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About BlattaAnglicana

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  1. Do you mean Or another (US based?) BugNation site? If it's the UK one, I can get to the forum web site ( and there have been people posting on there recently (including today), although I don't think it's a very well used forum as the posts don't often get answered and are quite few and far between. So if you mean "dead" in the sense of unused then maybe that's true, but the web site is certainly still there.
  2. I think you said your hissers were males? If so I don't think this is anything to be too worried about - male hissers fight a lot and often clip each others' antennae short as part of the fight. I have a couple of Elliptorhina javanica males which now have little more than stubs for antennae, as they are always fighting, and they seem otherwise to be perfectly healthy - it doesn't seem to stop them feeding or otherwise getting around OK so I think your hisser will be perfectly fine. Not sure why they do this, I read somewhere it could be that rival males clip the antennae of their "opponents" to stop them smelling out a female so effectively, but I don't know if that's true or not!
  3. Quick update now I'm back - the hissers ate absolutely every morsel of what I gave them (including three large whole carrots and what I thought was plenty of lettuce leaves in water, oats and cat food) so clearly I should have left them more than I did! I hadn't realised quite how much a colony of about 50 hissers, about 75% adults by now, could eat in six days I did lose a couple of nymphs whilst I was away unfortunately - I don't know whether it was anything to do with not leaving them enough food, or whether it was because it has been particularly hot (30 degrees Celsius plus - very unusual for this time of year) in the UK whilst I was away, or whether it was just "one of those things" and they would have died anyway even if I had not been away and had been feeding them properly. However the rest of them all looked healthy and active on the day I got back (if hungry - they hoovered up a couple of pesto jar lids full of oats and half a banana in one night after I fed them when I got back!) and so far I have not had any other losses, so I am hopeful that having no food for a day or two hasn't had any lasting effect. The javanica are all doing fine including the tiny nymphs - as far as I can tell (I haven't been able to count them definitively as they are so tiny and hide away in the smallest cracks in the cork bark) they have all survived and I have seen a couple of them successfully go through their first moult too since I returned, which I hope is a good sign. So there were no problems with leaving them at all, and they had enough food, but that colony is much smaller (18 adults and probably about 10-12 babies) so they don't seem to eat anything near as much. The best thing is my automatic misting system (Mistking) is working absolutely brilliantly - it is one of the more expensive systems out there but I can say now it is worth every penny. You do need to experiment with the spraying intervals and timings over a week or two to get the amount of humidity right, but once I'd worked out a routine I found it keeps their cages nicely humid without being so damp that mould becomes a problem. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone going away for more than a couple of days and it really takes the worry out of humidity control in their cages for me in the future. The intention was to use it just for holidays but in fact I think I will probably just keep it running from now on to save me the bother of having to hand mist every day Thankfully I'm not going to be away that long again for a while although I have a couple of long weekends coming up, and this time I'll be sure to leave the hissers a lot more food than I did before!
  4. I don't sterilise the coco coir if I've bought it from a pet shop or online reptile/invert store as I expect it to be sterile anyway - it's generally stuff I don't know the provenance of I sterilise first, i.e. stuff brought in from the local park and cork bark that has been hanging about in a vendor's box for goodness knows how long! I do wash other decorations like bowls and plastic plants before I put them in, but don't microwave them. Personally I would wash the gravel too, especially if it's covered in dust.
  5. It basically kills off any fungi, bacteria or other things that might cause disease or mould in the cage. You need to do it for several minutes which is why things should be soaked first as it will then be less likely to dry out and catch fire.
  6. I feed mine organic food so I can be sure the risk of pesticides is lower (though not completely zero, contrary to popular belief!), but I also peel anything that has a rind (apple, pear, carrot, courgette etc.) and give any other fresh food that I can't peel (lettuce, broccoli, etc.) a good wash before I put it in the tank anyway. FWIW my staple dry food is organic porridge oats plus premium cat treats (the only thing I give them that isn't organic - organic dry cat food seems hard to come by in the UK), for other protein I sometimes feed them beans (haricot, cannellini and chick peas), and for fruit/veg they usually get a mixture of apple, banana (their favourite!), orange (without peel), broccoli, lettuce, sweetcorn, baby peas and carrot depending on what I have spare in the fridge! I do try to remove anything that is going off before it gets mouldy as I don't believe it's good for them to have mould in the cage. I also sterilise anything "natural" like cork bark (which they will eat) or oak leaves that I put in the cage by soaking in boiling water then microwaving for a few minutes (be sure to keep an eye on it, if things like wood or bark start to dry out they can catch fire!) before letting them cool and putting them in the cage. I have had a few losses over the 8-9 months I've had them, but I'm pretty sure none of them was to do with the food I give them, and my colony is now growing so hopefully I've been doing something right!
  7. Thanks Hisserdude - I guess that's probably true, given the problems and complications I know live birth can cause. The two I had die from prolapse after giving birth certainly show it can cause them a lot of physical damage, so I guess even if the birth is successful it must take a lot out of them. There still must be some evolutionary advantage to it otherwise live birth surely would never have evolved if the risks to the female outweighed the advantages by too much. I assume it must be the much higher likelihood of the eggs hatching successfully when incubated inside the female vs predation or other loss in an external ootheca? Anyway, I isolated this female overnight in case she had something contagious and although she is still alive this morning she is very weak, so sadly I will be putting her in the freezer today At least in some consolation she gave birth to two small litters of about 8 nymphs each in my care, and I think most of them have survived to adulthood, so at least I have some of her offspring in my (growing!) colony. She was certainly the biggest of my original females, so I would not be surprised if the huge male I posted a photo of the other day was her offspring!
  8. Update, it seems her head is now completely paralysed - before her antennae were moving and she could move her head around but now she can't seem to be able to move either Her breathing is very laboured and I think she is probably not far from death. For that reason I think I will have to put her in the freezer If she'd shown any sign of recovery or movement in her paralysed mouth parts, so she might be able to feed, i would have taken a chance and left her, but at the moment she just seems to be getting worse. It's very hard for me having to put down one of the first hissers I got, and it's surprised me how attached I've become to a little insect over six months, so it's a sad day for me I don't know what caused it and it seems to have come on quite quickly - I first noticed she was missing a palp on Saturday evening, though I hadn't seen her for a while so it could have been like that a while, but although her other palp seemed paralysed then she was able to move her other mouth parts and drink at that point and was otherwise behaving OK. It was yesterday when she stopped being able even to drink and today when her whole head has become immobile. None of the others in the colony are showing any similar symptoms thankfully, so I am hoping that whatever the problem is, is not infectious. Perhaps it was just old age after all?
  9. Looking for some advice here. One of my original female hissers that I got back in November seems very sick, she seems to have almost like a paralysis of her mouth parts (I've tried to feed her water and orange juice from a paintbrush but see no response at all, her palps and jaws simply don't/can't move - she is missing one of her longer palps but I don't think that is the problem have seen others eating perfectly well with just one) and although she is able to move around she keeps twitching and arching her abdomen as if she is in discomfort. I didn't think she was that old (I got her when adult so I don't know how old she is, but she is not missing any tarsi and doesn't otherwise look or act old, i.e. slowing down etc., though her antennae are a bit shortened) so I don't think it's simply old age. Has anyone seen anything like this before? Any idea what might have caused it? Do you think there's any chance she will recover or is it hopeless? I'm going away soon so don't want to leave her suffering (I am not sure whether they suffer in the same way as vertebrates, but she does not look comfortable or contented and clearly cannot eat as she is currently) so if it's a hopeless case, sadly it may be kinder to put her in the freezer before I go than leave her What do people think? Any advice?
  10. Thanks all for the suggestions, I will try leaving carrots in each cage although I'm not too hopeful they will eat it, as they have always ignored carrots when I've fed them those before. Having said that if there's no other choice I suspect they will eat it - they are roaches after all! I also think I'll leave lettuce - it does go limp after a few days if they don't eat it but I've noticed that it doesn't seem to mould in my cages and both colonies love it and will eat it even if it's a bit limp. I've also seen the baby javanica eating lettuce so at least I know they will have something they like at least for the first two or three days. I might try putting the stems of the lettuce leaves in a bowl of water stuffed with cotton wool to try to keep it fresher a bit longer, with the added advantage that the roaches can drink from it if they want to as well. Still worried about leaving my "babies" for this length of time though!
  11. HI all, just wondering what people do / what advice you have for feeding a colony of roaches when away? It will be for six days and there won't be anyone else I can ask to feed them, so I need to make sure they have enough food for that time. I'm definitely going to leave them a larger bowl of oats and cat food so the dry food should be covered but I don't want to leave them with no fruit or veg at all during the six days either. What food is recommended (i.e. that won't go off in six days if it's not eaten) and what do others do? I have 2 colonies now, Gromphadorhina (sold as hybrids but look like oblongonota to me), about 50 individuals, all adults and large nymphs, and Elliptorhina javanica, 18 adults and about 10 really tiny nymphs about 2 weeks old (I did get those females I was looking for!) which are the ones I'm most worried about. Can tiny nymphs like that survive on dry food without fruit and veg for a week, or do they need it? Also will they start to turn on each other (especially the little ones, and the javanica seem to fight a lot more than the oblongonota!) and cannibalise each other if there isn't enough food? They should be OK for humidity as I've bought an automatic misting system that sprays them twice a day for 20 seconds or so and I've been running it for the last couple of weeks and it's keeping the humidity at around 60-70% (in several cages), without any mould showing up, but should I also leave out more water for them as well? The sprayer is directed slightly towards one of the tank walls so there are droplets of water on it after it has been sprayed but I've not really seen them drink from it (not that I've seen them drink from a water bowl either!).
  12. Well it's taken a while but finally I have a photo of one of the biggest males in my colony - there are lots of adults now and one or two absolutely enormous males! This is one of them: Edited to add - these were sold to me as Gromphadorhina "species" (i.e. unknown provenance, may be hybrid) but they look more like pure oblongonota to me, from the photos I've seen of portentosa and oblongonota on here and on the web. However I'm not an expert so if anyone could tell me if he looks like "pure" oblongonota or whether he's probably a hybrid, that would be great!
  13. My hissers turned their antennae up at dried dog kibble and wouldn't touch it (I bought a huge box of it too, what a waste as I don't even have a dog!) but absolutely love cat treats (dried but slightly moist 'biscuits') and can't get enough of them. I must admit I haven't tried a different brand of dog food (the one I bought was the "value" dog kibble from my local supermarket so maybe my hissers just have very discerning taste!) but in my experience so far, cat food is definitely preferred.
  14. Thanks Skyvie, yes he seems pretty happy so far! Still not been able to get photos as he tends to come out of hiding only at night and I don't really like disturbing the colony too much during the day, so I haven't had a good opportunity yet. He's still the only adult male in the cage but there are now at least two more that have moulted to adulthood and they are all females. No sign of mating yet though - whether that's just because I haven't "caught them in the act" or whether it's because the females take a bit of time before they become receptive, I don't know (I read somewhere that newly moulted adult female roaches in some species need a few days to a few weeks before they are ready to mate - can anyone confirm if this is true for hissers?) but I imagine there will be even more babies in there before long There is also one absolutely huge subadult male in the colony - I think he will be even bigger than the first male as he is about the same size already as the new adult male. It will be interesting to see those two fight it out when this nymph finally makes it to adulthood!
  15. A red letter day - last night I had my first hisser nymph moult to adulthood from the group born in January! He is a magnificent male - sadly no pictures as I didn't want to disturb him whilst he was teneral and whilst I have seen him this morning he shot off to hide as soon as I opened the cage door, but I hope I'll be able to get some photos when he comes out again. It's fascinating to have seen him grow from a tiny little creature little bigger than an apple pip to a pretty big male in just the space of a few months. I don't know whether he will end up being the "alpha" male (he's pretty big so he could do!) but at the moment he is the only adult male in the colony and he has the "territory" all to himself! (I moved my original male and a couple of the biggest female nymphs, which originated in a different colony, to another cage as I am hoping that will increase genetic diversity in the colony). Several of the other nymphs look close to bursting out of their skin though, so I am sure a few more adults will follow soon. It will be interesting to watch, if there are more males, how they establish a dominance hierarchy!