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At what point should you get Lateralis?

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Alright, alright...I'm still pretty damn adamant that I Do Not want to keep Blatta lateralis. They breed so much it seems downright overwhelming, and their potential pestiness really turn me off of the idea of starting a colony. However, as my tarantula collection grows (I have five right now, with four more coming in April) I start to wonder if one day there will be a necessity to start one. I know I've asked similar questions before, but I have a clearer idea of my situation now and I'd really appreciate some help.

With my spiders, I'm already finding great annoyance with burrowing feeders. I hate the idea of pre-killing just because they'll burrow, it's such a waste if they don't eat it, and I'm honestly sensitive to it. Non-burrowing roaches are a boon in that department, but it's hard to find non-lateralis that are also practical as feeders. The closest I have are my Paratemnopteryx couloniana, the red goblins, they're really the whole dang deal. They set the bar high for me when it comes to the "ideal" cockroach, and so far they're perfect for my needs and comfort level. But I'm worried in the long run, they won't breed fast enough for my future needs. Maybe a large, very well established colony could do it, but I haven't gotten to that point yet to say if it would be enough. Bottom line though, I really dislike lateralis, but I don't want that to prevent me from getting more tarantulas, if it comes down to it.

I talk a lot, so I'll isolate the questions to make it easier. So I want to know, for those of you who keep lats:

 

  • At what point did you decide you needed them?
  • Are they really that worth it as feeders, specifically for tarantulas?
  • What do you do with overpopulation, or do you have enough insectivores to keep it in check?
  • How do you even catch these dang things if they're so fast??
  • How often do you have escapes, and can they breed at room temperatures (68-75F)? I ask because of the pestiness controversy.
  • And I know I've asked this before, but seriously. Are there any other non-burrowing, practical feeder alternatives...? Would keeping a few smaller colonies of other species be practical, or is it not worth it?

 

Sorry this is so many questions, but I'm really worried about the future of my tarantula hobby. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but I don't want to let this get in the way of my hobby and future endeavors. I know it's easy for a lot of you to just say "get them anyway", I can understand that, getting One of these colonies would solve everything, right? But it's not that simple. Even if I got used to them, there's also my partner and roommates' comfort to keep in mind. I know my partner isn't partial to the idea of anything potentially pesty, and the controversy with these guys is enough to be wary about. He's already so patient with my tarantulas and other inverts, I don't want to break the trust he's given me. He's been amazing and extremely accommodating, and the least I can do is make him feel comfortable enough in our own home. I don't want this to effect his life negatively in any way. He was never that interested in spiders and cockroaches to begin with, but he's learned to love them, especially my B. rothi which he now takes care of by himself. They make him so happy, but he has his limits and I don't want to go past that.

So saying I guess it's kinda pointless to be asking about this species if he isn't ok with it? But I just want to know how badly it would effect my hobby if I don't do it. I want to know why it would be worthwhile, why I'd ever want/need to do it, and if I can please just...have an alternative for the long-haul. Sorry this is so many words, but thanks guys, you've always been great with answering my questions, even if they are a little dumb or repetitious. c:>

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I don't have lats so i can't comment on most of you questions but if your that worried about them you could also look into Parcoblatta as feeders. Parcoblatta fulvescens might make a good option and you wouldn't have to worry about the pestiness.

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I actually made a thread about that before! While the males flight is "Eh" it seems like they don't do it readily which is a reassurance. I'll likely get P. latta one day, but I don't know if they're enough, feeder-wise. Maybe in tangent with the red goblins? I wanted P. fulvescens, but I hear they're very...panicky, or whatever adjective you want to use. In tangent with their speed, that seems troublesome. I'm not sure exactly how fast that is though. Lateralis are fast, but how do fulvescens compare? If they were cheaper, I might experiment to see how they are in person, but anecdotal evidence of their behavior still makes me hesitate.

I wonder if enclosure set up changes that, though. My red goblins were very skittish and most of them took to climbing and trying to escape when they didn't have cover. After giving them tons of hiding spaces, maybe one or two climb once every now and then but it's almost nothing. They're much calmer, but in general they're a very bold and relaxed species until you disturb them, of course. P. fulvescens sound like nervous, skittish roaches from the start, so I'm not sure if their enclosure design would change that.

Still, I'm not sure. Having multiple opinions helps though. Have you kept them before, or just going off of research?

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Pfffft. I should have thought that response through. I read back through the old thread and I'm Near Certain I don't even want to try my hand at fulvescens, but the latta are really appealing. They're so pretty to boot, but I'm not sure just how fast they reproduce. I think that'd be a good question to have answered. I hear that the genus can be tricky to breed because males mature and die much faster than females do, so that can be tricky, but I guess some species are worse than others? Sorry this is a little long-winded, it's confusing, especially since they're not that commonly talked about. I read a lot of other forum posts but they're mostly about other species.

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The only Parcoblatta I'm currently keeping is P. divisa and they only seemed flighty as the first ones matured. After i started seeing them mate they seemed to calm down and since only the adults climb I usually don't even worry about it. P. divisa hasn't breed fast enough for me to make them a feeder yet but I just started the colony last fall. Personally i use dubia for my larger T's and crickets for my few small or less active T's and occasionally hissers for my GBB's. Hopefully someone else can comment on breeding speed on other Parcoblatta. I suggested P. fulvescens only because I've read here that others have used them and they are tend to be prolific.

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As an admitted lateralis addict, maybe I can shed some light.

  • At what point did you decide you needed them? The moment I saw them. 
     
  • Are they really that worth it as feeders, specifically for tarantulas? Yes. They can't climb glass or plastic well, they reproduce at a rate that makes the colony a viable primary food source, and they add (in my opinion) a necessary variety to the diet of insectivores. BUT it depends on the tarantula. Right now I'm feeding slings the smallest P. pallida nymphs and Blaberidae "Kenya" nymphs, while my LPs are far too big and see the lats as more of an annoyance than food.
     
  • What do you do with overpopulation, or do you have enough insectivores to keep it in check? I've been selling my extras on eBay. You're not going to get rich, but they are always in demand as feeder roaches. Alternately, you can freeze some ootheca so they don't hatch or feed off the females to prevent more ooths.
     
  • How do you even catch these dang things if they're so fast?? Well... you get really creative and really good at anticipating their movements. For example, I had some small nymphs escape and set up shop under the plastic container that houses my well pump, but I was patient and lured them out with syrup.
     
  • How often do you have escapes, and can they breed at room temperatures (68-75F)? I ask because of the pestiness controversy. Regularly and yes. I'm incredibly vigilant with them, but they are sneaky little buggers. This is my emergency plan: http://a.co/hYifpy6. I have it in all the dark and moist cozy spots in the house and it DOES work. I'm also lucky that I live in Michigan, so any to escape my house would not make it through the winter. The likelihood of them establishing in a home or becoming invasive increases the farther south you go. 
     
  • And I know I've asked this before, but seriously. Are there any other non-burrowing, practical feeder alternatives...? Would keeping a few smaller colonies of other species be practical, or is it not worth it? Again, yes and yes. I'm a firm believer in nutritional variety for insectivores. While you can control some of this with your feeders' diet, I think different species also contribute to a well-rounded and more natural diet. In addition to the Little Kenyans and P. pallida, I would recommend a hisser species (I like E. javanica for their ease of care and coloration). The nymphs vary widely in size, so you can feed a range of insectivores, and the adults make pretty fun companions. Also, they look less "roachy" and are easier to contain, which would help put your partner's and roommate's minds at ease. 

And finally, my recommendation: Don't get them. Despite the benefits, don't get lats if you're at all nervous about them getting out. They WILL. It doesn't matter what you keep them in, a few will find their way into your house. I once had an entire batch of freshly hatched nymphs squeeze through a tiny (<1 mm) cross ventilation hole that they accessed when a stick fell next to it. I've also had males fly out of the enclosure and run for their lives. I've even had a few females escape and found nymphs roaming the roach room some time later. It's not worth the stress and hypervigilance unless you really love the species.

That being said... if you DO decide to get some, I highly recommend a natural enclosure for them (the bottom few photos: https://imgur.com/a/87KwB). They get really stinky using the eggcrate and plastic tote method.

Plus, they can be incredibly entertaining. I've seen so many unexpected behaviors that I don't think I would have discovered using the typical feeder setup — females digging holes to bury ooths, covering the holes with moss, then other females stealing that moss for their own ooths; males scratching or smoothing their wings on branches above them; females carying bits of food 1/2 their size back to the burrows for the young. 

I could write novel on them, but hopefully this helps in your decision. 

 

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I have had mine since December. So far I have only fed off males and a few nymphs. But for tarantulas and slings they are perfect. I keep mine in a hefty bin with egg cartons. It took me while to get the right humidity and temperature gradient. Now I have hundreds of nymphs. My adults are dwindling. But it appears their lifespan is months. I place a deli cup in the bottom on the bin and try to brush off feeders with a large paintbrush. Mine appear to ear carrots more than anything else. 

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