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#12202117 Mar 24, 2016 at 03:03 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
51 Posts
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.
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#12202255 Mar 24, 2016 at 03:51 PM
Marsh-Kin
6 Posts
Cool pictures. I'd love to know how the breeding of the roaches go. They're supposed to be excellent nutrition for reptiles as well. Once I have more space I'd like to try and maintain a sustainable population.
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#12202313 Mar 24, 2016 at 04:02 PM
51 Posts
Thanks, and yush! Dubia are supposed to be one of *the* best feeder bugs. They can live for up to two years and hold food in their guts for up to 72 hours I think it was, making them ideal for gut-loading. Plus very little exoskeleton and rich protein content. They're relatively easy to care for, or at least I've had no issues so far, but then again I only have like 50-ish nymphs of varying molt "level" so I probably don't have the experience to speak of ease yet lol.

But yes, once I get some breeding-age roaches I'll definitely keep you updated if you like :D. It'll take a few months after some become adults since the females only give birth to 30-40 nymphs every month. I might even end up buying a few adult breeders and a few hundred more nymphs tho, just to get my colony jumpstarted without needing to wait. Either way I'll keep you informed.
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#12202505 Mar 24, 2016 at 05:04 PM
51 Posts
Oh hey, some of the BSF pupae hatched :D.





And a video incoming as soon as it's done uploading lol.
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#12205439 Mar 25, 2016 at 02:01 PM
51 Posts
And here's the little clip of the BSFs that I forgot I'd uploaded until just a few moments ago >.>.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IInfw8nmlg&feature=youtu.be
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#12224638 Mar 31, 2016 at 09:56 AM
Marsh-Kin
33 Posts
Hmm I was debating on trying my hand at feeder husbandry for my lizards. Doesn't seem all that hard. Got to get a few things and maybe get a handle on a bug vendor to get me started. Unfortunately super worms have a tendency of cannibalism if they run out of food at times and I'm wondering if the beetles you're rearing might be better.
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#12227022 Mar 31, 2016 at 11:51 PM · Edited over 3 years ago
51 Posts
@Driggins
Mealworms and Darkling Beetles (what they grow up into) will nibble on smaller larvae and pupae, but it's generally easy enough to keep that from happening so long as they have enough space to get away from each other (mealworms) and enough food/substrate. Pupae do need to be separated as soon as they're noticed since they can't move, but aside from that it seems easy enough. Especially following a setup like this (which I intend to do in a few more weeks when more beetles emerge from their pupae and eggs have a chance of hatching):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8M2uessLgM

Pretty much self-sorting in terms of keeping the worms from the beetles, and then it's simply a matter of keeping an eye on the mealworms to sort pupae when they show up.

However, dubia roaches really are fairly easy to take care of from what I've seen so far. It's slow going when you only have a small number of nymphs like I do, but from videos I've seen you can go from a few hundred to several thousand in less than a year. They do require a bit more work to breed than Darkling Beetles/mealworms, but they're also much better nutritionally for reptiles and such.

Once I get my mealworms established and get a good number of roaches, I intend to start going to local pet stores and offering to sell to them directly. Since I can drive to them they wouldn't need to worry about shipping, or DOA bugs and stuff. I have high hopes :3.
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#12234446 Apr 03, 2016 at 07:50 AM
Marsh-Kin
33 Posts
*nodnods* thanks for the pointers. I did manage to get a mating pair at one point but it was short-lived. I think I'll make another attempt once I can get a few more and use the plastic containers they come in for the pupae and beetle stages.
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