Because I haven't posted any sort of updates on the mantis in a while, and only just now realized I haven't shown any of the other things I have now :D. Pics are gonna be put in spoilers just so this isn't a massive post and so people can avoid looking at something that might squick them out.
Mantis nomming a Black Soldier Fly (I'll get a pic of one of these guys when another comes out of its pupae)
And a mealworm nom
A few pics for scale (he's getting big n,n)
And here are pics of the other things I have. I can't wait till we can move into a bigger place and I might be able to have a spare room dedicated to breeding stuff n,n.
Where I keep the dubia roaches (no pics of them in these)
The dubias aren't like normal roaches. For one they don't really look like them except for the adult males, which even then for some reason aren't as terrible to me as normal German cockroaches. Some of you may recall when I was flipping my shit some time ago; I have a SERIOUS issue w/ roaches thanks to a horrible infestation we had when I was much younger. I can't deal with them at all. But these guys don't bother me at all.
Another thing about these is they have to have very, very specific conditions to breed. Temperatures of at least 80-90 degrees and a humidity of around 60% or higher. They're tropical insects, so they need conditions similar to their native habitat to breed. That means if a few get out, they can't cause an infestation because the conditions aren't right. They can't climb smooth surfaces (which is why they're in this plastic bin, it's smooth on the inside), they make no noise, and surprisingly they have very little odor.
The holes in the lid allow for ventilation and keeping the humidity level inside the bin from getting too high. The material over the opening under the lid is just a furnace filter and helps keep TOO much humidity from getting out, and also keeps any other insects (like house flies) from getting inside and potentially harming the roaches.
This isn't an ideal set-up for breeding at all, but since I only have the nymphs for the time being, it's adequate. However, once they start reaching maturity in a few months I'll be getting a much better container for them so they can have an optimal breeding habitat and I can start working on expanding the number of colonies I have :D.
And some pics of the dubias themselves
The egg flats give more surface area for the roaches, which are all nymphs for now. It also gives them places to hide. What look like dead ones are actually empty skins from molts. The stuff in and around the blue dish is food, and the weird-looking clear stuff is water crystals (it's safer for the roaches since they can't drown in it, it's more sanitary because it doesn't allow for mold or mildew as easily [mold destroys dubia roach colonies], and as it evaporates it's the source of humidity).
Black Soldier Fly larva (well mostly pupae)
The one in the last pic is stuck in that bit of potato lol. I got him out though no worries :3.
Mealworms and beetles wheeee
They're in this box because dark+warm helps them pupate faster. Being kept in individual cups keeps them from being disturbed by other mealworms and lets them molt and pupate without potentially being nibbled. The wonky-looking white thing is a recently-pupated mealworm; they darken to a red-brown the closer they are to emerging as beetles. The little dish I keep the adults in is fine for the three I have but soon I'm going to get a different set-up that will house worm, pupae and beetle without too much space being taken up. And for anyone wondering, the stuff in w/ the beetles and BSF larvae is oatmeal. They can both eat it and burrow into it.
And that's it for now! I hope to someday in the near future be able to breed these things and open a sort of mini business selling all sorts of different bugs. I'd say I have a decent start with the room I have available lol.