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Taffer

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Taffer last won the day on January 13 2017

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  1. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    I didn't mention this before because I didn't want to overload Amanda's breeders ability to produce and have her rob the bins too often. So, for anybody that buys feeder Dubia for their animals, the link below is the best value I've found for small/medium sized roaches. The eBay user name is Aman-Bent (Amanda Bently) and she ships from Ohio. She has been absolutely great to work with, even with the bad shipping issue we had, which was the fault of the Post Office, not hers. I ordered 400 Dubia before Christmas and the local main hub post office received the bugs in maybe 3 days, but they were so slow in getting them out to our local PO (maybe 25 miles), that it took 10 or 11 days for the roaches to arrive. She ships the roaches with a heat pack, and packs them into plastic containers with oats and carrot slices so they have plenty of food and a source of hydration for the trip, but with the amount of time the post office held the shipment, the entire container of oats and roaches were covered in mold. A big chunk of molded oats stuck to the top of the container when I opened it because the mold was so thick. I was expecting the mold to kill the roaches, but out of the 400, only 5 were dead. It wasn't my fault the order was held up, and it wasn't her fault, so I didn't expect her to ship me a second order for free, but she did. I tried to send her money via her eBay account and she wouldn't accept it, and sent me a second batch of 400 roaches which arrived in about 2-3 days. Besides those 5 that died in the mold, her deliveries have had 100% survival rate, even though the first order arrived 2 days faster than the eBay tracking said (my fault for not double checking), but even after sitting in the mailbox for 36 hours, and half of that being below 30 degrees, 100% still arrived alive. 200 small/medium roaches (primarily medium with a few small) for $15. That is lower than I've found anywhere else. http://www.ebay.com/itm/182407138933 As far as the bin of 400 molded roaches, the following week after arrival 3 more died, although it may have been molting...I didn't look too close. I don't think any have died in the past 3 weeks, and they have eaten the mold off of each other with no ill effects as of 2 weeks ago, or molted off the mold, and have been growing and appear to be as healthy as any others in my breeding bin. I just checked just now and they are all alive and well, although they are still in "Mold Quarantine" LOL. I may just let them grow into adult breeders and feed off the males. From what the professor said, there are a lot of types of mold that will kill roaches fast, and a lot of types of mold that won't effect them negatively, and apparently the strain of mold we had was the latter.
  2. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    I'm guessing a lot of the wife's issues (besides general exhaustion) are hormone issues as her body gets used to not being pregnant again, and breast feeding if she is doing so. If your wife increases her water intake daily it will probably help with the crankiness a lot! When my wife was pregnant, I accepted that she was going to be a bit cranky for the duration, but one day she crossed the line a bit (I don't recall about what), but she saw it in my face that I was tempted to respond, but didn't. She asked, and I told her I knew it was her pregnancy hormones going crazy and she was baking us an awesome kid, so I was going to let as much of the craziness slid as possible until she was back to normal. Now my wife worked as a massage therapist at the time for a chiropractor, and is one step away from a full blown tree hugger. She wasn't going to allow herself to be snippy with me, even if she was going crazy with hormones. I really do have an amazing wife. She started doing research that following day and talking to doctors and they told her to increase her water intake which will help flush out the excess hormones, and she never snapped at me the rest of the pregnancy, at least related to hormones. I am a man and I need to be yelled at from time to time, like we all do. :0) Besides, increasing her water intake will probably be good for her all around anyway. Not only would it help flush out the excess hormones, it should help her feel better all around. I was lucky though. I had enough vacation time saved up that I could work 1/2 days for the first 6 weeks after our daughter came home, and my wife would be up with the baby from about 7 am until 9 pm, and I'd get up about 7 to spend time with my wife, and be up with all night playing on the PC or whatever, and work from about 6 am until 10, then go to bed. We were both able to get good chunks of sleep like this. Although our daughter is 6 1/2 and still doesn't sleep through the night as much as we'd like LOL. The best teething chew toy we ever found was one of those dive sticks for pools...it was awesome. It had a neoprene rubber center with sand around it, all tied up inside a tough cloth cover. It conformed to her gums better than anything you could buy in a store for this, she was biting on sand through the cloth which felt great to her while she was teething, and it had been in my brothers pool for more than enough time for the bleach in the water to kill any bacteria. You could soak it in her favorite juice and put in the freezer to help number the gums as she chewed on it as well. With all the stuff babies put in their mouths anyway from the floor or ground, this was the least of our worries. :0)
  3. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    Very true, and I believe roaches breath through their bodies, which is one reason they can survive without a head. Sorry you ran into that issue...but thanks for sharing so hopefully we can learn a lesson from you without repeating it ourselves.
  4. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    Ugh, I hate when I put a lot of time and effort into a post and either the browser dumps it, or you hit the backspace on the keyboard and the website goes back a page (like hitting ALT+LEFT ARROW) and stuff like that. A lot of times when I notice I'm getting a bit long winded, I'll copy everything over into a Word document and copy the text back over to the forum when I'm done. I did that with that new thread that has all the information Q&A with that professor a bit ago. I didn't think about different species having different hardness of exoskeleton's, although I did recognize it some visually when looking at some roaches in photos. I just did a quick search on red runners and it seems they are able to survive and breed in normal home temperatures over Dubia and Orang Heads, and that was a selling point on these bugs in the house. :0) Speaking of late entries. I typed 99% of this yesterday, and hit send today. :-p
  5. Also, some general FAQ's that I found interesting. http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/cockroach_faq.html A few questions I enjoyed: 6.Why do cockroaches die on their backs? 7.Do cockroaches bite? 12.Are cockroaches really clean? 39.How do Cockroaches Digest and what organs do they use to do so? 56.How fast are cockroaches? 68.Color cockroaches most attracted to? 79.Can female-only set of hissing cockroaches give birth 7 months after purchase?
  6. For everybody wondering about the e-mails I've sent with the professor (who is also a biochemist) who has been posting research on roaches since 1966, I will copy those below. Granted, there are over 4,800 species of roaches and no single person has researched them all to any great degree, so take away what you will from the questions and answers below. I personally have a small breeder colony that I've had less than two months, so I am not an authority on roaches of any species. I'm simply a technical person by nature that has a touch of self-diagnosed OCD who found so many websites with conflicting information that I decided that I wanted to ask someone that I felt would know roaches better than 99.9% of the people posting information on forums. My apologies to anybody I may have misquoted in my questions to the professor. The text in gray are my questions, and the professor's answers are below in black. Question: I have a bearded dragon that I feed Dubia roaches to as a feeder insect, although I am enjoying raising a colony of Dubia as much as my bearded dragon. I may also start raisin Orange Head roaches or others in the future. Question: I'm assuming that most roaches have similar nutritional needs as far as protein and other requirements. Is this true? Troy, Yes. All cockroaches have symbiotic bacteria living in their fat body which synthesize most of what are vitamins for vertebrates, since they cannot produce them themselves. The cockroach can eat a very un-nutritious diet and thrive. The cockroach is also very economical with nitrogen. They can store excess nitrogen (rather than excrete it) as uric acid in their fat body in cells called urate-cells. This urate can be metabolized by the bacteria and turned back into protein nitrogen for use in protein structures. They can thus survive when they are provided with low nitrogen food. Question: Also, Repashy.com had quoted you on their site (based on making their 'Bug Burger' better for roaches) as saying “My initial reading of your composition is that it has too much protein (>20%). 4% protein is sufficient to support Blattella germanica and if it is >20% they will accumulate waste uric acid in their fat body which could be lethal in certain situations.” Joe That seems to be an accurate transcription of what I have told, whoever asked me about needed protein content of a roach diet. Question: What would you recommend for feeding a colony of Dubia roaches or Orange Head roaches to keep them healthy without providing too much nitrogen/protein? I know nymphs need more protein as they grow, and adults need less after reaching full size, so is there a happy medium, or if I feed two food sources, one with high protein and one with low protein, will the roaches feed off of the correct food source to level out their proper protein requirements? I want to both feed my bearded dragon healthy food, and I want to keep my colony as healthy as possible. The 4% protein diet should satisfy all stages. You can produce some happy medium with a minimum of work by allowing them to choose their own diet but forcing them to get some of their moisture from vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that provide more filler that is low in protein and provide a restricted amount of the ~20% protein from readily available dog/rat chow. Question: I apologize for the length of this e-mail, but there are so many people stating incorrect information that I don't know what to trust. Also, what is the protein content of a roach? I've seen people state anywhere from 20% to 65% protein. I have no idea. That is not a basis on which I make any decision and have never measured it for any of my projects. The protein in their hemolymph varies tremendously and I have published on that in several species. http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/roachrefs.html Question: What does healthy roach scat/frass look like? A dark brown such as this? http://www.mcgarryandmadsen.com/inspection/Blog/Entries/2016/1/18_What_does_roach_poop_(fecal_pellets)_look_like_files/shapeimage_1.png This picture is not high resolution enough for me to recognize it as roach scats. Here is a URL to Periplaneta americana scats from a culture that had restricted water so that their scats are relatively dry … but the animals are still healthy. Gorse seed is interspersed with the scats as a size standard. http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/roach_husbandry/Gorse+CRscat_labeled.JPG Roach scats can vary tremendously depending upon their water availability. Lots of water makes messy scats and a polluted cage. I usually provide water in tubes with a cotton plug. Also I provide a clean environment for them to eat, drink and grow such as shown here: http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/jpegs/B_germanica-18000-2875.JPG http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/jpegs/B_germanica-dish-2877.JPG In my research lab I vacuumed out scats and food debris on a regular basis. The above dish could hold up to a hundred 6th instar Blattella germanica. Your Dubia roaches are larger and would be reared in shoebox or blanket box containers depending on stage. I would adjust their food and vegetable and water access to avoid them fouling their containers. A good balanced nutrition will produce healthy cockroaches that will be healthy food for your lizards. I do not necessarily suggest spending all the effort I have made to produce research grade synchronized cultures of cockroaches but, when rearing the easy way in mass cultures, it is hard to maintain a uniform healthy culture. It would not be my way. (2nd e-mail) Question: You said, "The cockroach can eat a very un-nutritious diet and thrive." In the long run, considering breeding colony health and the health of the roaches fed to the bearded dragon and its health, do the items put into commercial roach chow do anything to increase roach health, reproductive virility, speed of nymph growth, etc.? Items such as bee pollen, spirulina, chlorella and strawberries, various vitamins, or is it mostly just sales fluff in your opinion? Or is the old adage true as well for roaches, “You are what you eat”? Troy, I am not aware of commercial roach chow. If I were rearing large numbers of roaches I would follow my research results as I explained in my last mail … aiming at a 4% protein diet and provide occasional fruit. I actually ate bananas myself and put the peals in the large tropical roach blanket containers. Question: Does it matter what the source of nitrogen/protein is for roaches? No. The cheapest and easiest to store free of pests would be my choice. I had an animal facility from which I obtained Purina rat chow essentially for free. It was 18% protein and I pulverized it and cut that down to 4% protein with potato or corn starch and compressed it into tubes. That much work might not be worth the effort as I suggested earlier. Question: One gentleman on the forums is saying plant based protein is safe for roaches and protein derived from purines is more harmful and causes the higher uric acid/urate content which can cause gout in bearded dragons. I am trained as a biochemist and I have never heard or read the idea "protein derived from purines”. Proteins are composed of amino acids. Purines are one of the base types in nucleic acids DNA and RNA which are minor components of most foods. Uric acid is a purine as well as guanine which are well known nitrogenous wastes of insects and spiders. I am not sure where you would find a natural food that is totally free of purines. Vertebrate proteins (meat and organs) are higher in nucleic acids but one would not likely feed your roaches expensive vertebrate meat or organs. Plants are cheaper and in general lower in both protein and nucleic acids. Again, my focus would be in lowering the protein content of the food to 4-5% and let the other minor food components decrease in the same proportion as the dilution. A plant based meal such as oatmeal would be a good base. Raw oats are 17% protein and are the basis of many animal chows. Most plant protein, e.g. oat protein, is lysine poor. That is why being a vegetarian is a problem … humans are omnivores by evolution and we get our lysine from eating at least some animal protein. However, the bacteroids in cockroach fat bodies produce lysine so oatmeal is a fine source of protein for cockroaches. Serious herbivores have an active appendix in which the bacteria also produce lysine for the herbivore. Question: Or is it simply the amount of nitrogen/protein, no matter the source? Yes. Question: You said you vacuumed out the scat and food debris on a regular basis. Do you mean every few days? There are people on the forums, as well as established website companies selling feeder roaches that have had breeding colony’s for years that say not to clean the scat but once every 3 months or so, where another has said to let the scat accumulate until it is about 3 inches deep as the nymphs burrow in it and eat the undigested food particles out of the scat. In general I did not raise in mass cultures. You and your friends should trust your experience of what works for you. Question: Several forum members swear “oranges” make the roaches reproduce faster or give birth to a higher number of nymphs. Does this make sense? I am not sure what that would be related to. Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling swore we should all be eating mega-vitamins and particularly Vitamin-C. He died at 93. Question: Is mold really that harmful to roaches? Roaches harbor numerous molds with no ill effects. There are molds which will actually kill cockroaches. I sent my two sons through college based on profits from selling high grade synchronous cockroaches to a company EcoScience which was developing a mold based cockroach trap that was very effective and worked on the basis of attracting roaches to eat a bait laced with a mold spore that they would carry and transmit to fellow roaches killing all the roaches in a building and providing spores that kept the roach population down for as long as the spores survived. So, beware bad mold. Your mold likely came from your supplier’s culture and thankfully was not a danger to your culture. There are many thousands of innocuous mold species. Cheers, Joe
  7. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    I do't know much about Red Runners, but a friend of mine that has a massive Dubia colony (as well as Orange Head and Ivory Head roaches) prefers Orange Head roaches for feeders. He says they have more meat on them for their size so your bearded dragons and other pets that eat roaches have less exoskeleton to digest. LoveBugFarm, It would be good (and fun) to be able to follow those month to month reports on breeding roaches to see at what temperature, protein and other food sources, humidity, amount of light, amount of time they are disturbed per day/week, etc., and see how the numbers of deaths and reproductive amounts vary from test to test. My first and only attempt with raising crickets failed for the most part, but after reading and seeing how many people swore how easy it was to breed roaches with barely more than no attention what-so-ever, I decided I'd give it a shot. I was tired of buying crickets and seeing so many die by the time they were fed off, and how many died in shipping or the first day or two after shipping due to the cold, so having my own source of bugs in-house per se seemed to be the answer. Oh, for people still using crickets, I read somewhere (not sure if it is true or not though), that you should try to remove dead crickets, or maybe ventilate the enclosure as when crickets die, their bodies put off a gas that is harmful to the other crickets. Has anybody heard this, or have any idea if it is true? I don't really plan on having crickets again so it doesn't really matter to me, but if it shares knowledge that will help... :0) I'd share my feeder roach source, but I get the impression from her e-mail today that she is about at the point she has too many customers already and is raising the prices 25%, which still leaves her under any other price I could find. I checked back in for the side by side roach taste test between the Fluker Farms High Calcium cricket food and the Lugarti's Premium Dubia Diet, and although I believe the Dubia Diet is probably better for the roaches, they ate about 70% of the Flukers cricket food, and about 30% of the Dubia Diet, so they prefer the taste of the Fluker cricket food. I also read somewhere that roaches love hard boiled eggs to the point the poster said his male roaches were actually fighting over it, but I put two slices of hard boiled eggs into my bin and they barely touched the white or yellow parts and they just dried up. :-p
  8. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    LBF, that sounds like it was a good time chasing the graph for the best results. :0) I took a shot at raising a few crickets last year and it flopped. Just as I was giving up and about to toss the crickets, I noticed itty-bitty baby crickets in the bin, but never had any luck after that. I'm guessing I had too much light, among other things. Are there any roach breeders out there that you are aware of that breed on that same massive scale?
  9. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    OK, let me go back and stress the >20% protein and lethality thing. If you were feeding >20% protein and not providing other forms of food, that is how he said the high protein would be lethal. Feeding other fillers that have low protein, or forcing the roaches to feed on carrots, potatoes and the like for hydration, or letting the roaches run out of food for 12-24 hours would give enough break to make a difference. The statement where the >20% was fatal was something he told Allen Repashdy (SP?) who was trying to create an "all-in-one" roach chow that provided all the food and hydration the roaches had, so it was literally all they had to eat. With no alternative than to go hungry, the roaches would eat the >20% protein rich food and the uric acid would build up and kill the roaches. The steady diet of >20% protein was lethal to the roaches. From the studies Professor Kunkel has done roaches, both nymphs and adults can be raised on as little as 4% protein, and that is more than sufficient for both nymphs and adults. I'm just saying from the studies that Professor Kunkel has performed, aiming for high protein for everyday feeding has a real chance of being detrimental without filler foods.
  10. Taffer

    Newbie feeding questions - hissers

    I'm not saying all species of roach do this, but I've read that roaches can reset their circadian rhythms and tend to be active (I think) in the first four hours of darkness after you turn off their lights, if you have it on a timer or set routine anyway. I keep my Dubia in a black bin so there isn't much light in their night or day, so they can roam, feed and mate as their internal clocks desire! No matter when I open the bin to peek inside and swap out fresh food, there are always several up top that scramble. I wish they wouldn't...I'd like to watch them going about their lives a bit more. I can even leave all the lights off and they still scramble, so I'm assuming they feel the air moving and run. I'd buy a single IR camera and stick in there for the fun of it on a pack of batteries, but we're pinching pennies until we get our house repaired and sold. From what I've heard the City of Virginia Beach didn't clean the storm sewers so when Hurricane Matthew came through a couple of months ago, which was not a major storm, our house got flooded for 3 days and until that is past, insignificant play toys such as that are on the back burner. And since it was a rental, the insurance company will only pay actual cash value, and not replacement value, so we're getting screwed over. They sure didn't change the rates, but they didn't hesitate to lower what they are going to pay us back for repairs because it was a rental.
  11. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    Whoa, I thought I lost this by mistake and had to redo it all...thank goodness for internet caching! Bah, no worries. That is an issue with conversing in black and white versus voice, you cannot always interpret the other persons intentions/attitude with plain text. I didn't take you as argumentative, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't coming across that way myself, especially as the new nymph on the forums. Another reason I doubt many things I read on some sites that sell roaches and they give information on how to breed and maintain your bins...if you are breeding your own colony you're not buying product from them so I don't always trust them to provide the best information. If something goes wrong and your colony fails, then you're more likely to end up buying more roaches and food from that site again. That sounds a lot like a conspiracy theorist attitude, but when sites are telling you to keep your Dubia at 85 degrees and others are saying keep them up to 110 degrees, it begs the question...do they honestly do this themselves or are they setting you up to fail to increase their own profits. Sorry, I work for the federal government and because so many companies intentionally try to overcharge you because they think you don't know what you are talking about, or because you are not physically on site, that they will automatically win the argument and be able to demand more money. I have a vendor trying to charge us over $8,500 to run a data cable 500 feet through conduit to add an additional T1 versus connecting the new circuit across the existing house cable. What bites them in the butt is I've done this type of work myself and I know the that the house cable will easily manage bandwidth up to 80-100 Mbps, and when you are only pushing 1.5 Mbps for a T1 circuit, you do not need to spend $8,500 when you can just use the existing cable. Sorry for the rant, but a couple of decades of stuff like this tends to leave me a little jaded when it comes to people that want my money. Well, actually taxpayer money, but I'm still stingy with it LOL. I was wondering about that too, about how much health difference healthy food makes in the roach health. Joe said roaches "thrive" even on un-nutritious food, so I was wondering if all the bee pollen and strawberries, vitamin's and such in roach chow is actually beneficial, or sales fluff? If it actually helps, I'll spend the money for it, at least until my colony is big enough to make it worthwhile to make my own, but if they could live off of just chicken crumble and be fine, and just do a good gut load before feeding them to my bearded dragon, why waste the time, effort and money? I don't have a response back on that question yet, but Joe is a few hours behind me too. Plus, if he's been doing this for 50+ years, I wouldn't be surprised if he took today off to make it a 4 day weekend and hasn't even seen my questions. :0) I'm sure better food makes a difference, but I was just curious how much difference.
  12. Taffer

    Red Runners Diet

    You answered your own questions in what you said. You're feeding them high protein food, and they also have low protein plants to feed off of to balance out the amount of urates in their bodies. Anyway, I'm not here trying to start an argument, I was just sharing information that a professor that has been posting research papers on roaches for 50 years shared with me. I only have a few months of knowledge and there are so many posts and web sites acting like they are professionals and that their way is the best way, just because it works, and so much of their information is conflicting. Just because it works doesn't necessarily mean it is the best way, it is just another way that is acceptable...thus why I started e-mailing Professor Joe Kunkel, I wanted to get answers from someone that had done actual scientific research. A professor that has been working with a range of roaches over the past 50+ years probably knows a fair amount more than people that have been breeding and selling roaches for 10-20 years. Some people consider Allen Repashy a professional in the roach field, but Allen still goes to Joe for professional advice. Here is a list of research Joe has published over the past 50 years. It isn't in chronological order. http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/roachrefs.html
  13. Taffer

    Newbie feeding questions - hissers

    I'm sure you probably know this, but if the nymphs are dying during incomplete molts, at least with Dubia, it is typically due to the humidity being to low from what I've been told. Is there much chance you have mold in the bin in the substrate that may be causing problems? Of course, starting with such a small amount of breeding adults doesn't leave a lot of room for error. 25% of my adult Dubia died in the first couple of days (25 females and 10 males), but the nymphs did well and took up the slack. I'm not sure if it was stress or what, but the females gave birth (at least one or two females) the first week. Now that the large nymphs have grown I probably have 100-150 adults and I never open the bin when I don't see small nymphs running around. Maybe you just need a little larger breeding pool? I was teasing one of the guys I was trying to help with getting his bin set up because he was very OCD. He even put cabinet shelf knobs on his circles he cut out of the lid to make it easier to remove (shaking my head). I was teasing him that he needs to get an infrared security camera and put in his bin so he can watch them remotely. Maybe you could do something like this too so you can enjoy them without being right on top of them where your presence makes them skittish. :0) I need to find another way to watch the Dubia. Every time I open the bin to feed them, they scurry way like crazy. They don't really have a choice though...when moving air hits their body, it triggers a nerve response to make them run away from the moving air as a defense mechanism to avoid predators...it doesn't include any 'brain' use. Kind of cool, but makes it difficult to watch the little buggers!
  14. Taffer

    Hard boiled egg...

    Interesting DonldJ, I'll have to try that and see what kind of response I get. However, as I've posted elsewhere today, the protein requirements of roaches are pretty low, and too much can be lethal or at least unhealthy. The quote below is from a professor that has been posting his research on roaches since 1966, so I trust him has an authority on roaches The 4% protein diet should satisfy all stages (nymphs and adults). You can produce some happy medium with a minimum of work by allowing them to choose their own diet but forcing them to get some of their moisture from vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that provide more filler that is low in protein and provide a restricted amount of the ~20% protein from readily available dog/rat chow. You may find this FAQ interesting as well. http://www.bio.umass.edu/biology/kunkel/cockroach_faq.html A few questions I found interesting: 6.Why do cockroaches die on their backs? 7.Do cockroaches bite? (actually, they do...they eat about anything that doesn't fight back) 12.Are cockroaches really clean? (yes...and no. They keep themselves very clean, but still walk through poop and such) 39.How do Cockroaches Digest and what organs do they use to do so? 56.How fast are cockroaches? (roaches run away from air movement near them as a built in defensive reaction, no brain involved!) 68.Color cockroaches most attracted to? 79.Can female-only set of hissing cockroaches give birth 7 months after purchase?
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