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Everything posted by varnon

  1. varnon

    roach racks

    Hi bug friends. I recently finished my phd in animal behavior, accepted an assistant professor position, and I'm starting up my new animal behavior lab. And guess what that means? More bugs! I will be looking into getting some bumblebees later, but for now I want a better setup for my cockroaches. I would like to set up a roach rack. I am considering something like this snake rack: The rack is a standard metal wire shelving unit with heat cable woven in between the wire shelf grid. Has anyone done anything like this? One concern I have is that the metal would simply act as a radiator and dissipate all the heat. I will use something like tubs with gasket vents as seen here: I'm not sure what size things I want yet. The rack will need to fit in a nook in my lab space (currently being renovated), and then I will get bins to fit the rack. I will have hissing cockroaches, orange head cockroaches, and I'm hoping to get some glowspot roaches breeding. The hissers and orange heads will be for behavioral research, so I will have a few bins for them. The glowspots will be my cute, beginner-friendly roaches, to help people become accustomed to insects. I am not intending to keep banana roaches anymore, but I also still have some of those, apparently. Does anyone have any other thoughts about setting up a nice semi-professional rack? I do have some money I can spend. Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. varnon

    American cockroaches as predators?

    I fed banana roaches to my orange heads once. It was very interesting. The attack does seem to be very predatory in nature. They do actually pounce and chase a little. Any banana roaches escape the initial attack seem to be "safe." I think after a point they smell like other orange head roaches.
  3. I saw this on another site. I am pretty skeptical about what the AI actually does. For example, I wouldn't call turning the temperature down when it gets hot AI. I would call that a thermostat. I really can't think of what an AI would do in this context. It seems like very simple programs could handle everything.
  4. varnon

    Roach Etymology - Help Please!

    I don't have any suggestions, sorry. But I wanted to say, can we keep this thread going? It is very interesting!
  5. varnon


    I wasn't able to find a good link for you, but honey bee queens are frequently marked in this manner. You can purchase numbered stickers to glue to them, or you can mark them with a tiny dab of paint. It is relatively easy to do, and does not seem to be harmful in anyway. I would look into something like this. As for limiting fighting, good luck. They are territorial, so if you have enough space, they each might eventually settle on their own territory. With only a few individuals, this should be possible. You will have to experiment with adding hides, rocks, and branches until they each have a territory they hang out in, but don't mess with the others. They also may be less aggressive if there are no females to fight over.
  6. I've noticed my orange heads react to my red flashlight, mostly when it is moving. They react much more strongly to a white light of course. Other species I have kept do not react to this light. Has anyone noticed this with other species? I'll have to try some other red lights too. Perhaps this one just has a little bit of yellow in it.
  7. varnon


    Thats awesome! I got a copy for my personal library. Its a nice reference.
  8. Yeah, I really like them. I love having a rack of consistent bins! Do you have hissers or orange heads in these bins? Actually, CodeWilster, I think I saw you sell these species, do you keep them in the gasket bins too? Any recommendations for how many vents for these species? They are both pretty low maintenance, but now that I'm setting everything up, I have this odd desire for everything to be perfect. I'm sure that doesn't happen to anyone else. (sarcasm) Looking at other setups, and ptanner's suggestions, I think I will go with the top mounted vents. Seems much easier to install too.
  9. varnon

    roach racks

    I am fairly competent with electronics, so I can handle any water-related risks. Although you are right, it is a major issue to contend with. I originally had the turtles on the bottom shelves, but moved them up one shelf so I could use gravity to siphon out the water. Immediately after I moved them, the siphon broke. I have a non-gravity powered siphon now, so I'll move the back to the bottom two shelves. Water should then be less of an issue. I think you are right about the temperature, I'll check to see how much heat I get just from the turtle lights. It may be plenty. The temperature in this building is unpredictable, so I will definitely be monitoring it constantly. I have smaller colonies of hissers and orange head roaches right now. I don't need to fill up all my bins, but I do need extra bins in order to do research. Essentially, I take adult roaches from the main colony, let them participate in learning experiments, and then put them in an empty bin. Once they have participated in one experiment, I can't use them again. But, I can let them live out their life in comfort (more than most lab animals get unfortunately), and their offspring can go back to the main breeding colonies. When I am collecting data I go through bugs pretty fast. In the last experiment I used up all my adult hissers and orange head roaches in just a few weeks. They got to taste sugar water with small doses of ethanol. They liked some of the drinks pretty well, but there is a point where it gets too strong for them. Later, when I have more new adults, I will see if the "mixed drinks" affect their learning and behavior.
  10. varnon

    roach racks

    Hi all, it has been a while, but I am making progress. It took forever for my lab to be ready. They had to pull out carpet, add tile, and paint the walls. The space is nice, but a little small and oddly shaped. I searched hard for a rack to jam in this weird little corner, and I found one that fit perfectly! I found a website (https://www.webstaurantstore.com/search/regency-wire-shelves.html) where I can order wire shelves at many dimensions, and get the individual pieces, not just the kits. I have 6 bins reserved for aquatic turtles on the second and third shelves. These shelves will have light units. I don't have them all installed yet. Wiring everything together is going to be tedious. Aside from that, it is bins to the ceiling! I probably won't have all 9 roach bins filled at once, but it is nice to have the space. I still have to install vents on the bins. Any thoughts on front vs top mounted vents? And then the heat source. The turtle lights may create enough ambient heat, or I might still need to do something different. I won't have space for a light in front of the rack like allaboutinsects suggested. The ventilation and temperature in this room is erratic, so everything will have to be thermostat controlled no mater what I do. I'm really looking forward to finishing this. Thanks to this forum for all the inspiration.
  11. I just finished setting up my rack and bins. Will be adding vents to mine soon. On checking this thread again, I realize we ended up with the same plastic tubs! They are the only tubs that have a really good fit for my rack. Any thoughts (from anyone) on top vs front mounted vents? How much space should I have between one lid and the next (wire) shelf to keep good ventilation?
  12. Interesting. For me, I have only noticed this with the orange heads, and maybe just the nymphs. It doesn't seem to matter for hissers, banana roaches, bees, wasps or anything else. But apparently it is a thing. It might be a filtering thing like vfox suggested, but maybe it is a mild sensitivity to red. I might have to get some high quality LEDs that emit a well defined range of colors and do some more tests. It would be cool to find out that some species are sensitive to it.
  13. varnon

    Diurnal isopods?

    I've seen native Armadillidium vulgare up and running about during the day time. They are a little more resistant to dry conditions, so I think that might let them be a little more mobile during the day.
  14. varnon

    Reputable Reptile/Amphibian dealers?

    I ordered mourning geckos from Josh's frogs. I really like them. Might get more animals from them one day. I haven't seen another place I really like that much. So many of them sell what are clearly wild-caught local animals. I just can't support that.
  15. In my experience Armadillidium are very drought resistant, but reproduce slowly and are good roach companions. Porcellio, however reproduce very quickly and are always hungry. I have seen them come out from underground and take pinky mice away from my snakes. Unless it is very dry, they quickly outcompete Armadillidium, and will reproduce fast enough that you will need to remove them before they overtake some of the smaller roaches. If its Armadillidium, I think your dominos will do well, and have a nice cleaning buddy species.
  16. varnon

    My Little Collection So Far

    Some of my research is actually "bugs and drugs!" (But I don't do the drugs!)
  17. varnon

    A cool article I found

    Just start selectively breeding orange heads for predatory behavior. We can get there in a few years.
  18. Very nice. I really like the ventilation holes. I'm going to be setting up something new for myself soon, this is very helpful.
  19. varnon

    Lucihormetica grossei

    I like the size, but I still think L. subsincta is the prettiest of the glowspots.
  20. varnon

    Lucihormetica subcincta

    Great pics! I hope you end up with many more. I also got some a while back from roach crossing. I didn't do so well with their humidity and a few dried out, or did not molt well. Now I have only four roaches, one female, one male, and two almost adult nymphs. The male just hit his adult molt. They are so pretty! It is also interesting how they tend to play dead when you first dig them up. I like the little behavioral differences between roaches.
  21. varnon

    Do cockroaches have hunting behavior?

    I've got a video I'll post eventually of my orange head roaches chasing after isopods and banana roaches. It is bizarre to see, but they are pretty efficient at catching other bugs. The banana roaches that escaped for a while were not consumed, I think they start to smell like the orange head colony. Actually, I think this thread might have been the reason I got the orange heads. They are fun roaches.
  22. varnon

    African Clawed Frogs

    I had one that got out a few times. I would find it on the other edge of the room covered in hair. Never had one hop UP the stairs though!
  23. varnon

    Clever little devils!

    I think in addition to individuals cleverly figuring out how to reach a nice spot, I think they are attracted to each other. If I don't check on my hissers for a while, and the vasoline barrier at the lid is old, some nymphs will escape. They end up under random things in my animal room. The interesting thing is, they are always together. I've found several under one object, but never individuals scattered around different objects.
  24. varnon

    Computer regulated enclosures

    Very cool. I am moving in a few months, and I have been thinking about implementing something like that with a Propeller microcontroller. I will be setting up a bug behavior lab with roaches and bees. Stanislas, have you considered publishing this set up? I know a few labs that are becoming more and more interested in roach behavior. I think there would be an interest in something like you described.
  25. varnon

    Hisser tank smells like vinegar?

    In my experience, vinegar smell usually means rotting roaches. They have a little bit of a smell to them anyway, but it is very noticeable when some die.