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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/30/2016 in Posts

  1. 10 points
    Hey guys, it's been a long time since I've posted anything (or have been involved in the invert hobby for that matter). Long story short I'm back into it as of a few months ago but that info will be for another post. After posting the above photo of my bug tubs on Facebook the other day, I had some people want to see how I made them. Because I had more to make, I figured I'd photograph the whole process and post it here. Of course, there's a million ways to make practical and effective colony enclosures. This is simply what I do for mine. They work fantastic for just about all species (including pests). For all of you DIY out there, hopefully this inspires you. It's a very simple job but does require some tools you'll need to pick up or borrow. What you'll need... The tubs can be purchased at Target - this particular size runs for about $7. There's a few other matching larger sizes available. They have a blue gasket around the sides which keeps roaches from sneaking out. Besides the tubs you'll also need a drill, hole saw (same size as vents, the one above is 3"), clear silicone sealant, various razor blades, cutting surface, no-see-um netting or mesh of similar type, and the vents. The vents come from THIS website. The ones I use are the "open screen tab style" (in mill) - they come in all different sizes. I primarily use the 2", 3", and 4" sizes. The vents come with these tabs. You certainly could use them like this, but the tubs I'm making I wanted to be able to keep fungus gnats from freely entering/exiting the tub, and to also keep the tiniest of roach nymphs in. Because the vents aren't fine enough for that, they need to be reinforced with no-see-um netting. In order to break off the tabs, just bend them back and forth several times until they pop off cleanly. Mark your center on the tub lid where you'll be using the hole saw, and then pre drill a hole using a bit that is just a tad smaller than the hole-saw attachment's bit. If you're going dead center in the lid, there's already a mark there actually. Use a high speed setting on the drill so it drills/melts without much pressure. Next, drill the 3" hole using a 3" hole saw. Best way to do this is with the lid on the actual tub and the sides latched to keep it in place, and then hold the tub itself in place while drilling. I recommend a slower setting on the drill for this. Try to drill directly downward and start slow, then increase speed gradually as you feel it smoothly cut. You want to apply even, slight pressure. Push too hard and the lid will crack. I've done about 80 of these containers and have only broken ONE. It was one of the first ones though, and that's when I learned what the lids can/cannot take. As you can see, this is obviously pretty messy and is best done in a garage. After cutting the hole, pull off all of the excess plastic strips by hand. Then, using a razor blade (ideally the type pictured) very carefully smooth out any rough edges and excess plastic that could get in the way of the vent rim. You should end up with a nice clean hole like this that is ready for the vent. Next, you'll want to cut a piece of no-see-um netting to reinforce the vents with. I got the netting off of Amazon for about $10. This was for a pretty big sheet that lasted for a good 50 or so vents of various sizes 4" and under. It's fine enough to keep those pesky fungus gnats from flying in and out (the gaskets on the tubs also prevent this) and therefore creates a pretty much "gnat-resistant" container. Additionally, you can keep Blattella species this way and not have to worry about nymphs escaping while the lid is on. As for cutting, place the netting on a cut-safe surface and using the vent as a reference, liberally cut a piece of netting that's about an inch larger than the vent on all ends using a razor blade. You'll see why to be liberal with the excess mesh in a second... Next, add a very thin line of silicone around the rim of the hole. I chose to use silicone but don't see why you couldn't use a hot glue gun for this project. Afterwards, gently lay the sheet of no-see-um netting over the top of it. Next, add a layer of silicone around the inner rim of the vent. I wouldn't use more than pictured here as it will gush out the sides when you put it on and silicone is a pain to wipe away. Obviously too little doesn't do the job either, so try to match the amount pictured here. With the mesh relatively tight (pull a couple ends) go ahead and insert the vent right into the hole. It should fit perfectly. You can swivel it side to side a bit to even the spread of the glue underneath. Using a very sharp razor blade, now you can cut off the excess mesh. If there's not much excess it's difficult to do this and that is why I recommend cutting the screens liberally. If you have enough to grip with your fingers around the sides, you can cut it nice and cleanly. As you can sort of see in the photo, you'll want to pull the screen so there's slight tension for cutting, and then cut it while simultaneously putting pressure directly down onto the vent (with both your other fingers and the blade itself). This will keep it in place while cutting. Once you've cut off the excess mesh you'll want to double check the vent is sitting level. Because silicone takes quite a while to dry, you'll want to let it sit overnight at least. The hole saw itself makes a good weight that you can leave on the vent to help it dry correctly. And that's it! Now you've got a good-looking, gnat resistant, escapee resistant invert tub. Of course this was just a how to for installing the vents. You can always get crazy and do more for those species that require more ventilation. I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. By the way, leave the stickers on the tubs and save your receipts until you're done. That ONE tub I broke (below) I was actually somehow able to take it back to Target and exchange for another one
  2. 9 points
    EDIT, Nov 2019: In light of new information, this species is NOT Hormetica apolinari, but Hormetica strumosa. A little less-showy than their relatives, Lucihormetica, these are a new addition to the hobby. What they lack in glowspots they make up for in size, robustness, the presence of prominent horns in males, and behavior. They are also quite prolific. Hands down one of the most rewarding species to keep.
  3. 7 points
    A lot of people have been asking me about the species of Panchlora in culture, and why I price the white roaches differently than the others. More specifically, people wanted to know about their size difference. I took a photo to show you the sizes of Panchlora "white" and P. "speckled", compared to P. nivea. Please note that my P. nivea come from a wild population, so they might not be P. nivea at all, but their size is identical to P. nivea that is in culture. These are all unmated females. P. "speckled" is slightly bigger than P. nivea, and Panchlora "white" is even bigger. You can also see the color difference between the species, but I'll note that the light conditions for photographing them were not ideal. Panchlora are known to be very reflective. Besides the body color, you can also see differences in the color of their antennae.
  4. 7 points
    My title has been updated to Rhinoceros Cockroach, for reaching 2,500 posts, which is the highest title you can get! Never thought I'd get here lol, thanks to everyone on this forum who has helped me out and supported me over the years, I really appreciate it!
  5. 7 points
    Cockroaches are white following each molt and it can take a few hours for normal coloration to return.
  6. 6 points
    Another point of view on a male:
  7. 6 points
    Got a pair of this species from Roachcrossing the other day, they are the largest Lucihormetica in the hobby, and are quite beautiful! Hopefully they'll breed for me! Male Female My male L.grossei and subcincta together for a size comparison, as you can see, grossei is quite a bit bigger!
  8. 6 points
    I just wanted to post a little bit more about me and my roaches. As I mentioned on another thread, I happen to be blind.. this of course means that I experience my roaches in a tactile rather than visual manner. I have hissers, and I find them extremely easy to handle and also fun to listen to when they hiss.. As for care, I feel I must reassure people that my being blind does not impair my competency in providing care to my roaches, or myself for that matter! If you wonder why I add this, you might be surprised by the number of people who are under the mistaken impression that blind people can't take care of themselves, let alone roaches. Ok, mini rant over. For my part I am a grad student living in a small apartment, and I find my hissers to be the perfect pet for this environment. They are very easy keepers in my experience and do not seem to be bothered by my touching them as some other creatures migh be. This post is also menat to explain why I might ask someone to describe in words a posted picture. I was able to see for several years and do understand colors and shades of color. I also wanted to post this in case any of you had questions about caring for roaches while blind, questions about my blindness in general or anything else related to what I have written here.
  9. 6 points
    I drove 3 hrs to pick up these guys. LOL Ugh....I still regret not bringing enough money to buy P. bolivari
  10. 5 points
    Neat whip spider from TX. I only had one for a while, but I managed to collect 10 on a trip this week!
  11. 5 points
    After sending some of these out, I wanted to post an article regarding their care since they are a tricky species and are recommended for advanced keepers. Firstly, as you read this, know that quite a bit of it is completely my own experience and observations, speculations, etc and don’t assume it to be pure science by any means. I am posting this simply because, like so many others, we want to figure out how to successfully keep as many cockroach species as possible in captivity. Others had failed with this species including myself, but now I’m happy to announce that I think we’ve cracked the code. I wanted to share that information here and I'll be posting additional updates as I work with these guys more and more. Also, before you get too excited about this species, keep in mind that they are TINY, they can climb anything, and are very sensitive to too much moisture. My container for them was my standard small target tub like in THIS post. Probably bigger than necessary, but it works. The vents are reinforced with no-see-um netting to prevent escapes, and the gasket takes care of this as well. Here are a couple photos of their specific setup. Bedding is a coco, cypress chips, and sand mixture, covered in a layer of dry moss and dry oak leaves. The cork bark seems to be useless as I rarely see them on it. They prefer to hang out in the corners under the leaf litter. One corner has water crystals as you can see. A little background: Luridiblatta trivittata, the Three-lined Cockroach is a tiny species of Ectobiid cockroach that has within the past decade or so been introduced into northern California. They originally are from European mediterranean countries including Italy, Israel, etc. and somehow found their way to the west coast of the USA sometime around 2006. They’ve spread throughout the greater bay area and seem to continue their spread throughout the region with reliable reports from Healdsburg south into Palo Alto (I’m sure they are well outside of this range by now too). Though they occasionally wander into homes, they do not appear to be a “pest species” and spend the vast majority of their time beneath leaf litter outdoors. Many people assume them to be german roach nymphs due to their similarities in coloration/pattern to Blattella germanica. My specimens were originally collected as adults from a park in Larkspur, CA. For care, this species needs things BONE DRY. They begin to die off if kept too moist in stuffy air. My bug room is about 30% humidity and this is probably due to all of the other moist roach containers and a couple house plants, since the rest of the house is in the low 20s or even lower (I live in Phoenix, AZ). They also prefer it warm (80+F). I had some do just fine in a container in 100 degree weather outside. I don’t recommend keeping them at room temperature long term though they may be ok in it especially as nymphs. My original specimens were collected in thin leaf litter on hard, dry dirt that was in the direct sun most of the day in Larkspur, CA. Of course, they do need water one way or another and are susceptible to desiccation like anything else. In my opinion, the best way to provide water for them is to use water crystals in one corner of the container. You’ll have to recharge them frequently. Maybe once a week I do a split second, light mist on the container walls and can see them sipping the tiny water droplets. I would imagine that 99% of their moisture in the wild comes from their food, and they do tend to huddle together in small depressions in the ground beneath the leaf litter which is a fairly common roach behavior to help reduce moisture loss. As long as they are kept this way, they grow very fast and soon you’ll have adults running around. My first adult male matured in 70 days, and an adult female popped out just a few days later. As far as food goes, common roach fare is just fine. Mine seemed to enjoy carrot, cucumber, apple, dog food kibble, etc. The photo at the beginning of this post is of two adult males. Here are some freshly hatched nymphs: The trick isn’t just getting the nymphs to adulthood though, I had an excellent success rate of rearing nymphs to adults in the above setup. The next tricky part is getting the oothecae to hatch. Thank God for Kyle Kandilian and his suggested reading to me that discussed how another Ectobiid roach oothecae (Ectobius sp) required sudden moisture to stimulate hatching. Shoot me a message if you'd like to see the paper. Turns out L. trivittata oothecae are the same, and are comparable to plant seeds. They seem to need to be kept very dry, and then cool/dry, and then sudden moisture and warmth in spring stimulates them to absorb water and hatch shortly after. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. It basically follows the patterns of a Mediterranean climate. My biggest batch of oothecae hatched after just leaving them on the windowsill all winter with a slight misting once a month. Then in early spring they were brought into the warm bug room and I increased the mistings, allowing things to dry out in between. You know when they're about to hatch because they suddenly bloat up and lighten in color (again, kind of like a seed!) Eventually with the dry/wet cycle, you’ll come home to a container full of tiny black Luridiblatta babies like in the photos above. Below is a photo of the oothecae. The left 3 are basically normal oothecae not ready to hatch, and the three on the right swelled up after a recent misting then hatched several days later. The ones on the left eventually did as well with the warm and moist/dry cycles. I am currently culturing this species and plan to run some experiments to nail down their care even more accurately. This time around, I’m also trying to see if I can trick the oothecae into hatching much earlier in the year, hopefully to the point where there can be overlapping generations and that way they are not just a “seasonal” roach. Though I have my own group of F1s that are finally dropping ooths, I'm hoping to collect more this September for anyone interested in this species. Late summer is when adults (mostly females with ooths) can be found in the wild. I'll end for now with a couple more photos...
  12. 5 points
    I'll do a roach room tour eventually. Hang in there
  13. 5 points
    I may actually have some larvae available for sale soon, my colony is doing pretty good and is producing a decent amount of offspring. Will definitely let you know when I have some available!
  14. 5 points
    Posted by cj on 12/25/2006, 5:41 am We have all white roaches taking up residency in our house. now i don't know much about roaches other than i can't kill them because i find them to be quite cute ( and i truly believe that roaches are psychic) anyway i was just wondering what the white ones were. and also there are the other ones here that look like crickets/roaches...i call them croaches. the lady that lives upstairs has a tree frog..she feeds it crickets and roaches and i think they interbread ( i know interbreading between species is possible, infact my grandma had a cat that bread with a dog and had babies..they didn't live very long at all, only a few days but they looked beyond this world!) anyways i just wanted to know what made the roaches white. cjwirth3@yahoo.com
  15. 5 points
    Posted by keith on 12/30/2006, 2:16 pm, in reply to "White Roaches?" i think they are just a albino of the common german cockroach have seen a few mixed in with the reg. ones
  16. 4 points
    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
  17. 4 points
    Here's a species I've been dreaming of acquiring! I was able to collect more than a dozen while I was staying in El Paso, TX
  18. 4 points
    They are very neat little roaches, it's great that more of the native US species have been entering the hobby lately, hopefully this is a trend that will continue! That female that I thought was an adult turned out to be a subadult, she matured the other day, and underwent a significant color change!
  19. 4 points
    I'm wrapping up an article on these for I-M. Anyone have any interesting info on them I might not know? For those who aren't familiar, this is one of the big Spanish species that is becoming common in the hobby. Of course the coloration is the primary attraction.
  20. 4 points
    Got nymphs this species from Kyle a few months ago, and they have started maturing now! Nymph: Adult female:
  21. 4 points
    Another nymph has matured, and my older female laid another ootheca! Here are some pictures of my older female:
  22. 4 points
    Been keeping this strain secret for a while. This strain is the work of Kyle (though I did provide some orange specimens for him to begin with)
  23. 4 points
    Took some pics of the female yesterday. Like other Eurycotis, this species can produce four odor.
  24. 4 points
    Here are some of my Embaphion muricatum adults, these guys are one of the easiest to rear darkling beetles I've ever kept, and the development cycle is pretty quick too!
  25. 4 points
    He probably won't be able to reply for the next few weeks since he just moved into his new house and is busy unpacking his stuffs.