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DPO

Looking for inspiraton/suggestions.

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Hello!

I am looking into expanding my collection a bit and would like some suggestions from you guys.

The roaches I am looking for should posses a number of attributes:

They should be hardy, fairly easy to breed and rather easily contained.

Voracious and polyphagous.

Thrive in, or atleast tolerate, humid conditions well.

They should basically be able to somewhat handle composting duty.. and that's pretty much the general outline!

(Some rules can be bent, others broken.)

Perhaps something like Hemiblabera tenebricosa or Henschoutedenia flexivitta or something like that?

My collection is currently focused mainly on Pycnoscelus spp. and Eublaberus spp. but other than that I have Shelfordella lateralis, Nauphoeta cinerea and Blaberidae sp. "Kenya" - so suggestions other than those would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

/DPO

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I currently use Pycnoscelus surinamensis for composting. They meet all your criteria. They eat everything I give them including banana peels. I keep them in a large bucket with 15cm of moist coco fiber. A thin layer of petroleum jelly is enough to keep them contained. They're not very good climbers. They multiply very quickly. I went from 100 to a couple thousand in less than a year.

If you already have them in your collection I'd highly recommend them as a composting colony.

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I agree with you 100% on the P. surinamensis! P. nigra is actually even more voracious in my experience!

But as I wrote - I'm looking for suggestions other than those ;)

Thank you for your attention!

/DPO

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Anallacta methanoides- Beauty, easy to breed/hardy, thrives in humdity

Eurycotis floridana- Beauty, easy to breed/hardy, tolerates humidity, eats lots

Nauphoeta cinerea- Easy to breed/very hardy, thrives in humdity, Ideal for composting, easily contained

Periplaneta americana- Beauty (to me at least), easy to breed/hardy, thrives in humidity, ideal for composting, easily contained

Periplaneta australasiae- same as americana except for containment (new born nymphs are a little tricky at first)

Those are my suggestions. I would (if I were you) get N. cinerea, P. americana, and P. australasiae. All are great breeders and awesome composters. Mine eat everything I put in there :)

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I already have N. cinerea and they are wonderful :)

I really like E. floridana and P. americana (the White-eyed in particular) -- but from what I've heard those two are somewhat of a nightmare to contain? Also a bit worried about the P. americana as a potential pest.

I'm also looking into Blatta orientalis and Paratemnopteryx couloniana at the moment. Not quite sure about them though.

Thank you :)

/DPO

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I'd like to know how things go for you if you choose to compost with B. orientalis. They're hardy, really fecund, fairly easily contained( although males can climb smooth surfaces), the nymphs won't burrow into your substrate, love humidity, and will eat just about anything (although in my experience, productivity will go down a little if not provided with protein once every week or so). However I personally wouldn't use them for the purpose you're interested in. I have some issues with getting their ootheca to hatch in dense colonies. I think that once their numbers build up, they produce a lot of frass that then gets wet from the humidity, which kills the eggs. I'm not sure if it's due to harmful bacteria and fungi attacking ootheca or if it's due to the fact that the ootheca are deposited into what I assume is a hypoxic environment (wet frass). I've tried remedying this by allowing for more ventilation and less humidity, but a lot of my subadult nymphs molted out into adults with splayed,crooked legs and wrinkled wings. Also, they're not that keen on eating dead or weak individuals, so you need to watch the enclosure for dead roaches because they can really accumulate compared to the other roaches I keep. I've recently added lesser mealworms to my enclosures and they seem to help out a bit, though. If you really want to compost using this species, I recommend cleaning frass out often and hatching ootheca in separate containers. Otherwise, a species that you already keep, Blatta lateralis, is a good alternative that tolerates less humidity (no soggy frass to worry about) and is even more fecund than Blatta orientalis. Blaptica dubia may also be a good choice since they meet most if not all of your criteria and you don't have to worry about removing ootheca from frass. Just use a colander to sift the babies out when you clean, and don't let their frass get damp.

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Thank you for your input!

I agree. After a bit more research I don't really think that Blatta orientalis (or Paratemnopteryx couloniana for that matter) will do that well..

I have had multiple and quite large colonies of Blaptica dubia in the past (when I had a ton of tarantulas to feed) - my only problem being that they seemed extremely picky about what they would eat.. at least compared to my other species.

Any thoughts on Hemiblabera tenebricosa or Henschoutedenia flexivitta?

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P. americana arent hard to contain in my experience. Instars from i1-i3 cannot climb smooth surfaces so you can use a bin and cut a hole and glue regular screen on it without any issues. E. floridana are more difficult than P. americana. P. americana I wouldnt worry about becoming a pest just because they like more humid places. So if you have a leaky shower or sink that might be a problem. I think anything from the Blattella genus and Gyna genus are harder to contain than the Periplaneta genus.

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Both P. coulaniana and B. orientalis are pretty cool species to have as feeders, pets, or just because, though. Hemiblabera tenebricosa is a pretty neat species as well, although they're taking a while for me to get to a sizable colony. However, they'll eat lots of anything and they'll breed great without a heater. They require plenty of substrate that must be kept moist, though, which makes it difficult to separate roaches from your compost. Henschoutedenia flexivitta actually seems like a pretty good choice. My colony is small right now, but they put away a decent amount of food considering I don't have too many. They're great climbers, but like most climbing species, they're really easy to contain with Vaseline around the rim of their enclosure. If you don't mind me asking, are you already composting with the roaches you own? If you are, I'd really like to know which species processes the largest amount of organics for you

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I did composting with N. cinerea and a colony of 5,000-8,000 went through 5-7 pounds of scraps in a night. I would like to start it with P. surinamensis soon as I hear they devour everything.

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I did composting with N. cinerea and a colony of 5,000-8,000 went through 5-7 pounds of scraps in a night. I would like to start it with P. surinamensis soon as I hear they devour everything.

I hope I'm not distracting from DPO's question, but I might just let my Lobster colony grow out if that number can pack away that much, although I could definitely see that considering I have to feed my Nauphoeta cinerea colony much more often compared to other colonies of similar size.

But back on to suggestions, would you consider Blaberus spp. ? They fit most of your criteria as well, especially because I've noticed that they're not as reliant on a moist substrate as Eublaberus spp. and Hemiblabera tenebricosa. I keep B atropos and B. craniifer, and both eat a good amount, with B. atropos being less picky and eating slightly larger quantities. They still need some moisture though, and the nymphs do like to hang out in the substrate.

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I pretty much use all my colonies for composting. Overall the Eublaberus spp. will do most of the processing - however - relative to colony size I would say that Pycnoscelus surinamensis and Pycnoscelus nigra are the most efficient. At least in my experience.

All the species i currently keep are actually handling composting duty really well.

I was quite surprised with how well even Blaberidae sp. "Kenya" did.. Compared to their size ofcourse!

Blaberus spp. are just not my thing :)

I have kept a handfull of Blaberus spp. in the past - primarily as feeders - and I guess I just got bored with them? Same goes for hissers really.. I usually don't get "bored" with any species - but these just don't appeal to me anymore :/

I think i might go ahead and give Hemiblabera tenebricosa and Henschoutedenia flexivitta a try and keep my eye on the possibilities of Periplaneta americana.

Perhaps look into Byrsotria spp.? I had a colony of Byrsotria fumigata once but I don't recall much about those guys.

Thanks again :)

/DPO

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