The Ultimate Guide for Purchasing Dubia Roaches and Using them for Lizard Food

30th Mar 2015

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If you are a pet owner, you want what is best for your animal companion. And if you are the proud owner of a reptile or amphibian pet, figuring out exactly what that means can be a lot harder than if you owned a cat or a dog. What will keep your lizard healthy and happy, and what do you need to know to ensure that your lizard pet lives a good life? In this guide, we will tackle one of the most persistent and important questions related to owning a reptilian pet: what exactly should your lizard eat?

In this definitive resource on Dubia roaches, we will tackle all of the questions that surround purchasing roaches and using them for lizard food, and will argue that Dubias are just about the best thing under the sun to feed your reptile. Read to the end of this resource, and you will know everything there is to know about Dubia roaches as a lizard food source.

Introduction: What Are Dubia Roaches?

The Dubia roach, alternatively known as a “Guyana spotted roach,” “Orange spotted roach,” or “Argentine roach.” and scientifically labeled the Blaptica dubia, is a variety of medium to large cockroach native to Central and South America. Male Dubias reach a length of about 4 cm, while the bulkier females can be over 4.5cm in length. In addition to the difference in size between females and males, the roaches are dimorphic, meaning there are some noticeable differences between the two sexes to the trained eye. Namely, males have developed wings, and the abdomen section of females is usually darker, though coloration varies widely between individual roaches.

Besides their appearance, there are some important characteristics of Dubia roaches that we will discuss in depth later on but that are worth mentioning here. Dubias do not fly, and they are not good climbers, making them easy to store and largely not very mobile in captivity. Additionally, they don’t smell and they aren’t bound to infest your house or creep out your family if you use the information in this guide to your advantage. In general, you should forget everything you think you know about cockroaches when approaching Dubias: stigmas about roaches being dangerous, smelly, and unmanageable couldn’t be more untrue when dealing with Dubia roaches.

So why should you care? What’s the big deal about Dubias, anyway? As you will learn in this guide, experts agree that Dubia roaches are one of the best food sources for reptiles available. And Dubias are a versatile food source, appropriate for feeding to a wide variety of insect eating pets including reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. From tarantulas to bearded dragons, Dubia roaches are a perfect feeding insect. And a comparison of Dubias versus other popular food sources will highlight why in more depth,

Part 1: Dubia Roaches vs. Crickets: an Overview of Dubia as Superior Food Source

If you own a pet that eats insects, chances are you are somewhat familiar with crickets. Crickets are one of the most popular food sources for lizards and other bug eaters, due mainly to the fact that crickets are so widely available and have been used as feeding insects in the pet industry for so long. But using crickets as the primary food source for your lizards or other pets has some huge drawbacks.

First, crickets are adept escape artists. They are very good at jumping, scuttling, and otherwise running away, and even the most experienced handlers recognize the fact that cricket escape is an inevitable part of using the insects as a food source. Especially for individuals who don’t like to handle insects, methods for moving and handling crickets can lead to their escape. And you can be sure that your neighbors and family won’t be too happy about your crickets running loose.

Second, even when crickets stay where they are supposed to, they aren’t exactly the most pleasant thing to have in your home. They are notoriously foul odored, and their smell can linger in your whole house. Additionally, they are naturally very loud insects, and while their song may seem romantic or fun at first, when you are keeping hundreds of crickets as a food source their noisiness sounds more like a ruckus than a lullaby.

Overall, crickets are finicky insects. If you aren’t extremely careful, crickets die quickly, and won’t be of any interest to your lizard who craves a living snack. Housing crickets can be tricky, and you will need to know about what environments crickets like to breed in and set up several different environments for your bugs. Taking into consideration the smell, noise, finickiness, and ease with which these little jumpers escape, it is clear that crickets aren’t necessarily the best pet food source, even if they are the most common. And just about every expert knows this. So what’s the alternative?

Compared to crickets, Dubia roaches have a lot going for them. First, where crickets are adept at escaping and will evade even expert handlers, Dubias are not adept at getting out of captivity. They are slower than crickets, and don’t jump. This fact combined with the fact that they  don’t climb means that your Dubias won’t be able to get out of their containment area, as long as you set-up housing that is tall and smooth enough to easily keep them in check (more on housing Dubia roaches later in this guide)

Second, Dubias are much more pleasant to house than crickets on almost every metric. They don’t smell. They are almost completely silent. Their housing requirements are easy to setup and maintain, and are a lot less nuanced than the multiple housing areas your crickets will require. All of the stigma that comes with the word “roach: should really be tossed out the window: Dubias are quiet, odorless, easy, and you won’t even know they are there until you need them. Plus, they aren’t just easy. They are actually  more nutritious for your pets, too!

While exotic pet veterinarians and reptile enthusiasts alike all agree that Dubias are one of the best and easiest food sources you can rely on to make sure your pet stays healthy, there are other feeder insects out there other than Dubais and crickets.

But compared to allother feeders, Dubias still win out. Mealworms are a popular food source for reptiles and other pets, but like other feeder worms, they aren’t as nutritionally balanced as Dubias and are too high in fat for an everyday food source for your pet. Other forms of roaches may be nutritionally comparable, but Dubias are special in how docile they are and how easy they are to keep. You could do a head to head breakdown of Dubais versus every other food source on the market, not just crickets, and still come up with the same conclusion: the Dubia roach is a superior food source for all of your pet’s feeding needs.

Part 2: Where to Buy Dubia Roaches

With all of the many pros and very few cons of using Dubia roaches as your pets’ main feeder insect, you may be itching to buy some Dubias as soon as you can. And we don’t blame you. But the fact is, it can be hard or impossible to find Dubia roaches in pet stores, and it can take a bit of knowledge just to get your hands on these miracle feeders.

So why aren’t Dubias sold widely in pet stores? Two reasons: crickets are king, and people don’t understand roaches. With the mainstream market so dominated by crickets as a feeding insect, there isn’t much room for other food sources in pet stores. Sometimes different breeds of worms are stocked, but the ubiquity of crickets makes it hard for other insects to compete. And there is a lot of lingering stigma about “roaches” in general, with your average consumer not understanding that Dubias are a safe and sanitary food source.

But you know better: after only reading a small portion of this guide, you’re among the legion of pet owners who know that Dubias can be a great food source for all of your insect eating pets, especially lizards and other reptiles. So where can you buy Dubia roaches?

The most popular place to find Dubias is online. Since Dubia roaches are so hardy and durable, they ship well, and you can order Dubias off of the internet and be confident that they will arrive in good condition and ready for your use. A good web store will sell Dubias in a range of sizes, and a “mixed group” is usually the best place to start and will usually run you between $25-30 before shipping. You may be able to find them cheaper online somewhere, but buying from a reputable shop means your roaches will arrive healthy and will be reliable, so don’t cut corners.

And don’t fret too much about the fact that Dubias can be hard to find and need to be ordered off of the internet. One of the best parts of using Dubia roaches as a food source is that, with the right techniques and know-how, you won’t need to buy new roaches very frequently at all.

Part 3: Dubia Roach Colonies and Breeding

What exactly is a “roach colony,” and why are they one of the best reasons why you should be using Dubia roaches as your primary feeder insect? The term “colony” refers to the housing that you keep your roaches in, and the practice of raising your roaches in a sustainable manner so that they breed and re-populate.

Maintaining a colony takes a bit of work, and it certainly isn’t the “easy way out” when it comes to keeping your reptilian friend fed. But keeping a roach colony has some big benefits too. First, if your roaches repopulate, you will save money, as you won’t need to order new feeders as often if at all. Second, your food source will be reliable: with a well run colony, you won’t have to worry about running out of roaches or if your next batch will arrive on time, since you will already have all of the insects your lizard could ever eat.

So how exactly can you get your colony started? First it is important to learn a bit more about Dubia roaches, and specifically about what kinds of conditions they need to be kept in in order to thrive and reproduce. Dubias aren’t as finicky as crickets or other feeders, but they are still

a tropical insect, and there are some things you need to consider when designing your feeder colony.

Since they are accustomed to the tropics, your roach colony will need a heat source if you want your Dubias to reproduce. You will want to keep your roaches at a minimum temperature of 68 degrees to insure they survive, but higher temperatures are preferable and will insure your Dubias breed like they should. Daytime temperatures ranging from 85-95 degrees are ideal. Generally, many of the same techniques you would use to keep any reptile warm can be used to heat your Dubia colony, though you should stay away from heat lamps. A basic reptile heat tape or heat mat is your best bet.

A second byproduct of the Dubia’s tropical heritage is that they prefer mid to high humidity. But while Dubias prefer some moisture in the air, they can breed successfully and your colony can survive fine if you live in a moderately humid area. To be extra safe, invest in a basic hygrometer to gauge the humidity levels of your roach colony, and shoot for a 40-60% humidity rate. With a full bowl of water crystals (more on this later) you won’t have to worry too much about hitting these rates. But if you live in a very dry area some basic misting can be performed to keep your colony in this range.

Now that you know some of the basics of what Dubias need to thrive and reproduce in their new colony, what do you need to do to get your colony established? First, make sure you have the right materials on hand to build an appropriate colony for your roaches. Here is a basic material list of what you will need:

●Roaches! 100 is a good number to start with, and more is fine. For a healthy colony, you don’t want to start with too few Dubias, as you want your colony to have lots of genetic diversity and you want to be sure that reproduction happens quickly.

●A large plastic bin with a lid. Any plastic storage container will do fine, but you want to be sure it is solid colored and isn’t letting too much light in, as your Dubias love the dark. You will want a bin that is at least 22 gallons, and a Sterilite storage bin is a good choice.

●A large piece of cloth/mesh/netting or aluminum mesh. We recommend screen door mesh, which you can buy at a hardware store for cheap. This will be used for ventilation, and a 10” by 10” piece should be fine. Whatever material you use for this step make sure it is something that is durable, and will let in air without letting in other insects or letting out any Dubias.

●8-10 egg crates.

●Your heat source (tape or pad, no lights!)

●A sharp knife, exacto knife, or razor blade.

●Hot glue gun

●Food and water source (more on this later)

Once you have assembled all you need for your roach colony, it is time to get to work building your Dubia’s new home! This whole process isn’t too hard and won’t take you long, but be sure to take care and pay attention in every step to ensure that your colony leads to healthy, happy roaches.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, use your knife to cut a hole in the lid of your storage container. Your hole should be 8” by 8”, and doesn’t have to be too straight or pretty, as long as it gets the job done. PLEASE NOTE: don’t let a child perform this step, as cutting plastic can be dangerous and lead to cuts in inexperienced hands.

Once you have an 8” by 8” hole in your lid, use your mesh to cover the hole. We recommend the kind of wire mesh used in screen doors, which you can get at any hardware store, because it is very sturdy and durable, and will provide an effective barrier while letting in enough air. Once the hole is covered by your mesh, use a hot glue gun to glue the mesh in place. NOTE: be sure that you are gluing on the OUTSIDE of your new roach colony, as glue can be toxic to roaches if it finds it’s way into the actual colony.

Now, you can position your heat tape or heat pad into your new roach colony. A good rule of thumb is to put heat tape on one side of your plastic housing, so that roaches can get away from the heat source if it is too hot or they are uncomfortable. Once your heat source is positioned, place your egg crates into the housing next. Lean the crates vertically against one side of your plastic container. These will afford your roaches some places to hide, and leaning them rather than stacking them makes your colony easier to clean and affords more space for your Dubias.

That’s about all that it takes to set up the physical landscape of your new feeder colony. Next you will want to make sure there is enough food and water crystals in your colony to keep your new roaches nourished (more on this later) and then you can begin introducing the Dubias to their new home. Feel free to dump your roaches into their new colony somewhat unceremoniously: while you shouldn’t drop them from too high, they are durable and you don’t need to handle them too delicately to make them happy. As a side note, be sure to wash your hands before and after handling your roaches, to make sure that they and you don’t get contaminated.

To recap, here are a few things that you DON’T want in your new Dubia colony. Don’t use a heat lamp for a heat source, as Dubias are nocturnal and won’t respond well to the light. Make sure there are no other bugs or animals in your plastic storage bin before you introduce your Dubias. Be sure that water is provided through water crystals and not a water bowl (more on feeding soon). Don’t use a substrate. Some guides recommend it, but roaches don’t need it, and it will make it harder to keep your colony clean and to catch small roaches.

That’s about all you need to do to get your colony under way. But how often can you expect your roaches to breed, and what will the breeding patterns of your roaches be like in general?

When they breed at their maximum rate, your Dubias will reproduce very quickly, part of what makes them an ideal food source. Newly born Dubias are called “nymphs,” and these nymphs will start reproducing themselves within about 3 months and reach full adulthood in 4-5 months. With males living about 9 months to a year and females living about 18 months to two years, and with females birthing a new “clutch” of 20-35 nymphs every two months, your colony will grow quickly and can sustain itself indefinitely from a start of 100-200 roaches.

In order to optimizere production rates, you want to shoot for a ratio of about 3-5 females for every male in your colony. In order to maintain this ratio, “feed off” either the older and larger males or females if you notice one gender dominating. If you are feeding a large number of pets and want to absolutely optimize reproductive levels, you can set up three housing containers: one for nymphs, one for reproductive age medium sized Dubias, and one for older non-reproducing roaches. Though for most people’s needs, this is overkill, and your colony will do just fine reproducing itself if you take care to meet the conditions above.

If your Dubias aren’t breeding, there are a few things you can do. First, wait and be patient. Your females will only lay nymphs every two months or so, so even if everything is going as it should you may not see any nymphs getting laid until you’ve had your colony for six weeks or more. Second, make sure that all of the conditions above are met. Especially, make sure that your colony is warm enough and wet enough, as your Dubias won’t breed if they aren’t living in conditions that are good for them. If you set up your colony right, make sure your roaches get enough food and stay warm, and have some patience, breeding shouldn’t be any issue.

To maintain your colony and ensure that your roaches continue to breed at high rates, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that your colony is healthy and functioning well. First, keep a general eye on the male to female ratio of your roaches, and “feed off” a gender if the balance goes too far from the recommended 3 to 5 females to males. Second, inspect your colony for mold often, and make sure that none is forming. This shouldn’t be an issue as long as you are careful about food and water, but it is something worth being extra careful about since mold is so deadly to roaches. Finally, your roach colony shouldn’t take too much cleaning, but you can clean your colony if it starts to smell, as any odor related with Dubias is usually from dead and decaying roaches in your colony. To clean your colony, transfer your roaches to another storage bin temporarily, and brush out your colony container with a paper towel or small broom.

One last thing to note is that you should wait until your colony is actively reproducing before you use it as a primary food source for your pets. If you wait until your colony is self sufficient, you may never have to buy feeder insects again, but if you rush the process your colony won’t stabilize and you won’t see the kind of reproduction rates you need in order to keep your roach numbers where you want them.

Part 4: Feeding your Dubia Roaches

Your newly acquired Dubias are hardy survivors, and if you don’t pay any attention to what you feed them they won’t die quickly like other feeder insects. But even with the inherent toughness of Dubia roaches, you should care what you feed these guys for two reasons. First, if you feed your Dubias well, and they get all of the nutrients they need, your feeder colony will do well and your roaches will produce and you won’t need to buy feeder insects in the future. Second, the nutritional content of your roaches is highly influenced by what they are eating, and if you want your pets to be fully nourished and get all they can out their roach diet, then you should care about what your Dubias are eating too.

The staple of your roaches’ diet should be “roach chow,” a term for a roach specific food that you can make from a variety of recipes or buy online at a reasonable price. Buying chow online will mean that you are sure your roaches are getting the nutrition they need, but there are lots of good DIY recipes as well if you would prefer to mix your own roach food.

Roach Chow can be bought or made. Roach Chow should be available to your roaches all the time. There are many different recipes that keepers make and for the most part, they are all provide good nutrition for your roaches. If you are interested in roach chow, we carry it here at ABDragons. We offer both dry food and gel.

From there, you should concentrate on enrichening your chow with vitamins and minerals for the remaining 10% of your recipe. Dry vitamin and protein powders can be good, and some recipes recommend using a fish food pellet. Grinding up fortified breakfast cereals can be a good idea too. Browse some of the many recipes available online, and experiment a bit. Whatever you throw in your roach chow, make sure that all of your ingredients are

dry. In preparing your chow, you will want to mix all of your ingredients together into one powder. Use a blender or food processor if you have one.

Once you have prepared your chow, you will want to make sure that your roaches have a constant supply of the food source. Put a medium sized bowl in your roach colony, and keep it filled. If you have a lot of roaches, consider two smaller bowls, spaced out for easy access. Just be sure that your bowls are getting constantly replenished, as your roaches will grow and breed fastest if they get all the food they can eat.

In addition to “roach chow,” you should provide your Dubias with a regular source offruits and vegetables. This will make your roaches happier and healthier, as they are accustomed to getting some flora in their diet. Carrots are a great choice, as are apples, grapes, oranges, and bananas. Just make sure that whatever fruits and vegetable you introduce are sliced small enough for roach consumption, and that you maintain some sort of variety in order to be sure that your Dubias are getting all of the vitamins and minerals that fruits and veggies have to offer.

Typically, fruits and vegetables should be introduced into your roach colony at least once and ideally twice a week. After putting the healthy fruits and veggies into your colony, be sure to monitor closely and make sure that the materials don’t mold. Any uneaten materials should be removed after 48 hours at the latest to be sure that mold and rot doesn’t contaminate your colony.

And speaking of mold, you should be very careful about providing a water source for your Dubia roaches. Just leaving a full water dish in your colony is a very very bad idea. First, roaches are very susceptible to drowning, especially your nymphs and smaller Dubias. Second, the presence of water which can be splashed and make a mess can lead to mold, which is disastrous for your colony and can wipe out all of your Dubias very quickly. While you do need to keep your roaches hydrated, a basic bowl of water is NOT the way to go about it.

Instead, your roach colony should rely on water crystalsfor a hydration source. A bowl full of water crystals will keep your roaches healthy without putting them in danger of mold or drowning, and is really the best thing there is for your colony’s success. Some guide recommend a wet sponge or paper towel, to avoid the danger of drowning. But such methods are very prone to creating mold, which again is deadly to Dubia’s and can destroy all of your hard work. While roaches are typically hardy and easy to care for, water crystals aren’t something you can compromise on or get away with. Anything else jeopardizes your colony.

In general, your roaches won’t be picky eaters and should be fairly easy to feed and water. A constantly full bowl of chow and a full bowl of water crystals will keep your roaches happy, and the addition of fruits and vegetable at least once a week will keep them healthy. If your roaches aren’t reproducing, make sure that they are getting enough chow. And whatever you do, be sure not to use a basic water bowl or leave moldy fruit in your colony, as the results are disastrous.

Part 5: Dubia Roach Nutrition: an In Depth Look

From a economical sense, Dubias are clearly one of the best food sources you can consider, as it is so easy to develop and maintain a colony that will mean you never have to buy feeder insects again. And beyond that Dubias are easy: they don’t escape or smell or make lots of noise, and they are hardy and have a long life cycle. But if all of those practical considerations still don’t have you convinced that Dubias are a superior feeding insect, an in-depth look at the nutritional content of these roaches will prove that they are the best thing to feed your lizard or other pet.

A quick look at a headto head comparison of Dubias versus other common feeder insects shows just how nutritious they are. Compared to crickets, Dubia roaches have a higher protein rate than crickets and almost all other common feeder insects. As hobbyists and experts alike have long noted, high protein content in feeder insects translates into healthier reptiles, as your pets need this important nutrient in order to remain nourished and it is something that domesticated animals in general can miss out on.

Additionally, Dubias are fairly low in fat compared to other common feeder insects. Insects that are high in fat can cause some dietary concerns for your reptiles and other pets, but you won’t have to worry about this if you rely on Dubias as a primary food source. The goal behind providing live feeder insects to your reptile or other pet is to recreate similar conditions to their natural feeding environment, and the high protein to fat ratio of Dubias meets this goal well.

But the nutritional value of Dubia roaches doesn’t just revolve around what the roaches contain, but what they don’t contain as well. First off, they are much less likely than cricketsand other feeder insects to be infected by and transmit dangerous parasites, and as a result are a less “risky” feeder overall. This contributes to their heartiness, and the longevity of Dubia roach colonies, but also is a big plus in their “nutritional” column.

Two other things to consider as pluses for Dubia roaches on the nutritional front are their low levels of chitin and moisture. Chitin is a fibrous component of all insects exoskeletons, and small amounts are fine for your reptile to consume. But large amount have been shown to be dangerous, and cause cause digestion issues and other concerns for your pets. Dubia roaches have relatively soft outer shells, and are very low in chitin compared to most insects. Compared to other feeders, Dubias are also very low in moisture, and their low water content means that that your pets are getting more meat and nutrition by weight then they are when consuming crickets or other common feeders.

Which speaks to one of the biggest nutritional benefits of Dubia roaches: nutritional density. While some feeder insects may have similar protein and fat levels as Dubias, no other feeder delivers so much nutrition in such a dense package. Whereas a full grown bearded dragon lizard may eat 10-15 crickets per day for example, that same lizard will be happy eating only 3 Dubia roaches. Roaches are meatier than other feeder insects, and contain less water and thinner skeletons, delivering an overall “bigger bang for your buck” nutritionally speaking than any other feeder. That’s good for you, as you won’t need to manage as many Dubias as you would crickets or other feeders. And it’s good for your pets, as they will get all of their nutrition in a more compact, easier to digest package.

And from a micro-nutritional, vitamin and mineral perspective, Dubias are big winners as well. At 312 mg/kg calcium, Dubia roaches are very high in calcium compared to other insects, and a high calcium diet means your pets won’t suffer from bone disease and other complications. While many reptiles require very high calcium levels above and beyond those provided by any feeder insect, and you may still need to “dust” your Dubias with a calcium dust before feeding them to your lizard, they have a relatively high calcium ratio.

Studies have shown that most feeder insects, from worms to other kinds of roaches, are too low in vitamin content to be a good primary source of food for your hungry reptiles. But this is not the case with Dubias. Vitamin levels are higher in Dubias than any other feeder insect, when nutritional density is taken into account.

Ultimately, Dubias aren’t perfect, but no feeder insects are. As the owner of a lizard or other insect eating pet, you know that there are lots of nutritional concerns you need to keep in mind, and that your reptile’s diet is important. From an all around, balanced perspective, Dubias are the absolute best feeder insect that you will find. Their high protein content, high vitamin and calcium levels, low fat and chitin levels, and relative nutritional density compared to other feeders means they are the perfect feeders for your reptile.

Yes, Dubias are economical and easy. But that’s not the only reason why they are the right choice for your lizard’s food. Acclaimedreptile zoos around the world and exotic pet experts alike love Dubia roaches because they are the best thing that you can feed your reptiles. From a nutritional perspective, their incredible nutritional density means they win out in all other head to head competitions, and are the perfect thing to feed your reptile, amphibian, or other insect chomping pet. Going with Dubias over crickets or other less nutritious alternatives means your pets will be healthier, better nourished, and live better lives as a result.

Part 6: Feeding Dubia Roaches to your Lizard

By this point in our guide, you’ve learned a whole lot about Dubia roaches, from all of their nutritional and practical benefits as a feeder insect, to where you can buy Dubias, to setting up your very own sustainable Dubia roach colony. If you are ready to make the leap and start feeding your lizard pet Dubia roaches as soon as possible, there’s probably just one question left on your mind: how exactly do you feed Dubias to your pets?

Remember, one of the biggest pluses of using Dubias as a primary food source is that they are slow, can’t escape easily, and are generally durable and hearty, all of which are characteristics that will make them easier to feed to your lizard than most feeder insects. But there are still a few things to keep in mind when you are handling Dubias for a use as a food source.

First, it will be easiest for you to grab the Dubias in your colony that are hiding or resting on egg crates. These Dubias will be in a more docile state, and you can pick them up easily with tongs. Alternatively, pick up an egg crate with a few roaches onboard, and gently shake the roaches into a glass jar or into a smooth sided vessel. Funnels can work well to capture all of the Dubias without dropping any. If you do drop one, don’t panic: these guys are slow, and you can quickly grab any potential escapees with a pair of tongs or a gloved hand.

Depending on the nutritional needs of your reptile, you will then likely need to coat your roaches with a calcium and/or vitamin nutritional powder, as you would with a cricket or any other feeder insect. Use the popular “shake and bake” method that you would use with any feeder to accomplish this goal. First, place your Dubias in a closed jar, then sprinkle them with the appropriate nutritional powder, and then gently “shake” the jar until the Dubias are covered. Again, this step may or may not be necessary depending on the dietary needs of your specific reptile, and be sure to contact your vet to discuss what kind of special calcium and vitamin powders your lizard will benefit from when using Dubias as a primary food source.

Next, you can offer your Dubias to your reptile pet. Smooth, steep sided feeding dishes will work best, as roaches can’t climb well and depositing them in a dish like this will mean they will be waiting and ready when your reptile comes to feed. If your reptile lives in a glass terrarium or otherwise smooth sided enclosed area, you can dump the Dubias directly into the enclosed space, and let your lizard hunt the Dubias down before feasting. Unlike crickets, who have sharp fangs and can bother reptilian pets, uneaten Dubias won’t cause much hassle, and you can easily remove them from your reptile’s cage or leave them for a day or two for your lizard to find and eat. Just make sure not to mix female and males Dubias in your feeding, as you don’t want breeding to occur in your reptile’s terrarium.

Many lizards and other pets will quickly learn to grab Dubias directly from a pair of tongs, and you can present them this way if your pet doesn’t respond well to other methods. In general, it may take some experimentation before your reptile consumes Dubias quickly, just like any other food source. But roaches are slow and easy to manage, so the stakes are low as you find the perfect feeding method for your lizard.

If you have a lizard or reptile who doesn’t like to hunt, or is a slow stalker due to age or illness, fear not! While Dubias are already fairly slow moving, you can slow them down even further for picky pets. Since Dubias are tropical, they don’t respond well to cold, and you can quickly put your roaches in the freezer in a jar in order to slow them down. Only leave roaches in the freezer for one minute increments. Feel free to put them back in for several one minute shifts if one doesn’t slow them down enough, but don’t leave them in for longer than a minute, as your reptile won’t be too interested in dead, frozen roaches.

One more thing to consider when feeding Dubia roaches to your lizard or other pet: different sized reptiles will need different sized insects as their main food source, but Dubias grow slowly enough that you will be able to find the right sized roach for any reptile in your colony! You should consult your veterinarian or get in contact with an expert when determining what sized insects are appropriate for your reptile, but here are some general suggestions where Dubias are concerned.

●For small and “micro” sized reptiles, newly born Dubia nymphs are the perfect treat. Even small geckos, which only reach 2 inches by adulthood and are getting increasingly popular, can enjoy Dubia nymphs. It should be noted though that younger roaches are faster and better at climbing, so consider using the freezer trick above to slow down young nymphs before feeding them to your micro reptile. Nymphs may be slowed down sufficiently after only 30 seconds of freezer time, so be careful not to over-freeze young Dubias, and use your best judgement.

●For mid sized reptiles, like 9” leopard geckos or 24” bearded dragons, Dubias are a great primary food source. Consider medium sized, partially grown Dubias for lizards on the smaller side of this scale, and full sized and older Dubias for larger mid sized lizards. Err on the size of larger: if roaches are too small, your reptile may not be interested.

●For large reptiles in the three foot and up range, Dubias can be a tasty snack, but may be too small to act as a primary food source. Feel free to feed your larger reptiles and size Dubias that they like.

In general, another benefit of Dubias is that your reptile can probably handle a larger sized Dubia roach than they could a cricket or other feeder insect. This is again because roaches are somewhat docile and slow moving, but also because Dubias have thin exoskeletons compared to other feeders, and generally won’t provide the kind of choking hazard sometime present when feeding large insects to small lizards.

Dubias can also be fed to a large variety types, not just sizes. Roaches make an ideal feeder source for nocturnal reptiles who like to hunt, as Dubias will be the most active after dark and will interest your prowling pet. Diurnal reptiles, or those primarily active during the day, also will enjoy Dubias, as your roaches will be scurrying and looking for a dark place to hide as soon as you set them down in your reptile enclosure, and their frantic movements will peek a daytime hunter’s curiosity. Arboreal reptiles, or those who live in trees in the wild and love to climb, may not be as interested in non-climbing ground dwelling roaches as other reptile pets are, but with a pair of tongs you can feed roaches to your climbing lizard pet directly.

No matter the size or variety of your lizard pet, Dubias can make a good food source with a little experimentation and a consideration of the info above. In general, Dubias aren’t hard to handle, and you shouldn’t have a lot of trouble feeding them to your lizard pet. Just remember to always wash your hands before and after handling roaches, and to keep your hungry lizards fed!

Conclusion: Dubia Roaches, The Perfect Lizard Food

On a wide variety of metrics, Dubia roaches are the perfect feeder insect for your reptilian pet. From a practical standpoint, Dubias are quiet, not very good at escaping, and odorless. From an economic perspective, they are very cheap overall, as a well set-up colony can keep your lizards fed for life from a start of 100-200 roaches. And from a nutritional perspective, Dubias offer a high-protein, nutrient dense option to keep your lizards and other insect eating pets well nourished. Compared to crickets, feeder worms, and other kinds of feeder insects, Dubia roaches are a clear winner and the perfect lizard food.

And yet, they remain almost impossible to find in pet stores and generally not as widely used as crickets as a primary feeder source. This is due mostly to misconceptions about roaches in general: that they are smelly, vicious, and a menace. Compared to household roaches that are native to North America or thrive here, Dubias can’t produce outside of their colonies in most environments, so an “infestation” is almost impossible. In general, all of the stigma that surrounds roaches is misplaced when it comes to Dubias.

But since you won’t be able to find Dubias in the store, your best bet to getting your colony is ordering Dubia roaches online.Start by ordering 100-200 medium sized roaches or a mixed group. Order medium sized if you are hoping for your colony to be self reproducing quickly, as medium sized roaches are most likely to be nearing their prime reproductive frequency. While that may feel like a big investment at first, by buying 200 roaches now, your colony will get established quicker, and you won’t ever have to buy a feeder insect again.

After you have decided what roach size and quantities you will start with, order the other supplies you need, like egg cartons , roach chow, and the essential water crystals. Then, revisit the earlier section of this guide about constructing your first colony, gather all the supplies you need, and get to work making your roaches a new home.

Ultimately, if you get over the roach stigma, you will find that Dubia roaches are the perfect feeder source for your lizards and other reptilian pets. Investing in a roach colony means your reptiles will be healthy, happy, and well fed for years and years to come. If you have any questions about getting your own colony started, feel free to contact us.

What was the most interesting thing you read in this guide? Did we change your mind about Dubia roaches as a reptilian food source? Please share our guide.

For a limited time only, use the coupon code "ROACHES" and receive 20% off your all Dubia and Orange Heads.

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