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BlattaAnglicana

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Everything posted by BlattaAnglicana

  1. BlattaAnglicana

    Hisser death, turned white almost like mold?

    Do you have a photo? I have seen live (and very healthy) hisser nymphs with the colouration you describe, which was because they were very close to moulting and had stretched their old skin as far as it would go and the white parts between the body plates were showing, so it would really take a photo to show whether yours had any more untoward symptoms.
  2. BlattaAnglicana

    Phasmids kept bioactively???

    I've kept phasmids (Neohirasea maerens) in a bioactive setup with isopods (just a common woodlouse species I picked up from the local woods, I am not sure of species) and they were fine, as far as I'm aware the isopods didn't eat the phasmid eggs and the substrate was certainly kept cleaner. However I went back to using kitchen roll in the end for the simple reason that having a bioactive substrate makes it difficult to collect the eggs. I just left them where they were, in the end way too many of the eggs hatched and I ended up with far too many sticks (over 450!). I think some who use bioactive setups freeze the substrate periodically to ensure that not all the eggs hatch but unless you're prepared to sift through to pick out all the woodlice first then they get frozen too, and I wasn't prepared to kill them just for the sake of controlling the stick insect population. So now almost all of my phasmids are kept on kitchen roll and for those which just drop their eggs to the ground (most species) it makes it far easier to collect the eggs and freeze them early on (when I don't have such a bad conscience about it!) which means I can keep the population under control better. The one exception is that I have a small number of Dares phillippinensis nymphs which need high humidity and which are reckoned to do much better on damp coir or similar (with or without isopods / springtails) than kitchen paper. I don't currently have any woodlice or springtails in the cage and intend to change the substrate fairly regularly so it doesn't get fouled up. The main reason I'm happy with this setup is they are very slow growing and only lay eggs very slowly which means I can move them to another container and sift out the eggs relatively easily (or I hope so - none of them are yet mature!).
  3. I do sometimes find hissers hiss at the sound of a hand mister, I may be wrong but my theory is that it can sound to them like another hisser hissing nearby and maybe they take it as some kind of alarm which stimulates them to hiss themselves? Young nymphs can't hiss anyway (I think that ability comes at around 4th instar or so) so I wouldn't expect them to hiss at it. Some of my tiny nymphs do run away but I've always put that down to an aversion to getting wet rather than fear of the mister. Again a very unscientific observation rather than any sort of definitive answer though! Mind you that doesn't explain why the male doesn't react anyway! Usually I find it's the males which are more "hissy" than females but maybe in this case you've just got a very quiet male. Does he hiss much otherwise? How many nymphs have now moulted successfully for you?
  4. After a moult they will quite often sit very still for a while whilst they harden from pure white to their regular colour. However it's possible that part of the feet got stuck in the old skin which means the nymph might either have lost some tarsi as it pulled its feet out or it might have some old skin still stuck on its feet - I've seen both of those happen and they can often survive this, and if they do usually the nymph is OK the next moult (less likely if the skin is stuck on its feet, but if they lose parts of their legs as nymphs they can regenerate them as they moult). However if you are seeing either of the above symptoms it would suggest to me there isn't enough humidity for them to shed properly - they tend to get "stuck" more often if it's too dry. Having said that you don't want to keep them soaking either - I keep mine with a completely dry substrate (coco coir) but I do mist them daily (in fact I have an automatic misting system to do it) so the humidity is generally around 60-80% in their cage. FWIW a full moult of a small nymph is usually done within half an hour although it can take a bit longer - however if it's taking several hours there's definitely something wrong. I would agree with what Boomie says above and get a humidity meter to see what the actual levels are - perhaps it seems humid but it isn't at all? If so then at least you can start spraying them more often and hopefully that will help.
  5. Sometimes I've found insects in general (not just roaches) can have bad moults when they haven't got enough humidity so I'm wondering what level of humidity you are keeping them at? You say "high" but do you have a humidity meter in the cage and if so what is the level? Also what substrate and temperature? It seems odd to me that the older nymphs did not mature in over six months, I tend to find hissers of various species mature more quickly than that in general - I keep them around 22-25 Celsius (sorry not sure what that is in Fahrenheit) and they usually take 3-4 months to mature. How many babies do you still have and what size cage are they in? Do they have anywhere to hide, like cork bark or toilet roll tubes? I think they can get quite stressed if there's nowhere to hide especially during the day. Otherwise I can't really see anything obvious you're doing wrong, so it could also just be that they wouldn't have survived anyway - it does happen and I tend to find there are always a few casualties in every brood, although I appreciate it's much harder to lose one or two when you only have a few to start with. When I first started keeping roaches my first female only had four babies in her first and only brood before dying and I lost all of them 😞 I was really upset by that and, like you, at the time people on here told me I wasn't doing anything wrong either and I still to this day don't know what caused it as I have not changed anything much about how I keep them to this day. But then I got three more females which each had at least one large brood, and now I have a thriving colony, so much so I have had to separate out the female nymphs before they mature so they can't breed otherwise I would be over-run with hissers! 😮
  6. BlattaAnglicana

    Freshly molted Archimandrita tesselata

    Funny you should say that, it's exactly the word I use to describe teneral roaches too!
  7. BlattaAnglicana

    How often do you feed?

    I know exactly how you feel! Having started with just three individual hissers two years ago I now have 11 stick insect species, 3 large colonies of three different hisser species, 8 millipedes (all the same species) and some blue death-feigning beetles, and their maintenance is getting pretty time consuming alongside a full time job ?, so I'd be interested in everyone's tips too.
  8. HI all, I just bought 4 blue death-feigning beetles (very rare to buy in the UK!) at an insect show last weekend, and was wondering what the maximum humidity is that these can tolerate. The UK is quite a damp country ? and my home is also quite humid in general (I have to run a dehumidifier to get it to "normal" values and even that can struggle to get the humidity below 60%) and I am a bit concerned that this might be too high for the beetles, seeing as they are desert creatures. Does anyone have any experience of these, and if that sort of humidity is too high do you have any tips on getting it down? I already have a small heat pad under part of their cage (a small faunarium with dry sand, dry moss and some dry shreds of cardboard which look quite "natural") but is there anything else I can do to get the humidity down if I need to? FWIW I am feeding them goldfish pellets (which are apparently mostly insect protein), oat flakes, and small pieces of carrot, apple and pear for moisture, and I have seen them all eating since I got them last Saturday. I have read that they don't need any other water at all than that. Any other tips would be welcome!
  9. BlattaAnglicana

    Blue death-feigning beetles - max humidity?

    Test Account - I'm a bit confused, you seem to have said they like humidity in your first post but 50% is too much in the second??? For what it's worth I looked up the climate in the Sonoran desert (where I believe these come from in the wild) and humidity there seems to vary from about 15-20% in summer to about 45-50% in winter, and as they are at around 40% humidity most of the time in their enclosure now I am hoping this will be low enough for them to tolerate long term. Temps in the Sonoran desert seem to vary from about 4 Celsius min (very cold!) to 40+ Celsius max so I guess they are adapted to a wide variation in temperature too, so should be able to cope with most indoor temperatures OK. I have put a tiny water "dish" (actually the lid of a contact lens case!) in with them which I refill every few days (letting it dry out completely for a couple of days in between) so I guess if they need to drink they will do so and if they don't they won't! Given they are desert creatures I am assuming they are well adapted to conserve water and will only look for it if they need it.
  10. BlattaAnglicana

    Blue death-feigning beetles - max humidity?

    OK - quick update, with a small heat pad on the bottom of part of the enclosure and a small PC fan to circulate air the humidity seems to be coming down to a steady 40-50%, so I hope this will be low enough for them. I've read they don't need misting and they are getting "wet" food (banana, carrot, apple etc.) but that dries out really quickly - within a day - in this sort of dry atmosphere, so should I be giving them water crystals or a small water dish as well in case they need to drink?
  11. BlattaAnglicana

    How often do you feed?

    I have 3 large roach colonies (one spread across 3 boxes), which I feed dry food (mostly porridge oats, sometimes dry cat food) every couple of days, and fruit/veg once a week. I used to feed them fruit and veg more often but with the number of insects I now have (stick insects as well as roaches) and working full time as well, I simply don't have the time to feed them all as often as I used to! ? I am actively trying to reduce the numbers of my roaches (giving them away/selling them in bulk to dealers) and when the numbers are a bit more reasonable I hope I won't feel so bad about only feeding them fruit and veg once a week!
  12. BlattaAnglicana

    Goodbye for now...

    Sorry to hear this, HIsserdude - you've been one of the most helpful and knowledgeable members of this forum and certainly helped me with a few problems I had with my colonies when I started keeping roaches. I hope all goes well and that with a new balance to your life, as Krissim Klaw said, you don't completely lose your obvious love for these little creatures. I can certainly sympathise with the time commitment - having started off with just three hissers about 18 months ago I now have thriving colonies of 6 stick insect species and 3 hisser species, all of which are reproducing like mad and eating me out of house and home as well as taking a lot of my time! All the best and hope to see you here back again some day with a new enthusiasm!
  13. Well they certainly seem to be breeding well for me at higher temps so I would suggest you try a heat mat to get the temperature up a bit. I am surprised they are dying off at those temps though - I would have thought they would survive but just not breed or grow very fast?
  14. It varies around the enclosure - probably about 26-28 Celsius near the heat mats (I have two smallish ones, one under about a third of the cage and one on the side in the same area) to about 18 Celsius on the other side away from the heat source, so they have a choice of warmer or cooler areas. Not sure what those are in Fahrenheit - maybe 65 on the cool side to 78-80 in the warm area? I do find they tend to congregate nearer the warm areas but not so obviously that i should increase the temps all through the cage. Both heat mats are on thermostats set at 26 and 30 Celsius so they are on most of the time in the winter but off most of the time in the summer. Hope this helps!
  15. LOL I’ve had the opposite experience with E. javanica - they breed like rabbits for me! I started off with 7 females and 11 males in May last year and now have so many tiny babies (literally hundreds) I don’t know what to do with them - and that’s after giving away probably over 100 mostly adults and large nymphs a couple of months ago! what are you feeding your javanica? Are you giving them any other fruit and veg in addition to the roach chow and carrots? It may be that you need to give them more varied fruit and veg to thrive - mine get lettuce (which they love), carrot, broccoli, banana, apple, orange and pear on a regular basis plus dry cat treats and porridge oats for protein; they are kept on a dry coir substrate with a heat mat under which gets sprayed three times a day for 10 seconds by an automatic misting system. They also have plenty of cork bark and artificial plants to hide in although there are so many now that they can’t fit in all the spaces - I am probably going to have to split the colony soon! However I have also found oblongonota to be slower going than javanica - my first experiences with them were not great and although I now have a thriving colony with lots of nymphs (kept exactly the same way as the javanica) I have found they breed slowly and the females seem to suffer a high rate of prolapse on giving birth which usually means the female dies (though not always), but it does lead to a lower birth rate as a result. I've also got a G. portentosa colony which started off as a group of 2 males and 2 females but is rapidly going the same way as the javanica! Again kept the same way. I would suggest trying a wider variety of fruit and veg and seeing if it helps?
  16. BlattaAnglicana

    Roach Etymology - Help Please!

    I’m not an expert in Ancient Greek by any means but I do know the ‘planeta’ part of Periplaneta comes from the Greek for ‘wamderer’ or ‘to wander’ as this is exactly what the ancient Greeks called the planets, because the ancient astronomers noticed that the planets ‘wandered around’ the sky in relation to the other stars which always had a fixed relationship to one another. So you’re correct in one sense because the word planet has the same derivation, but Periplaneta strictly means ‘wandering around’ - which is also very appropriate for the species as it is often seen wandering around everywhere!! i have a smattering of Latin from my school years so I can sometimes work out what some Latin derived names mean but other than the tale above Greek is, well, all Greek to me , so I can’t help you with any of the others I’m afraid!
  17. BlattaAnglicana

    Madagascan Hisser tried to lay an ootheca?

    Yes this is completely normal - female hissers often push the ootheca out and retract it again, I think both when first making it and also at least once (not sure how many times) during the incubation. I've seen several of my female hissers (of several species - G. oblongonota, G. portentosa and E. javanica) doing this and it's perfectly normal. If she has just made the ootheca it will probably be several months before she has the babies, but if it's one of those cases where they push out and retract the ootheca part way through incubation you may not have to wait so long.
  18. BlattaAnglicana

    Compsodes schwarzi (Schwarz's Hooded Cockroach)

    Are the ones in the most recent photos the same ones / same generation as the hatchlings from a few photos above? or are they a later generation?
  19. Just wondering whether it was possible to get a "jet black" morph of Gromphadorhina portentosa as I have got a couple in my (growing) colony. They are completely black all over with no sign of any lighter colouring, stripes or patterning anywhere on the body. I have a colony of about 50 adults and subadults overall which all came from two litters from just two founder females, and the vast majority of them are the "normal" colouring for a G. portentosa i.e. tan/brick coloured abdomen with darker pronotum and thorax - some show a graduated darkening from abdomen to thorax, but others have some darker striping or patterning on the abdomen and thorax as well, but these completely black ones stand out quite a bit. They were sold to me as G. portentosa though there was no specific indication that they are "pure" stock, I am guessing they are hybrids of some sort but does anyone know whether there is genuinely a "black" pure G. portentosa colour morph, or are these ones more likely to be a throwback to some other species they were crossed with in the past?
  20. BlattaAnglicana

    Jet black Gromphadorhina portentosa?

    Here is one of my "black morph" portentosa - a female, I think adult but may be subadult. There is no trace of any other colour than black anywhere on her body. Isn't she stunning?
  21. HI all, I have a colony of about 40 Gromphadorhina species (probably oblongonota but may be hybrids) hissers. They are all adults now approaching between 8 and 10 months old, and all came from four litters from two females, and maybe a small number of others from a third female who died and may only have produced a few nymphs. They reached adulthood between mid May and August this year and I assume have been mating (there has been a lot of hissing!), but there is as yet no sign of babies Some of the females look quite plump and I assume they are gravid but I am beginning to get a bit concerned that I have not seen a single birth since they became adults, which is at least 6 months for the older ones now. I have not changed anything about the conditions I keep them in from the ones I kept the original adults in which gave birth, other that I haven't really given their cage a good clean out. Do you think this is an issue and/or why they are not giving birth? The cage is a 30cmx45cmx45cm Exo-Terra terrarium which is kept fairly dry, with coco coir substrate and a lot of natural looking hides (cork bark, tree roots and fake plants), and I do remove obvious piles of frass every now and then but I have not changed the substrate completely for about 8 months. They are kept at temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius (upper 70s Fahrenheit), humidity is generally around 50-60%, but they are sprayed automatically twice a day and sometimes more if I am around to do it, so the humidity goes up to about 70-80% for short periods each day. Food is a mixture of dry cat food and porridge oats for protein, and mixed fruit and veg (lettuce, carrot, broccoli, banana, orange, apple, pear, sometimes sweetcorn, haricot beans and green peas). I have noticed they are not eating anywhere near as much as they did when they were growing but other than that and not breeding they all seem to be healthy and active. I haven't noticed any aborted oothecae either but the females could be eating them I guess? Anyone any ideas? Are they just taking their own sweet time or is there anything in my setup that could be causing them not to breed? Should I give the cage a full clean out with new substrate? Could it be that they have mated with too close relatives to produce viable eggs (many will be litter sisters and brothers, but I thought that inbreeding wasn't a big issue for insects)? Though, I also separated 5 females from the same four litters as nymphs and put them in a separate cage with a male I had from a different colony and they haven't given birth either, although a couple of them look gravid too, so maybe there's something else I'm not doing? Any help / ideas appreciated, as I'd really like some babies out of these!
  22. Hmm, interesting - I recently increased the humidity in their cage so I wonder if this has had an effect? I am using an automatic misting system which was misting too much in the summer and causing mould, so I reduced the timings, but then it got a bit too dry, so I increased the timings again about a month ago and also sometimes spray by hand if I happened to be feeding them. I have definitely noticed it is more humid in there when I open the cage door, although the substrate is still completely dry. I wonder if this is what has induced all the females to give birth?
  23. LOL and this morning I woke up to find a whole load of tiny white newborn baby roaches in one corner of the tank as well - so they are definitely producing now!! Interestingly almost all the adults in my colony were born at about the same time as this last year. I wonder whether hissers have any sort of seasonal birth timing preference or whether it’s just a coincidence?
  24. Just to follow up, there have been at least two more births in the last week so I now have loads of teeny little ones running around in the cage! The first batch have now moulted at least once (most of them twice) and are looking enormous in comparison. So it looks like they were just taking their own sweet time to give birth - and now they have started I'll probably be knee deep in tiny roaches before long
  25. BlattaAnglicana

    Long molt and help needed

    Unfortunately you probably couldn’t do anything to help her, though I completely understand how you feel - I have felt this way too with some of mine that have died with bad moults, but having kept insects (roaches and also stick insects/walkingsticks) for about 18 months now I have come to realise that some of them simply do have bad moults, prolapses during birth or are just sickly individuals for no apparent reason. and there really is nothing I caould have done about it. Yes on some occasions I’ve messed up and have learned from that experience but now I have more experience of keeping insects I just put this sort of thing down to nature doing its thing and ensuring only the fittest survive. Still doesn’t make it easy to lose one though
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