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About BlattaAnglicana

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  1. Just wondering whether it was possible to get some sort of "cleaner crew" to eat up the frass / shed skins etc. in a dry substrate - all the ones I've read about (isopods, springtails) seem to need moist substrate, but I keep my hissers on completely dry coco coir. I mist the enclosure walls and cork bark regularly to keep the humidity up but this does not wet the substrate and as I understand it isopods and springtails won't survive in that sort of environment. Any ideas for other cleaners? Or do I simply have to change the substrate regularly to make sure it doesn't get too rank? I'm UK based, so they must be available here or from Europe at least.
  2. LOL well I've taken your advice and given up on the background! There has been another recent litter of newborns and they are so tiny that they can get everywhere, and a couple of days ago I found a solitary, teeny little one behind the polystyrene. My strong feeling is that the little ones don't thrive if they are on their own (the four from the first litter I had all died and never really looked healthy in hindsight, but I have only lost two out of about thirty from the ones that were born to bigger litters in January and the others are now very healthy and active) and I didn't want to leave it there on its own, so the fact that it was going to be almost impossible to extricate this tiny little bug sealed the decision - the background is out! Their cage looks a lot barer and not so nice without it, but at least I won't be worried about how to get a teeny little nymph out from behind it any more I loved the backgrounds on your link but I'm UK based so I'm not sure I'll be able to order from there, though I'm sure I'll find similar places over here in Europe if I google a bit!
  3. Glad to hear about the babies Marrader21, especially after the disappointments you've had with your hissers. I know exactly how you feel as it was the same sense of relief for me when two of my females gave birth successfully within a couple of days of each other after several aborted ooths and deaths, so congratulations on all the little ones! I hope they all do well for you - all 60 plus of them!!! :-)
  4. I know it's not good to anthropomorphise or ascribe intelligence to creatures when it hasn't been proven, but the behaviour of some of my hisser nymphs over the past few weeks has made me think they must have some sort of "intelligence" about them - and made me laugh too, in a frustrated-but-admiring sort of way I keep them in a medium sized Exo Terra terrarium with a polystyrene textured "background" that pushes into the back wall firmly. This piece of polystyrene has a vertical slot in the back where you can pass cables etc. down the back of the background and into the enclosure under the substrate for temperature sensors, etc. There is another small slot at the bottom to allow the cables under the polystyrene. I have about 3-5cm dry substrate in the bottom which I used to pack these slots fairly tight to stop the roaches sneaking under the polystyrene and up into the slot at the back where it is very difficult to extricate them from.... or so I thought!! Anyway... a week or so ago I noticed there weren't so many nymphs in the enclosure, and as I was worried some might have died off I started looking all over for them. And guess where I found them? Yep, in the slot behind the polystyrene!!! The clever little devils had "worked out" that they could burrow under the substrate and through the narrow slot at the bottom to find a nice, tight, dark little space to huddle in. At first it was only a few so I left them be, thinking they would come out when they were hungry. But a couple of days later almost ALL the nymphs were behind that polystyrene! Somehow the "word" must have got out because clearly the others had followed the first few "pioneers" in. Anyway I decided I would prefer them out in the enclosure so with some persuasion from a small artist's paint brush and a bright light I managed to make them all crawl back through the slot at the bottom into the enclosure. I then plugged up the gap in the polystyrene with a couple of bits of sponge to stop them getting back in. Phew - problem solved! NOT! What I had forgotten was there's a similar slot the other side, which I had never seen any of the roaches get themselves into, so I assumed (ha ha) they didn't "realise" it was there. Guess what, this morning I was checking behind the polystyrene "just in case" and what did I spot, two little roaches merrily waving their antennae at me in the other slot! Aaaaagh!!!! How they managed to find it and work out that they could do the same as the other side, and burrow underneath to get there, I don't know. All I know is that I have to admire their "ingenuity" in managing to get into the most unlikely of places and causing me all sorts of angst (and mirth!) in the process! Clever little devils!
  5. HI Marrader21, there has been (mostly) good news since this last post - two of my three new females gave birth without issue, one to a pretty large litter, and the other to 7 or 8 or so, and overall I now have about 30 nymphs at varying stages of development, with the oldest/most developed I think being fourth instar. They seem so far to be doing well with only one death (a nymph which didn't seem to make it past first instar at all) and I am much more hopeful that most of these will reach adulthood. Unfortunately it hasn't all been good news as one of my new females from a different colony also prolapsed whilst giving birth and died shortly after - I think there were a few live nymphs from the litter and there are certainly some which are smaller (second instar) which I think are probably hers as she gave birth a couple of weeks later than the other two. The most recent birth was not that successful either - the female was OK and there was no prolapse, but I think there were only one or two live nymphs, and the rest were stillborn (developed enough to look a bit like nymphs rather than eggs but not developed enough to survive, sadly). So I must still not have everything exactly as they need as I don't think it can be down purely to bad genetics if there has been another death and a premature birth from the females from both colonies. I did recently move the colony to a larger enclosure and although I have tried to keep the conditions as close as I could to the previous one it is a little dryer (lower humidity) and there is a steeper temperature gradient simply because the heat mat I am using can't heat the whole enclosure as well as the smaller one, so maybe the stress of that is causing problems at the moment and I am hoping that once they get used to their new enclosure the births will start being more successful again. Food wise I'm pretty much doing the same as before, a mix of "dry" protein from cat food and oats, "wet" protein from haricot beans and sweetcorn, and a mix of leafy greens and fruit. Interestingly the nymphs seem to prefer the green leafy veg and the adults prefer the fruit, but both like the cat food, beans and oats! On the plus side if most of the nymphs I now have survive to adulthood then there is a good chance of the colony growing and thriving, as long as I don't let it get too overcrowded either
  6. Thanks guys, it's funny how little things like this can make keeping, let's face it, creatures that most people have a visceral hatred of, only come to make me love them more! Hisserdude - the oldest nymphs were born on 25th January so they are about 9 weeks old. I *think* these are now at fourth instar, though I am not certain of that as I haven't seen them all shed. It's about an inch, maybe an inch and a quarter long, I would say, without actually measuring it, but still quite thin as it only shed maybe a couple of days before I heard it hiss. They seem to be growing faster than the four from the initial female that died (and that all died themselves too), I don't know whether that's because there are a lot of them (never managed a definitive count yet but there are at least 30 over 3 births, two of which were fairly small litters - 7-8 nymphs - and one much larger) and having a more "social" environment helps their development, or whether the females that gave birth to these nymphs (from a different colony) were generally healthier genetically/nutrition wise than the first ones I had. Either way I now have a small number (4-5) of larger, thinner nymphs that I assume are fairly new fourth instars, and a lot of very fat looking third instars that I am sure will follow soon!
  7. A couple of days ago during a cage clean out I was trying (carefully!) to extricate one of my hisser nymphs (born in January) from a crevice in piece of cork bark I wanted to move out of the cage. It really, really didn't want to budge, so I was trying to persuade it out by pushing it gently with a soft artist's paintbrush, when I heard this soft, quiet little hiss. At first I assumed I was just hearing one of the adults hissing from further away, but when it hissed again I could see its little abdomen contracting and it was definitely coming from the nymph That's the first nymph born in my care that has grown big enough to hiss, and after all the disappointments of the first few months of owning hissers, during which one of my females and the small number of nymphs she gave birth to all died, it finally felt like a proper roach keeping milestone has passed Yes, I know it's only a silly little thing, but it made me smile!
  8. There's a thread on this forum from a few years ago about a hisser female that was pregnant for about 9 months before giving birth to a huge litter of 40 babies! So yours may well have a while to go yet Here it is:
  9. We have quite a few in the UK including some of the larger Tomoceridae and globulars too, although I have only seen the elongate species in our garden (Entomobrya and Orchesella species). My favourite UK species is Pogonognathellus longicornis which is a large (well, for a springtail - 6mm!) elongate species that has a fascinating and (I think, anyway!) endearing trait - when blown on gently it can curl its very long antennae into cute little spirals, as the photos on the link below show: I think this is the only UK species that can do this, although I believe Pogonognathellus flavescens may be able to bend its antennae to a lesser extent. Good luck with breeding your Orchesella cincta, do keep us up to date on how you get on
  10. Nice post! I find springtails fascinating, in fact I got interested in them before I got interested in roaches and other insects, although I have never cultured them in captivity (other than the ones I inevitably find in my house plant pots, though I'm not sure that really counts!). We have a lot of them in the garden here in the UK (we have four huge oak trees so lots of leaf litter for them!) including Orchesella cincta. There is a lot of debate about whether they are still considered insects and some taxonomists now put them in a separate category altogether, albeit related. If you don't already know of him by far the best and most knowledgeable person on the internet (and probably in the world!) about collembola is Frans Janssens from the University of Antwerp - his site is an absolute gold mine of information about these little creatures! You will probably be able to identify your unknown Hypogastura from there - if not drop Frans a mail, he is very helpful and can usually identify them from photos, often to species level. This photo site is also useful for identification and simply seeing the sheer variety of these tiny creatures out there - Frans also frequents the site and identifies quite a lot of the springtails in the photos: For what it's worth, the "dark morph" of Orchesella cincta are the males, and the more mottled brown ones are females, so if you have a mix of those they should breed for you
  11. UK?

    I'm in the UK and the sites/suppliers I know of are: Virginia Cheeseman BugzUK Zoo Centre eBay shop Metamorphosis i have only bought from the first of these but Virginia was very helpful and has a good reputation for healthy stock; I actually was able to collect the bugs from her as she is not too far from where I live. Of the others I have emailed Bugz and the Zoo Centre and both were very helpful but I have very specific and restricted delivery requirements (guaranteed Saturdays only) and neither of them were as yet able to offer that service so I didn't buy anything from them so I can't vouch for them in terms of transactions. I should mention that BugzUK said they would offer a Saturday delivery service soon so when they do I may be able to give them a proper review! Alternatively you could go to an insect/invertebrate show and pick them up in person - the biggest one I know of is the AES show at Kempton park in London which is on 30 September this year, or before then there are big shows in Newark in April and Warwick (mainly a tarantula show but Bugz has said they will be there selling roaches) in May. Hope this helps!
  12. Sadly my second female with the prolapse died today I had hoped isolating her and keeping her clean might help her pull through, but although she was alive last night and this morning, I noticed she was regurgitating what she was eating and drinking and I kind of knew that was a bad sign, and she was dead when I checked on her this evening. At least, I suppose, like the other one, she wasn't in distress for very long. I think she did also give birth to a few nymphs though I don't think as many as the other two females - I only saw one or two really small ones crawling around amongst the bigger ones. At least the better news is that all the nymphs so far from the other females seem to be doing well, and the remaining four adults at least seem healthy (although I am not sure whether the other female with the prolapse that healed may now not be able to give birth again). I think most of the babies have moulted to second instar and in my far from scientific observation I am sure they are growing faster and doing better as a group than the first few who all died. Whether that's because they are part of a larger group or whether the other two females were simply healthier than the other two that died and therefore had healthier babies, I don't know. Let's hope at least some of them make it to adulthood and keep my colony going anyway.
  13. Thank you Crazy Bug Lady, yes I do care about them, these are pets not feeders and as I have only started off with a small number of adults (initially a male and two females, one of whom died after a prolapse giving birth, followed by three more females, one of whom is the latest one to suffer a prolapse) they are individuals to me, and it is sad for me to see them with health problems. Now I have a lot more babies from the other two females I won't be able to see every one as an individual, but I still care that they are properly housed, healthy and thriving, so that's why it concerns me that I must be doing something wrong to get all these birth issues. People have said my setup sounds OK but with two out of five females suffering a bad prolapse (one died and the latest one probably won't live long, or I may end up feeling it's kinder to euthanise her than allow her to live with a compromised ability to feed) and a third suffering a small prolapse which seems to have fully healed functionally (i.e. she can feed and eat without problems) but now she seems to abort every ootheca she makes, I really can't believe it is coincidence. There must be something I'm doing wrong but I really can't see what it is - I have followed all advice I have got and still I am getting this problem I hadn't thought about a germ or infection that might be causing the prolapses - I have not heard of roaches suffering this sort of disease but perhaps someone might know of something that could cause it? The other thing I may do soon (which I will have to do as all the babies get bigger anyway) is move them into a bigger enclosure which may help any issues with mould or germs in the substrate. Thank you again for your concern - they may "only" be roaches and not say a cat or a dog, but I do care about them!
  14. Unfortunately after two uneventful births I have had another female prolapse again after only giving birth to a few nymphs This one is unfortunately more like the first one in that although the prolapse is smaller, it looks ruptured, i.e. not the smooth bulge like the one that recovered had but more like broken skin and sort of fatty lumps (sorry for the gross description!) which looks pretty bad to me. Although she is so far still alive and drinking I'm afraid I don't have a lot of hope for her I don't know whether it would be kinder to euthanise her now than let her drag on like this as I am sure her gut is damaged and even if she can eat as well as drink, I'm not sure if she will be able to absorb or pass through the food properly. I thought with the last two successful births that whatever I had been doing wrong I had somehow fixed but it seems there must still be something wrong with my setup, as this was one of the new females from the second colony. Not a good day today Edited to add - I have now decided to isolate her in a small container with some food, water, heat and a paper roll for shelter. I also carefully cleaned all the gunked on bits of substrate off the prolapsed part with a small artists' paint brush, which I hope was soft enough not to do any further damage, and the new container has no substrate so at least it won't get dirty and hopefully is less likely to become infected. I guess I will just have to wait to see if she survives but I am hoping that this will give her the best chance of pulling through, if the prolapse hasn't caused too much permanent damage.
  15. Well so far they are doing well - I am sure there are even a couple of second instars already (I have definitely found one shed skin and at least two of them look much bigger and a slightly darker colour than the newborns) so let's hope I am more successful with these than the last ones. One thing I have been doing differently that they seem to like is misting the tops of their cork bark hides lightly once or twice a day - they scurry out of the way and the adults hiss a lot when I spray it but within a few seconds afterwards both the little ones and the adults come out and drink the droplets, whereas when I was misting the walls on the opposite side of their enclosure they never came out to drink it, and in fact I never saw them drink at all. I am wondering now whether the mistake I made with the original set of nymphs was assuming they would find and drink out of a bowl in one area of the enclosure - they always had a water dish with soaked cotton wool in it available but I never saw any of them drink from it, so perhaps they were dehydrated and that's why the nymphs became weak and died off? So it seems they like to drink when the water is sprayed near them but don't seem actually to go out looking for water. Has anyone else seen this behaviour or know if it is normal/expected?