BlattaAnglicana

Newbie feeding questions - hissers

34 posts in this topic

Thanks Hisserdude, yes I am glad she wasn't in distress for long. 

One rather morbid newbie question - what do people do with dead roaches? Being completely new to this I don't really know what to do with her body. I have seen that people have "clean up crews" that will eat dead roaches but I don't have any of those. I don't want to leave her in the cage but I'm not sure the local waste disposal guys will appreciate a dead roach in the bin either, and if they saw it they might call the exterminators in which I obviously don't want! 

I'd like to take her out in the garden and leave it to nature, but I'm not sure whether she might be harbouring any exotic microbes that might not be good to release into the UK - we have a lot of problems with invasive species here and I wouldn't want, inadvertently, to introduce some hisser-specific Madagascan microbe into the ecosystem that might cause harm either.

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50 minutes ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

Thanks Hisserdude, yes I am glad she wasn't in distress for long. 

One rather morbid newbie question - what do people do with dead roaches? Being completely new to this I don't really know what to do with her body. I have seen that people have "clean up crews" that will eat dead roaches but I don't have any of those. I don't want to leave her in the cage but I'm not sure the local waste disposal guys will appreciate a dead roach in the bin either, and if they saw it they might call the exterminators in which I obviously don't want! 

I'd like to take her out in the garden and leave it to nature, but I'm not sure whether she might be harbouring any exotic microbes that might not be good to release into the UK - we have a lot of problems with invasive species here and I wouldn't want, inadvertently, to introduce some hisser-specific Madagascan microbe into the ecosystem that might cause harm either.

Me too, I hope the others fare well for you! 

I used to bury my pet hissers in my potted plants, however that was before I started breeding roaches. Nowadays if I have to dispose of my roaches I just throw them in the trash. If you just put them in a trash bag then then nobody should ever see it or notice it, and honestly I doubt it would arouse any suspicion. Not like it's illegal or anything. 

Nah, they shouldn't carry any microbes that would harm your native fauna, if anything any microbes they carry are probably adapted to a warm and humid micro-habitat, so they'd probably die off in your area. Burying her in your garden would probably be just fine. 

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Thanks everyone for your help - I have now buried my dead female in a plant pot in the garden this morning. I felt i just couldn't throw her in the bin as she was a pet, even though I didn't get to keep her as long as I had hoped.

There is a tiny silver lining today in that I am sure I saw a fourth nymph in the cage this morning - I found three hiding in various places in the cork bark but then I am sure I saw a tiny pair of antennae waving deep inside another crack in the bark, so it looks like she may have had more live babies than I thought :) In fact there are so many crevices for them to be hiding in that piece of bark there may even be more than four - I guess I will only know for sure when they start growing and get too big to hide in there any more! And by that time the other female may well have given birth too (hopefully without any of the unpleasant complications) so I am still hoping I will end up with a healthy colony even though one of my founder females has died earlier on than I had hoped. Let's hope so anyway :)

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Sorry to hear that she passed! I personally try to pin up specimens when they die if they're still in good shape, but it typically doesn't happen to often in most of my colonies because the others will munch on the dead a bit before I can get to them. 

Good to hear you're finding more nymphs! 

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BlattaAnglicana, sorry, I know this is a late reply, but I wanted to chime in, and check in to see how your colony is doing and how the nymphs have grown? 

I was reading on a FAQ site that a professor that works with roaches posted (started posting research papers on roaches back in 1966) and unless I'm confusing my source, he doesn't think roaches have the brain capacity to feel and remember pain as humans do, so even if this female may have seemed to suffer by human terms, chances are good that she didn't actually suffer from her perspective. 

I'd guess the female that died was much older than the seller said.  I don't know about hissers directly, but you can't really tell the age of an adult roach unless you separated them out as nymphs and knew when they became adults, and chances are he/she just pulled these out of the colony and they had no real idea of their age.  I may be wrong, but how many people have the room to store bins of roaches based on their ages so they know for certain they are selling younger stock?

Has the other female been successfully breeding for you?

I believe I also read that if you want to view your roaches without causing them to run away, use a black light or infrared light.  I don't believe they are able to really detect either.  I've not tried either, but infrared is outside our human scope of vision, but if you pull out your cell phone camera, the CMOS receptors that capture the light for pictures should be able to see the infrared light.  It may look like an episode of 'Ghost Hunters' in black & white grayscale though. 

Here is a good FAQ on roaches from the University of Massachusetts.  I found several of the Q&A very interesting.

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 move or 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? (did you know that roaches run away from air movement near them as a built in defensive reaction, no brain response 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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Hi Taffer, thanks for your concern but unfortunately there's not a lot of good news to report I'm afraid :( Of the four nymphs that were born to the female that died I only have one left, two died in the past couple of weeks and one very early on. One of the recent deaths is a bit inexplicable as well as the nymph looked very healthy until literally the day before, although the other one that died was weak to start with and got injured (antennae clipped) and was really obviously weakening before it died, so I knew it wouldn't last long.

The other female did give birth to one live nymph that died a few days later and unfortunately she too suffered a small prolapse, and although she seemed to make a full recovery unlike the other one, she has since twice aborted an ootheca so I think sadly the prolapse caused her some long term damage which has left her unable to breed.

On the plus side the final nymph is now at fourth instar (I think - I know it has moulted at least three times) and seems so far to be growing well, and I also bought three more females a month and a half ago, although there's no sign yet of them giving birth. Several people have suggested I feed them more protein which I have been doing, and I have slightly increased the humidity (one corner of the cage now has wet substrate and the humidity is around 70%-80% rather than 60%-70%, but they all avoid the wet corner completely (which they didn't before) so I'm not sure whether it's helping or not!

Anyway I am still hopeful I will be able to have a self-sustaining colony eventually! And if not I guess at least they have given me a lot of pleasure as pets, they are fascinating little creatures to watch interacting with each other, especially the male patrolling his "territory" and trying to woo the females even though they are all gravid and always ignore his hisses and antennae strokes! I use a red lamp to watch them at night when they are more active, which I think they can see a bit but not as much as a white light which makes them scuttle away as fast as, well, roaches! :)

 

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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!

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Thanks Taffer, I am pretty sure they didn't die of bad moults as I didn't see them trying to shed their skins or any sign of deformity immediately after the moult. All three of them had at least one good moult and the biggest one that is still alive has had three so far, so I don't think it's bad moults causing them to die. Also there's no mould on the substrate as, apart from the one corner which I have been keeping wetter only for a couple of weeks, the rest of the substrate is basically dry. I keep the humidity up by misting the sides of the enclosure and (at the moment) that one wet corner which is the opposite side to the food so it's less likely to mould. I also remove fresh food before or at the very latest as soon as there's any sign of mould or fungus growth.

TBH I really don't know what I could be doing wrong, I've changed what I can at the suggestion of people way more knowledgeable about hissers and roaches than me, and they have said that what I'm doing now is fine, so I guess it must just be that I've got weak individuals or possibly older ones than I'd thought. I was prepared for some nymphs to die off (especially if I'd had big litters from my females) but when they have only given birth to a very small number it's sad to lose them :( Just hoping the new females (from a different colony) are made of stronger stuff and do eventually give birth to lots more nymphs.

19 minutes ago, Taffer said:

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)

Funnily enough I have thought of getting an IR CCTV system and recording what they actually do overnight - I'm sure they are much more active in the early hours (when I'm asleep!) than they are even in the dark evenings, as the one or two times I've woken up in the small hours and gone to have a look at them more of them have been out and active than earlier on! I also tend to find the food bowls (actually milk bottle tops and jam jar lids!) and leaves on the substrate have been moved around in the mornings whilst I've been asleep so I bet they are scuttling around all night knocking the scenery about when I'm not looking! :D

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3 hours ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

Funnily enough I have thought of getting an IR CCTV system and recording what they actually do overnight - I'm sure they are much more active in the early hours (when I'm asleep!) than they are even in the dark evenings, as the one or two times I've woken up in the small hours and gone to have a look at them more of them have been out and active than earlier on! I also tend to find the food bowls (actually milk bottle tops and jam jar lids!) and leaves on the substrate have been moved around in the mornings whilst I've been asleep so I bet they are scuttling around all night knocking the scenery about when I'm not looking! :D

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. 

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