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DonaldJ

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Everything posted by DonaldJ

  1. When my B. Orientalis finally die of old age I'd like to preserve them for further study, mostly via photography. What are the best practices for such a process?
  2. DonaldJ

    Insect consciousness...

    In case you missed it, here's an interesting article about what's going on in those little bug brains: http://www.independe...n-a7002151.html
  3. DonaldJ

    Ventilated lids...

    I just made a series of plastic rings to create ventilated lids, using commonly available empty containers. You can use aluminum foil and use a pin to make a bunch of tiny holes for those really small critters. The digital files are available here: http://www.thingiver...m/thing:1608190
  4. This is a spiral "hotel" which they seem to enjoy. Time lapse video here:
  5. DonaldJ

    Hard boiled egg...

    I ran out of other sources of protein for my B. Orientailis so I decided to give them a piece of the hard boiled egg i was eating (no salt). Although there was plenty for all of them they didn't want to share; first time I've seen them fight over food. The adult females were especially enthusiastic over chowing down, which make sense because they have become ootheca factories. For me, this is an easy solution for their protein needs, unless it kills them ;-)
  6. This is a minor milestone, but the second generation of my B. Orientalis have started hatching. There are now about 25 little nymphs running around, maybe more as they are too quick to count accurately. With more than forty oothecae yet to hatch I should end up with quite the colony; the adult females are still producing. Yikes! What I found significant is that I read that this species takes about a year to reach maturity, but it's only been ten months between generations (hatching to hatching). Thanks to all in this forum for their help with these critters!
  7. DonaldJ

    No final molt?

    It's not something that was planned. I found a big female in my kitchen last summer after new windows were installed; it probably hitched a ride on some packaging material. My initial impulse was to squash it, but it would have made a big mess. And then I had this strange insight that, in the cosmic scheme of things, we were both on the same level of existence and killing it no longer made no sense to me. Releasing it outdoors seemed a death sentence exposing it to poisons and predators, so I decided to give it a happy home and see what happens. She dropped six ootheca, only two of which produced nymphs. I've enjoyed watching them develop while I've experimented with different habitats and food, and have learned quite a bit. Their movement and social behavior are of particular interest to me. They are not feeders and I don't plan on collecting any other species; I don't consider them pets. They are a fine, basic bug worthy of study and an interesting topic of conversation at the local tavern ;-)
  8. DonaldJ

    No final molt?

    All of my B. Orientalis sub-adults reached maturity at least 5 weeks ago except for two. Is there such a thing as roaches never fully reaching maturity?
  9. DonaldJ

    Eating ootheca?

    I just observed one my adult female B. Orientalis eating an ootheca. She is ready to drop one herself. There are five adult females in the container, all seeming to drop oothecae at the rate of one per week each. There is plenty of food, including dry cat food which should provide enough protein. Is this a case of the female destroying the offspring of rival females?
  10. DonaldJ

    Eating ootheca?

    Me too! I have about thirty so far that have passed the "float test," and they're still coming.
  11. DonaldJ

    Eating ootheca?

    The little piece of egg carton in the container seems to be working. There is only one compartment but they put some food in it and there were three oothecae when I switched out containers today. I emptied the compartment and will see if they add the food again before depositing their treasures. Thanks again for the tip!
  12. DonaldJ

    Eating ootheca?

    Okay, I put a piece of egg carton in the container and will know in a day or two if it makes any difference; two females have oothecae protruding. They must find the egg carton tasty...it looks like they enjoy nibbling on it. Thanks for the tip! By the way, what is the LOPWHHSOTHATPP Squad ?
  13. DonaldJ

    Eating ootheca?

    Ack! A different (non gravid) female just chowed down on another ootheca. Is this some kind of crazy feeding frenzy?. There are still four or five ootheca in the container and I will transfer them shortly. Any idea what's going on?
  14. I've had B. Orientails for about a year now, and they can tolerate quite a range and don't mind the cooler temps. I've read that they can live outdoors in the winter in parts of western Europe but I don't know how cold they were talking about. I'd guesstimate that around 50F is a safe lower limit; they may not breed but it shouldn't kill them. They really slow down above 80F, more than 87F may be fatal...I don't know. It hasn't gotten that hot in my apartment yet (no air conditioning). When I transfer them to a different container I put them in the 'fridge for a while, about 40F...it puts them in a stupor and makes for easier handling. No ill effects unless they're adult females ready to drop an ootheca. They may abort and die shortly thereafter.
  15. DonaldJ

    Moldy oothecae?

    Oh, yeah. Originally all the critters were in one container, about half adult male and half adult female and subadults. Their behavior was crazy, and I thought the females were being overly stressed. A lot of activity, but little mating (according to time lapse video); the females were being coy and ignored the males. I put six males in a separate container, leaving one male with the females and subadults, and they all calmed down. The last two subadults are sure taking their time for the final molt, though...if it *is* the final molt. They look relatively small. There is also quite a variation in the size of the adults, which I find interesting.
  16. DonaldJ

    Moldy oothecae?

    There is a white mold growing on some of the oothecae (B. Orientalis) that I've transferred to a separate container. This cannot be a good thing. What is the proper incubation environment for oothecae? Too little humidity and they dry out, too much and you get mold. I am perplexed. Is there a remedy? I was thinking of a water rinse, or pehaps a quick dip in a diluted bleach solution, followed by a fresh water rinse. Thanks for any tips!
  17. DonaldJ

    Moldy oothecae?

    Good suggestion. As an experiment I gave the oothecae the "float test" in a solution of water with a little bleach. Out of 19 oothecae, 8 were floaters which were then destroyed. The remaining 11 were gently wiped down with a cotton swab and left to air dry. These were then placed in a container which was also rinsed out with a bleach solution. Time will tell if this an effective protocol. One thing is bothersome, though. Some of the oothecae are showing signs of puckering, like they may be drying out. I don't know what that means.
  18. DonaldJ

    EMERGENCY: ANT INFESTATION

    Do any of the roach species eat ants? I've read that the orange heads are pretty voracious.
  19. DonaldJ

    A slow death...

    I suspect genetics have a lot to do with it; another death yesterday. A sub-adult died with some white discharge at the posterior. Am keeping a close eye on them.
  20. DonaldJ

    A slow death...

    About three days ago I found an adult female B. Orientalis on her back, with slowly moving legs. I placed her in a separate enclosure for observation; she moved around a bit, but very infrequently. She remained immobile most of the time, with slight movement of antennae and palps. Her last movement was this evening. Any previous motion was *very* slight; it was only by monitoring time lapse video that any movement was detected. Here is an image of the last moments: I apologize for the poor quality...it is a cropped section of a frame grab of the time lapse video. The only thing I noticed that seems out of the ordinary is the way the "neck" is stretched out. Any ideas of possible cause of death? All of her brood mates are doing fine and are very actively eating & running around. Before this occurred a female had an aborted ootheca but I don't know if it's the same one. Thanks.
  21. DonaldJ

    A very silly idea...

    I didn't think the critters were getting enough exercise in their little vivarium so I made them an exercise wheel.
  22. DonaldJ

    A very silly idea...

    I read that a vivarium is an enclosure for the study and observation of creatures in a "semi-natural" environment; plants are not necessarily required. Since these Blatta Orientalis are "city bugs" they don't usually see a lot of green space. But I'm not about to replicate sewers and drains... Not sure yet about any practical purpose. I've noticed they spend a lot of time walking around the perimeter of the container bottom and I was wondering what they were doing. They have food, water, and places to snuggle in. Are they looking for something or just stretching their legs? They don't mind the wheel, but it doesn't rotate very quickly; they don't weigh enough to get it really spinning. If there are a bunch of them hanging on the bottom of the wheel it doesn't turn at all. I'll know more tomorrow when I review the time lapse I'm shooting.
  23. DonaldJ

    A slow death...

    Not egg binding. The fully formed (pale color) ootheca was retracted into the body and then quickly extracted and dropped off. The ootheca was then eaten by her buddies. About three days later a female started dying; I'll assume it was the same female because the other critters are fine. There have been no changes in care or conditions, but I may have inadvertently caused the death. Every week or so I transfer the bugs to a clean container; there is no substrate and I don't like to see a big buildup of frass. To simplify handling I put the vivarium in the refrigerator for a while, until the bugs are in a sedated state. Last time I did this I noticed a female with a pale ootheca, but I didn't think the nap would hurt her. I was wrong, and I think the stress started a downward spiral; she lost the ootheca an hour or so after reviving. I feel very bad about this, but I didn't see anything in the internet "literature" about this type of thing. But now I know a little more...
  24. DonaldJ

    Ventilated lids...

    3D printed, but the principle is simple. Any round thing with a slight interior taper will do the same thing. You could use a lathe, or a hole saw (with lots of filing and sanding). A piece of plywood would work fine if you use a coping saw to cut the hole with a taper, or you could laminate pieces of corrugated cardboard with decreasing hole sizes for the taper...many methods/materials are possible. This was a spur of the moment project, determined by current needs and the containers I have on hand.
  25. DonaldJ

    Preserving dead specimens?

    I want to be able to pose and position them without any body parts breaking off. Is there some kind of "magic juice" that will allow it?
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