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About BlattaAnglicana

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  1. I have three Hisser species with cork bark in their enclosure (G. oblongonota, G. portentosa and E. javanica) and all seem to be doing fine. I've had the oblongonota nearly a year, the javanica 8 months and the portentosa 4 months with no ill effects, though I do sterilise the bark (pour on boiling water to soak for a few minutes then microwave for at least 2 minutes) before I put it in their cages. They are definitely eating it (very slowly!) as I see them doing so occasionally and the holes and crevices all get bigger over time as they chew it away, though a small piece will still last several years at the rate mine are going! The javanica and oblongonota have both had several broods of young (which also eat the cork bark) and most of those have got to adulthood (the ones that didn't were probably not healthy individuals anyway) or are growing well, so I am pretty sure cork bark is completely safe for roaches. I can't speak for other insect orders / groups though.
  2. Do you keep them on a damp substrate? I did that with mine at first and got huge problems with mould. After a while I let the substrate dry out completely and now keep the humidity up instead by spraying the cage for a few seconds twice daily (I bought an automatic mister recently so I didn't have to keep doing it by hand!). A light spray doesn't allow the substrate to get permanently wet and I have noticed a lot less mould as a result (mostly only on soft food such as fruit which I haven't removed quickly enough!) and they don't seem to have had any problems so far being kept dry. So if you're keeping them quite damp it might be worth letting the substrate dry a bit so you can leave them alone for longer?
  3. How long have you had them? I noticed when I first had my hissers (initially a male and two females then three more females after one of the original females died) that they didn't move around much - after an initial day or so "exploring" their cage they tended to stay hidden under their log for long periods especially during the day. This went on for several weeks after I got each group. They are generally more active at night anyway but I wondered whether they perhaps were a bit stressed with moving to a new "home" and therefore stayed hidden as some sort of survival response. Once they had got a bit more used to their surroundings I noticed they all became more active and now they move around quite a lot even during the day. The colony is also now much bigger as the females started to give birth and as roaches are semi-social perhaps also being in a bigger group makes them less stressed and therefore more likely to come out of hiding? So if you haven't had them long maybe they aren't moving much because they are still getting used to their new surroundings?
  4. The ones I have seen all seem to have been caused by giving live birth (these were hissers not Dubia though - not sure if that is significant). They were all female and all had the prolapse immediately after giving birth, I believe as a direct consequence of it. Two were really bad cases and the female died within a couple of days, but another female had a very small prolapse (significantly I think there was no sign of the 'tubes' described by the OP in this case which I believe means her gut and internal organs were not significantly damaged) and that one seems to have fully recovered, but now seems unable to make a viable ootheca and hold it to term. I don't know whether the births were premature and caused by stress, though I would doubt it at least in one case as the second fatal prolapse occurred several months after I'd got this female and she had settled in with the others and was eating well, and didn't seem distressed in any way. Whether some other damage or injury had occurred to these females in transit (I got all of them as adults, they were not born in my colony) I don't know and as yet I have not had any births from my new adult females who were born and matured in my colony, so I can't really pinpoint the reason. It's possible my original females were just old and therefore more likely to suffer a prolapse anyway.
  5. I've sometimes seen roaches clinging to the underside of logs and hides for ages looking as if they were resting on their backs, especially if the hide isn't very tall and they can touch their legs and their backs on both surfaces - I don't know whether they sleep like that (or even if they truly sleep at all in the sense we would recognise) but I would not be too worried by it unless she shows any signs of distressed behaviour, and it doesn't sound as if she is. However as others have said roaches are semi-social and don't do as well when isolated so I would definitively recommend getting a couple more roaches (if you don't want babies then ideally female nymphs / subadults that are too young to have bred) to keep her company :-)
  6. Thanks Hisserdude yes I was thinking I would probably need to start reducing the numbers soon, before this new generation starts to produce too many babies! The good news is that the UK breeder I mentioned has said they are willing to take my excess stock so it looks like I will be able to reduce the colony size without killing any of them myself - whilst I am sure others have far less qualms about it than me I am very squeamish about the whole idea of using my pet hissers as feeders, especially the bit about choosing which individuals get to live and which ones die, so it will be good to be able to pass them onto someone else - hopefully they will breed from most of them rather than feed them off, although of course I do realise I won't have any control over what happens to them afterwards so I can't be 100% certain. However the alternative (having my house completely taken over by roaches!!!) is probably more of a issue than the small guilt trip I will have knowing that the person I've passed them onto might have less qualms than me about feeding them off!
  7. Hi all, quick question, how many hissers (Gromphadorhina species, probably oblongonota but may be hybrids) can a tank 45x45x30cm (c. 18x18x12in) hold? I now have about 50 hissers, about 3/4 of which are adults and the remainder large nymphs. They seem fine in there at the moment, they have plenty of hiding places, and I have seen no major signs of aggression or fighting amongst the males as yet (a bit of hissing but no antenna biting or other physical attacks on each other), but obviously as these ones breed the tank will become more crowded and either I will need to get a bigger one or (more likely) I'll need to thin out the colony. I am hoping to be able to trade them or give them away to some people in an insect group I belong to, probably about 10 at a time, or there is a breeder here in the UK who says they will take excess breeding stock of most inverts, although I have not yet contacted them about these! Should I be thinking of thinning them out now (there is an insect group meeting next week I can take some to) or can/should I wait until this generation has babies in case anything happens to the colony (sudden disease/unexplained deaths etc.)?
  8. 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.
  9. 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!
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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!
  14. 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!