Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
wodesorel

Dubias are dying?

Recommended Posts

This is the first time I've got larger numbers of dubia, but it's also the first deaths I've found. In the past week, I've have about 10 adults (males and females) and several nymphs turn up dead on the surface of the substrate. Since I do have several inches of peat moss and leaves in there I'm sure there are more that died underground or were buried by the activity of the others. These are the first dead dubias I've found since I got them last September. The adults that died could only have been about a year old. I ordered another 100 mixed from a different source about a month ago to try and keep them from inbreeding too much. (Thought some genetic diversity would be a good thing.) I don't know if that's related.

Any ideas on what is happening? If this is normal (which seems strange that they're dying off all of a sudden now) then I'd like to feed the dead to my hermit crabs so they don't go to waste. I'm just worried that if I accidentally poisoned them with something they shouldn't have eaten, or if they came with a virus or parasite that is causing the problems, that I could inadvertently kill or infect my hermits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been finding more dead adults daily and I pulled out another five dead in the last 24 hours. I'm thinking that this is not normal. :( Any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something funky is definitely going on. I noticed it today when I had two dead males. The new ones I got are much smaller than my originals - both in overall size and in mass. There are multiple adult males and females that are about half the mass of my original dubia. Some size difference I'm sure is normal, but I've never had anything this extreme among the dubias before. The new roaches are all roughly the same size, and my old roaches are all roughly the same size. Next to each other they look completely different!

DSC00333.jpg

DSC00334.jpg

I've separated out the original adults in the hopes that they have not mated with the new adult males because I do not want smaller roaches. I still have no idea what is causing the deaths either. I'm going to wait a few more weeks, but I'll probably end up selling the mixed colony on craigslist (which sickens me since I really needed them for the scorps but I don't have the room for two dubia colonies). If I'm lucky I can just start from scratch and get healthy robust dubias again. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also had 3 out of the 4 Vibrant Hissers die as well. Same thing - they're fine, and then they're dead the next morning.

I've caught a few of the dubia in the stages of dying - triping over themselves and not able to stand up. Still can't figure out why. Even separated they are still dying. Both adults and nymphs.

All the roaches in that room get the same food from the same containers, so I doubt it's that. The wood all came from the same place, the substrate from the same bag, the leaves from the same place. These are the only two species (aside from one Wide Horned male months ago) that have been affected.(I mean I haven't had one other death at all.) I haven't been maintaining any quarantine procedures and the two species that are affected had never come in contact with each other. If you can't tell by my frequent and frantic posts I am seriously concerned about what is happening.

So... yeah... The deaths continue and I still have no idea why.

(And the size difference does seem to be the different sources. I've had more adults molt from the new batch and they are like little micro machines compared to my original behemoths! There's one male and a female that are about 35% smaller than that small guy up in the photo. I kinda like them tiny, but I have separated the colonies so I don't loose that big gene!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any kind of aerosol or other chemicals been sprayed around the room lately? I also remember someone posting about how the use of some industrial superglue in close proximity to their dubias obliterated their colony. If it had been solely the dubia, I might have thought that you had just bought a lot of your starters at roughly the same age, and they had just reached the end of their rope; however, since your vibrants are dying, there must be something going on. I really hope you can figure it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Dubias dying sounds like starvation or internal parasites killing them where they slowly become weak. The pictures you posted the Dubias abdomen don't look that fat, in a huge colony if you don't feed lots of food weaker roaches who cant get to the food are bound to end up starving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of my roaches are kept in a dedicated room, with the tubs right next to each other. The dubias were on one side of the room and the Vibrants on the other. (I've since moved them around so I can get to their tubs easier on a daily basis.) If it was something environmental I would think that the other 9 species in the room would have been affected as well but there have been no deaths of any of them. I have Giant Cave and Giant Peppered who are doing great. Wide Horned, Flat Horned, and hyrbid hissers as well where there have been no deaths. (The Dominos, Question Marks, and Egyptian Sand are all still alive, too.)

I'm usually pulling extra food out of the dubia tank when I go to feed them again. I would always rather overfeed them and toss the extra than underfeed them and risk them killing each other. Comes from having hermit crabs, I think - when they don't eat they go after each other.

My first thought was those adults were all from the same brood and were dying off of old age together, but it's become a mixture of ages and from the two sources. I pulled another 7 dead out today, and only 2 were adults. I will never get used to the smell of dead roach. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The past three days there have been zero deaths!! :)

Not sure why... The only thing I did different was I changed out their normal water dish (a small bowl with rocks) back to water crystals. It was the same day that they stopped dying, so that might have been it, or it could just have been coincidence.

I do have several adults males that had severely disfiguring molts. First time in a year I've seen any dubia with malformed wings. It's got to be related but I don't know how, and these bad molts just started this week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the heat made your tank dry and low humidity lead to dehydration and bad molts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The substrate has been nice and moist in there and I've been checking daily. The room itself is at 50% humidity all the time, so I doubt it's lack of moisture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there have been sudden changes in temp/weather that could have affected them, than that could be it. I know I lost a lot of Fuscas to sudden temp changes before. Otherwise, my only thought would have to be the age of some, and the weak being pushed away from the food by other roaches so they eventually starve. I have a few dubias that, despite them being full, they will steal the food from another dubia and run off with it.

Is there anything different that you do/did with the two species that had a massive die off than with the other species?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had added 100 mixed dubia from a different source about a week before they started dying off, but the roaches came from what I've been told is a very good and trusted source. The Vibrants came from the same source. Otherwise no, nothing had changed and nothing was different.

Are there communicable diseases that could have been passed? I know that both my original colony and the new roaches have been dying off equally as the size difference between the two are drastic so it's easy to tell which batch they came from.

The first bin of dubia still aren't acting right, but deaths are way down. I've had three more deaths since the last update, all of them adult males who had just molted and had wing deformities - they lived for a few days after and I was expecting them to die with how bad they looked. There are several more males with funky looking wings in there, and none of them seem to be acting right. All the dubia in that bin are very slow and easy to catch. They seem weak and "soft" if that makes any sense as well, even the females and nymphs. Quite mushy, actually. Like they aren't processing their exo properly when they molt. I'm also not seeing any new nymphs being born.

The second bin of dubia where I had separated out my originals to (around 24 adults that I knew hadn't crossed yet) have been going strong and have only had a few deaths in the beginning. They are already pumping out babies, so that's a sigh of relief! They get the same food and water and care as the first bin so I can't figure out why they are doing better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still getting a few dead ones here and there (nearly all adult males) from the affected colony, and while I am seeing females with egg cases on a near daily basis there haven't been any new nymphs born since this whole thing started. I ran out of crickets and was worried about FemScorp so I did give her one of the more lively males from that colony - she was able to clunk her pedipalps all over it for a good minute and the thing never even tried to run away. I had to poke it so it would move enough to trigger her reflexes. At this point I'm not sure if I should wait it out or just cull all of them. I may try pulling out all the live ones and putting them into a 10 gallon with fresh substrate to see what happens. I did fine one shed exo that was extremely bright pink like someone else had posted about recently, but it was only once.

Colony number two is doing great and is having so many babies!! I'm not worried at all about them now. It's amazing the size difference as the adults are a good 30%-40% larger than the affected colony. I'm (sort of) looking forward to fall so I can restock them with fallen dried leaves as right now they're making due with some green dried leaves I had done last summer for my hermits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally had enough and went through the bin yesterday, moving all the ones that were alive into a 10 gallon with fresh substrate. I lost count as I was sorting, but there were much fewer than there were before I even got the shipment of 100. :( I've lost probably 30%-50% of the total number, and they've stopped reproducing. (Maybe 250 total, and there should have been 400-500.) There were three 2i nymphs, and everything else was a 1/2 inch or larger. A surprising number of adults as well, nearly half.

The bin smelled vaguely deathlike and I found a lot of parts of adult roaches half-eaten. There were also hundreds of tiny little black beetles - I'm assuming dermestids that came with the ones I ordered? I certainly never put them in there. Other than that no signs of anything being wrong with the substrate or the bin.

The ones that are left alive all look mostly normal. No deformed wings. They do all seem weak and slow and I had no trouble catching them this time. Some are extremely undersized, but the ones that seem to be doing the best are the big ones that are likely offspring from the second colony that were left behind when I separated them.

The only weird thing was one large nymph that was strawberry blond in color. No doubt it was freshly molted and I'm sure that's why it was lighter, but the amount of reddish color on it was startling and I have never seen one that blatantly pink before. I'm hoping it's just a mutant and that it's not a sign of a bacterial or fungal infection.

Great news is that in the second colony there are even more babies today! I'm going to have to get them a bigger enclosure as they are quickly filling the 10 they are in now. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad to hear your second colony is doing well, despite the crash of your other.

I just wanted to add something about the size difference. Someone on here said that more cramped enclosures can produce smaller individuals, and I have noticed that in my colony recently. My population has exploded, and all the new adults I'm finding are significantly smaller than normal. Furthermore, it is possible that having roaches so densely in an enclosure could make the exchange of pathogens easier, so maybe the small ones you got were kept in high numbers in relatively small spaces, and carried some sort of pathogen that then spread to your other roaches. Just a speculation.

Anyway, I hope you're remaining roaches continue to thrive well, and, who knows, if it was indeed a disease that wiped them out, they might be resistant to it now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you post a pic of the strawberry nymph id love to see as I'm trying to breed yellow and red Dubias as we speak!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't find it now, but I haven't wanted to go digging and stress them anymore. If it comes up again I will try and get a photo of it for you. :) I thought about it that evening that you would have wanted to see it! I didn't have my camera with me during the move and I've been pretty sick for the past week so I ended up going to bed right after.

Thanks satchellwk. :) This whole thing has been so bizarre! Interesting about the size being related to being crammed. I'll have to see what happens in the future with them since they have so much space here. :) What IS a normal size for a dubia? The mini ones are around an inch and my original ones are easily two inches. Maybe I've got it backwards and my originals are just giants. :lol:

I have proof now that the affected colony is cannibalizing each other for sure, even though there is protein (dog food) available to them. I had a female that must have been in the molting process when she was half-eaten and killed as her nymph exo sloughed off when I picked her up and there was a hardened adult exo underneath it. (It was really weird.) Not sure why they would be going after each other as I vary their diet as much as possible and they aren't overcrowded.

And moving them has had a huge effect on their appetite! They're going through 10 times more food then they have in months. :) (

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×