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Everything posted by BlattaAnglicana

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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?
  7. 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!
  8. 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?
  9. 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!
  10. 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.
  11. 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?
  12. 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?
  13. 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?
  14. 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!
  15. 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?
  16. 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?
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. They definitely do get to around 5.5-6cm, I thought that was the normal size for javanica though - I haven't seen any (at shows etc. not just in my colony) where the maximum size is much smaller. Perhaps European stock of javanica is bigger than US stock? Could that be possible? Mine are also very well fed - I always make sure there is food in with them at all times and never end up with periods (even a day or two) when they have none at all, so maybe they have grown bigger because they had more nutrition as nymphs? To be fair there are smaller individuals in the colony as well (some adults are only 4cm for example) but significant adult size variation seems to be the case for all hisser species I have. Some of my oblongonota males for example aren't any bigger than the female javanica pictured, but I thought that was just because they were "minor" males and it was normal to have both large and small individuals in all colonies? Is that unusual?
  20. I've just been measuring my roaches and my javanica definitely grow to about 5.5-6cm, a big male or female can get quite large. However they are nowhere near as big as say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota - some of my biggest oblongonota males are over 8cm and they are built like tanks too! However oblongonota aren't that variable - they do have variations in the markings on their backs but these are not obvious from a distance, so probably would not fit your criteria. For what it's worth I've attached a photo of a large female trying to climb the glass of her cage next to a tape measure showing she's at least 5.5cm long, and a photo of a group with a few red-pronotum individuals (two females at the bottom and right of the group) with some black pronotum and nymphs. Neither photo is particularly good I'm afraid - I was trying to hold my phone and a torch to light them and take a photo at the same time before they all scuttled off under the cork bark and fake plants! It might be worth considering hybrid Gromphadorhina portentosa if you are not bothered about whether they are a pure strain - mine (I am guessing they are hybrid) are very variable in both the base colour, and the amount of black markings on the abdomen and pronotum, and they definitely get bigger than the javanica.
  21. I have a colony of E. javanica and yes they have quite a large variation in colouration. They are all basically yellow and black striped as adults, but some do have red pronotums, although in many individuals there is a mix of black and red, with the patterning of the black areas being extremely variable. In my colony I rarely see one with no black at all on the pronotum but there are a few notably "redder" individuals with the body colour often also being lighter/redder than those with fully black pronotums. The nymphs start off a uniform brown but as they grow they begin to develop the stripes which get more obvious as the nymph matures, so it's fun to watch them slowly developing the adult colouration. They are very active and interesting to watch, especially when you have males fighting over the females! Their hiss is much quieter than the hiss of say a Gromphadorhina oblongonota, it's quite "gentle" in comparison, but the males still hiss as insistently either when fighting or trying to persuade a reluctant female! Mine are definitely more active at night but they are also out in the open during the day, but that might be more to do with the size of my colony - when I didn't have so many I didn't see them so much during the day. One word of warning, these can be very prolific - I started off with males only but after I added just seven females in May, the population has exploded and I must have at least a couple of hundred of them now! Unfortunately I am not US based so I can't offer you any (pretty sure it's illegal to ship them from the UK to the USA), but just to say if you only start off with a few, it will likely not be long before you have more than you know what to do with! (Thankfully I have a couple of people/places where I can offload my "extras" as I don't feed them off to anything, they are purely pets). However overall they are very much recommended and are probably my favourites of the three hisser species I have (G. portentosa, G. oblongonota and E. javanica)
  22. BlattaAnglicana

    Long molt and help needed

    So sorry to hear that I had hoped it wasn't as bad as you described it and she might have stood a chance, but if the others had attacked her it certainly sounds as if euthanising her was the kindest thing to do. It sounds like humidity wasn't the problem anyway, unfortunately sometimes roaches just do have bad moults and don't survive, and it sounds like that was the case with this one. I hope all goes well with the others in your colony
  23. BlattaAnglicana

    Long molt and help needed

    I'm afraid that doesn't sound good at all. I don't keep A. tesselata but I have 3 species of hissers and none of them (at least the ones I've watched) has ever taken more than about half an hour to an hour to moult, so that does not sound normal to me. Do you have a photo? It sounds like she has got stuck in her old skin, because the head and legs are usually the first parts they free from the old skin when they moult (the old skin cracks along the middle of the back of the thorax and the top of the head and they sort of "crawl" out head first). I think if she has not been able to free her head and legs then sadly there probably isn't a lot of hope for her, unfortunately, as she may not have functioning mouth parts and won't be able to eat properly. Much as I hate to say it, it might be kinder to put her out of her misery What's the humidity in their enclosure? If it's quite low (under 50%) it might be worth spraying them more as higher humidity can help them shed.
  24. So I got a better look around today and there are at least 12-14 little ones in the cage I don't know whether that's all of them but I suspect not - I didn't look under all the bits of cork bark or tree roots and there are lots of crevices they could be hiding in, so I would not be surprised if there were not a few more lurking around somewhere. No sign of escapes from these little ones yet but I did find a couple of javanica nymphs (which look quite different) that had somehow found their way into the oblongonota cage Those javanica babies are little escape artists and I have no idea how they get out as I'm sure I've sealed up every possible way out of their cage!
  25. YAY!! Babies at last! Was checking on them today and I finally saw a tiny little roach sneaking out to drink when I sprayed their enclosure, and when I looked behind some of the cork bark there are several little ones there (at least 7 that I counted but probably more), so it looks like one of my females gave birth at last! I guess they were just taking their own sweet time, but it's nice to see the teeny tiny ones again! The only downside is that I've now had to "baby-proof" their enclosure (an Exo Terra terrarium) - i.e. cover the top of the glass walls and everywhere there are gaps in the glass with vaseline and close off all the ventilation holes along the front, as I know from bitter experience with my javanica colony, in the same type of terrarium, that the little ones can get out of there. Hopefully the oblongonota babies, being bigger, won't even try, but just in case they do hopefully closing off the escape routes will prevent the majority of them getting out. Let's hope the other females follow suit shortly!