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Hi all,

For those of you who add rotting wood/leaves to your enclosures (like for B. giganteus), how do you prepare it? Do you collect a rotting branch/log and sterilize it somehow, or add it straight into the tank? Do you take a fresh piece of wood and innoculate it?

Thanks for your input!

-Eric

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I do not sterilize. I watch out for mold though.

I do the same thing too and I my roaches have never had any problems with it. I've heard multiple times that bacteria from outside is good for them.

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I heat them to 150 F. This kills any insects and insect eggs from other species that may take over your enclosure. I have been doing this for years and never had a problem. Freezing does not kill most of the insects and insect eggs as they have evolved to deal with these lower temps. Depending on your source and your location you may get other insects showing up if you just put them in their. Some of the beetles, moths, earwigs and others can be a big bummer to deal with if they start reproducing in your enclosure and then move from enclosure to enclosure. Sometimes you even get weird things like Geophilomorpha Soil Centipede... which loved to eat my baby Thailand millipedes...that was a hard lesson to learn...lol. These are just my experiences...your experiences may differ... :)

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MrCrackerPants that was exactly the kind of thing I was worrying about! Do you still see the same benefits of rotting wood after sterilizing? Or does it have to still be decaying to be of benefit? I've been wondering if it would be worth getting some fungal innoculant, either from a vendor or from adding material from a known, safe source, just to potentially restart the decomposition process.

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MrCrackerPants that was exactly the kind of thing I was worrying about! Do you still see the same benefits of rotting wood after sterilizing? Or does it have to still be decaying to be of benefit? I've been wondering if it would be worth getting some fungal innoculant, either from a vendor or from adding material from a known, safe source, just to potentially restart the decomposition process.

I do not think this is needed. I see the same benefits with the rotting leaves. I also see the same benefit if I keep the moisture level up in the enclosure so the rotting wood still continues to decompose. If the rotting wood dries out to much the decomposition starts to really slow down. Because of this I will often have a dry end and a moist end to my enclosures. The rotting wood and leaves are stacked on the moist end and the decomposition continues. If rotting leaves are placed on top of the rotting wood they hold the moisture in and the wood is always moist. This also creates a moisture gradient (high to low) and the roaches can choice where they want to be. They often move from the moist area (to eat the wood and leaves and drink) to the dry area which has dry dog food. This gradient works really well for some roaches but you never want this for millipedes. The millipedes will move to the dry end and just die of dehydration. I hope this helps. Good luck! :)

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Thank you very much MrCrackerpants, and everyone else, for responding. It makes sense that by simply keeping the wood moist decomposition would start all over again naturally...but this time free of unwanted hitchhikers! I am looking forward to getting some giganteus in the nearish future, and this should be quite helpful in raising nymphs.

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Thank you very much MrCrackerpants, and everyone else, for responding. It makes sense that by simply keeping the wood moist decomposition would start all over again naturally...but this time free of unwanted hitchhikers! I am looking forward to getting some giganteus in the nearish future, and this should be quite helpful in raising nymphs.

Just as a side note, I have multiple enclosures of Blaberus giganteus (Giant Cave Roach) and I do not put any rotting wood or rotting leaves in with them. I have had them for years and had multiple generations. They have a 2 inch coir substrate (moist in one corner) with a winging platform in the middle. I feed them dry kibble dogfood. That is all. They are very healthy and very large.

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Really? That's interesting... I always thought they only did well when provided with some rotting wood to eat. What roaches do you provide leaves and wood for?

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Really? That's interesting... I always thought they only did well when provided with some rotting wood to eat. What roaches do you provide leaves and wood for?

I bet if you add leaves and wood it will increase reproduction but (in my experience) it is not essential with Blaberus giganteus.

Here are the ones I add leaves to but I do not believe all are essential.

Some species ( I hear) need leaves so I provide them but have never tried it without...species like Therea petiveriana (Domino Roach), Polyphaga aegyptiaca (Egyptian Desert Roach), Ergaula capucina (Burmese Beetle Mimic Roach), Ergaula sp. "Black Giant" (Big Black Beetle Mimic Roach) and

Therea olegrandjeani (Question Mark Roach). As a side note my Archimandrita tesselata (Peppered Roach) reproduction was very low. I added leaves and they ate them like crazy. Recently, their reproduction rate exploded...may just be a coincidence.

Archimandrita tesselata (Peppered Roach)

Byrsotria cabrerai (Striped Burrowing Roach)

Byrsotria rothi (Roth's Giant Burrowing Roach)

Elliptorhina chopardi (Dwarf Madagascar Hissing Roach)

Ergaula capucina (Burmese Beetle Mimic Roach)

Ergaula sp. "Black Giant" (Big Black Beetle Mimic Roach)

Gromphadorhina grandidieri (Tiger Madagascar Hissing Roach)

Gromphadorhina grandidieri "Black" (Black Tiger Madagascar Hissing Roach)

Gromphadorhina oblongonota (Wide Horn Madagascar Hissing Roach)

Gromphadorhina portentosa (Traditional Madagascar Hissing Roach)

Gyna lurida (Porcelain Roach [Yellow Form])

Hemiblabera tenebricosa (Horseshoe Crab Roach)

Henschoutedenia flexivitta (Giant Lobster Roach)

Oxyhaloa duesta (Red-Head Roach)

Polyphaga aegyptiaca (Egyptian Desert Roach)

Simandoa conserfariam (Simandoa Cave Roach: Extinct in the Wild)

Therea petiveriana (Domino Roach)

Therea olegrandjeani (Question Mark Roach)

This is just what I do. Others do not go to the trouble. I like a natural enclosure with wood and leaves and recycle my leaves and wood (and pretty much my whole streets leaves and wood). You would be surprised how much your neighbors like you if you come and rake and collect their dead leaves and wood ever fall. My back yard is full of giant black bags of dead leaves and wood...lol...I leave them in the sun over the summer and the temperature gets to 145 F. They are then ready to add to my enclosures. The bugs then eat them. This eventually leads to huge amounts of substrate that I use for new enclosures or give back to my neighbors for their gardens, flower pots, etc.

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Nice! I like that you reuse stuff that people would otherwise dispose of! And I also like the fact that you give soil to your neighbors for their needs!

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That sounds like a very nice little gig you've got there! I was already planning on going to a nearby cemetery which is heavily wooded to collect leaves when they start accumulating in the fall...but maybe I'll just offer to rake some nearby yards!

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That sounds like a very nice little gig you've got there! I was already planning on going to a nearby cemetery which is heavily wooded to collect leaves when they start accumulating in the fall...but maybe I'll just offer to rake some nearby yards!

Ya, it REALLY helps me to get the leaves and it helps them too. After a while people in the neighborhood tell other people "Ya, that's that guy that feeds my leaves to his bugs" and other people are like "What!?!" lol :)

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Haha you tell people what it's for? I would just tell folks I'm using it all for composting...

By the way, you have a very impressive roach list!

Ya, I let them know. They always have lots of questions but always let me rake their leaves...lol. Thanks!

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Ya, I let them know. They always have lots of questions but always let me rake their leaves...lol. Thanks!

I LOVE the questions I get at school about them and the people that are actually being genuine and asking serious questions are the best!

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RomanBuck, what kind of questions do you get about your roaches? I've always been pretty surprised that whenever I tell people (even new housemates) that I keep roaches, they are surprisingly calm about it. The only question I ever get asked regularly is what I keep them for.

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I get asked why I have them, what do I do with them, where to get them, what I feed them, why I touch them, do I feed them to anything stuff like that

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most are pretty open minded but I do get the people that ask a TON of questions that are intrigued but at the same time grossed out. I would say 70 percent of them are intrigued and 30 percent are grossed out

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most are pretty open minded but I do get the people that ask a TON of questions that are intrigued but at the same time grossed out. I would say 70 percent of them are intrigued and 30 percent are grossed out

That's pretty interesting, I would think that given the stigma cockroaches receive in this country that the proportion of grossed out people would be higher. I guess this is getting really off topic though... thanks to everyone who replied, I found it very helpful!

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I think here in the North, the stigma against cockroaches is not quite as strong, as many of us have never even seen the pest species. My students are a mix of interested and grossed out. I think that the "interested" students outnumber the grossed out ones.

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