept and "bred" dubia for the first year of having a chameleon but then around 14 months his appetite dropped enormously and I had a ton of extra bugs. Got rid of the colony and switched back to crickets because adult males I only feed 2-4 feeders every other day.
Thanks for this post. You reaffirmed my conclusion that I'm better off buying them online than breeding. Also, my wife wouldn't have it ;)
If you breed them:
  • Find a local mom & pop pet store that will take them in trade for credit or possibly cash.
  • Make friends with beardy owners to take up your slack.
  • Sell your excess on craigslist
Be sure your cham likes them before you start.
Edit: Sorry, I misread the intent of this thread. I'd keep your colony if you can so you always have good staples on hand. Just take off the heat source to not encourage breeding at a high rate.

I started a colony a month or so after getting my panther since he was devouring nymphs like crazy. I started with I believe 25 females and 10 males from dubiaroaches.com. Within a year I had way more roaches than I could deal with, and still do. I've unloaded a bunch a few times at a local mom & pop pet store and have since removed the heat to not encourage breeding, but they still breed just not as much. It's nice always having these on hand as a staple.

I am in NJ, Monmouth County (from Point Pleasant), and can hook you up with a starting colony if you want.

Here's my experience/setup:
  • 27 gallon storage bin with holes drilled in the top with window screen hot glued
  • Egg crates standing with a piece of cardboard between each so they don't go into each other
  • Heat pad on the side of the container, opposite of food/water
  • Thermostat with probe towards the top, I forget what I set it to as the heat has been removed for a while
  • For food I've switched between BadAssBugs chow, Roach World chow, Repashy Bug Burger, Repashy Super Load, and always throw in fresh fruit and veggies
  • For water, when I've fed dry food I use water crystals, when feeding fruits & veggies I do not supplement with any water


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Great ideas folks, and thanks for the advice.
Ryan, we're a stones throw away. We used to live in Point on 35 near the Ark but Sandy got us.
We're up the road in Brick now near the hospital.
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