How Do I Start a Dubia Roach Colony?

13th Aug 2020

How do I start a dubia roach colony?

Our Proven Tips and Advice

Many reptile owners think about starting their own Dubia roach colony. After all, if you can sustainably raise your roaches to breed and repopulate, you can save on the expense of ordering feeder insects. Keep in mind that starting and successfully maintaining a Dubia roach colony is not necessarily easy. It takes some solid planning, realistic expectations, and ongoing maintenance, but it can be very rewarding as well as cost effective.

Initial Planning: Make Your List and Check It Twice

Before you can start building and populating your colony, you will need to do a bit of shopping. Dubia roach colony supply lists may vary but most will include the following:

Plastic Storage Containers (2) 

You will need one to serve as the primary home for your roaches and a second to use for a temporary home while cleaning. Roaches need containers with smooth sides so they cannot easily climb out. You can also use petroleum jelly or tape along the inside top edge as a safety precaution.

Enclosure Cover with Ventilation

The simplest choice is to convert the lid of the plastic container. Cut a hole—about 6 inches by 6 inches—and hot glue vinyl mesh over the opening. Take extreme care to make sure you are using glue only on the exterior of the cover. Glue inside your colony can be very harmful to your roaches.

Egg Crates (8-12)

Dubia roaches love to stand and hide, and egg crates make the ideal playground. We recommend stacking them vertically.

Heat Source

As we will discuss, we recommend using a heat mat to maintain your roaches’ ideal tropical environment. You can use a different heat source but stay away from heat lamps.

Knife or Razor Blade

This one is obvious—you will need something for cutting your materials!

Hot Glue Gun

If you go the DIY route and convert your container lid to serve as a ventilated enclosure cover, you will need a glue gun.

Food and Water Source

There are many food options for your roaches, including oats, whole grain bread and cereal, dry fruits, and more. The most popular water source is water crystals, as these hydrate your roaches without risking mold or drowning. Pro tip: ABDragons sells roach housing kits that come with egg crates, water crystals, and roach chow—a great starter package.


You need roaches! We recommend starting with at least 100, but you can certainly start with more. Be sure to order your live roaches from a reliable supplier.

Designing Your Colony: It’s Getting Hot in Here

There is one word to keep in mind when preparing your Dubia roach colony: tropical! Dubia roaches are tropical insects, and they like it hot and humid! Your roaches will need a minimum heat of 68 degrees, but higher is better. We recommend a daytime temperature between 85 and 95 degrees and a mid-to-high humidity range of 40 to 60 percent. This is achievable with a heat source like heat tape or a heating mat. We generally advise Dubia roach breeders to stay away from heat lamps as your roaches are nocturnal. They will not respond well to the constant light.

Tips for Breeding: Don’t Rush the Process

You will be eager for your colony to begin breeding, but you cannot rush the process. It will likely take about 6 weeks before you notice any reproduction. Don’t worry. Once your roaches begin to breed at their maximum rate, they will reproduce quickly. Newborn roaches—referred to as “nymphs”—start reproducing within 3 months.

  • Aim for a ratio of 3-5 females for every male in your colony.
  • To maintain the ratio and avoid gender domination within the colony, feed off either the older males or females first.
  • Make sure you continue to meet the ideal conditions, hot and humid, for your roaches. If they are not comfortable, they will not breed!

We have additional resources regarding Dubia roach breeding if you need more information.

Ongoing Maintenance: Keep It Clean

While you will not need to clean your Dubia roach colony every day, or even every week, you will need to stick to a regular maintenance schedule and adhere to some best practices.

  • Clean the colony every 2-4 weeks to remove droppings. This is where your second plastic tub will come in handy as a place to relocate your roaches temporarily.
  • Mold is lethal to a Dubia roach colony. Remove uneaten fruit and vegetables from the enclosure before they have a chance to rot or grow mold.

We are here to help answer any questions you may have about starting your own Dubia roach colony. We also carry many supplies—and of course, Dubia roaches—that will be helpful. Shop online and give us a call if you need us!

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