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kawaiiroaches

Nymphs Unable to Complete Molt? *NOW URGENT HELP NEEDED*

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My female hisser has given birth twice this year. I gave most of her first brood away, but I kept two. This was about six months ago, probably. She just had new babies two days ago  

Today, both of my previous juveniles molted. Or tried. I’ve been keeping the cage very warm and humid. They seem to be only partially molted on their backs... It’s been hours. Is there anything I can do besides put them out of their misery? They’re barely even moving at cage temp around 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity...

 

What caused this? The stress of new babies since my colony had been so small? Lack of protein in diet? Just... Birth defects? Something else..? 

I’m heartbroken, but I want to prevent this from happening again if I can. I can add a picture later if it might help.

EDIT: Both of my older nymphs passed away, but I’ve only had one casualty from my current brood. I’m suspecting it was something to do with not getting enough protein... I’m going to look for a dog food with more protein than what I’m currently using. 

I’m also suspecting my female roach is an oblongata instead of a common hisser. She’s colored very different from my little male. 

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Update, other hisser babies died within a day of the bad molts and now I think it’s happening again. What am I doing wrong?! I gave them high protein dog food plus their normal fruits/veggies combo and I’ve been keeping the cage pretty warm....

I really need help, I don’t want more nymphs to die because I’m doing something wrong. Please help me... 

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Sometimes I've found insects in general (not just roaches) can have bad moults when they haven't got enough humidity so I'm wondering what level of humidity you are keeping them at? You say "high" but do you have a humidity meter in the cage and if so what is the level? Also what substrate and temperature? It seems odd to me that the older nymphs did not mature in over six months, I tend to find hissers of various species mature more quickly than that in general - I keep them around 22-25 Celsius (sorry not sure what that is in Fahrenheit) and they usually take 3-4 months to mature.

How many babies do you still have and what size cage are they in? Do they have anywhere to hide, like cork bark or toilet roll tubes? I think they can get quite stressed if there's nowhere to hide especially during the day. 

Otherwise I can't really see anything obvious you're doing wrong, so it could also just be that they wouldn't have survived anyway - it does happen and I tend to find there are always a few casualties in every brood, although I appreciate it's much harder to lose one or two when you only have a few to start with.

When I first started keeping roaches my first female only had four babies in her first and only brood before dying and I lost all of them 😞 I was really upset by that and, like you, at the time people on here told me I wasn't doing anything wrong either and I still to this day don't know what caused it as I have not changed anything much about how I keep them to this day. But then I got three more females which each had at least one large brood, and now I have a thriving colony, so much so I have had to separate out the female nymphs before they mature so they can't breed otherwise I would be over-run with hissers! 😮

 

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19 minutes ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

Sometimes I've found insects in general (not just roaches) can have bad moults when they haven't got enough humidity so I'm wondering what level of humidity you are keeping them at? You say "high" but do you have a humidity meter in the cage and if so what is the level? Also what substrate and temperature? It seems odd to me that the older nymphs did not mature in over six months, I tend to find hissers of various species mature more quickly than that in general - I keep them around 22-25 Celsius (sorry not sure what that is in Fahrenheit) and they usually take 3-4 months to mature.

How many babies do you still have and what size cage are they in? Do they have anywhere to hide, like cork bark or toilet roll tubes? I think they can get quite stressed if there's nowhere to hide especially during the day. 

Otherwise I can't really see anything obvious you're doing wrong, so it could also just be that they wouldn't have survived anyway - it does happen and I tend to find there are always a few casualties in every brood, although I appreciate it's much harder to lose one or two when you only have a few to start with.

When I first started keeping roaches my first female only had four babies in her first and only brood before dying and I lost all of them 😞 I was really upset by that and, like you, at the time people on here told me I wasn't doing anything wrong either and I still to this day don't know what caused it as I have not changed anything much about how I keep them to this day. But then I got three more females which each had at least one large brood, and now I have a thriving colony, so much so I have had to separate out the female nymphs before they mature so they can't breed otherwise I would be over-run with hissers! 😮

 

I have an egg carton in the 11x7x8 tank, along with two toilet paper rolls and a hollowed coconut shell. They sometimes hide under the plastic dish for their humidity/water sponge. The nymphs still tend to hide in the substrate, is this weird? I wouldn’t consider my cage “damp.” I’ve seen it argued about whether or not the hissers and their nymphs thrive in higher humidity, so do they? I’d always just assumed so. 

This time, my molts have come much faster, it’s been about 3 weeks since they were born and I’m getting my first molts. One completed, but is now acting strangely, as though it can’t walk. The other has not yet completed, but I’m leaving it completely alone to see what will happen. This brood has 39 now, probably soon to be 37 if nothing changes with the conditions of these two... 

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Out of my six hisser species, my room stays at 25-29 C (82-87ish F), 29 being the hottest. The room is always at 50% humidity or higher, 70% is average. I've never had much of a problem with molts. Every now and then I might get one that had trouble. If I see them struggle I will set them next to or onto a water source to help loosen the shed. I suggest buying a humidity gauge so you can physically see the levels. Mine all stay on a coconut fiber bedding, but I do not mist anyone. I would also looking into some water crystals or water bytes. They hold humidity well and is what we use at work for probably a million roaches total. Like the last comment, sometimes you just can't fix the situation. (Lost a whole colony of Dusky Caves for no reason what so ever once...)Make sure if you're feeding greens and fruit you are giving them a good wash before feeding to avoid any possibly pesticide poisoning. Roach Crossing the website has a helpful and free guide you can download that has lot of nice info and certain issues with possible cures. Keep us updated and good luck! 

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23 hours ago, kawaiiroaches said:

This time, my molts have come much faster, it’s been about 3 weeks since they were born and I’m getting my first molts. One completed, but is now acting strangely, as though it can’t walk. The other has not yet completed, but I’m leaving it completely alone to see what will happen. This brood has 39 now, probably soon to be 37 if nothing changes with the conditions of these two... 

After a moult they will quite often sit very still for a while whilst they harden from pure white to their regular colour. However it's possible that part of the feet got stuck in the old skin which means the nymph might either have lost some tarsi as it pulled its feet out or it might have some old skin still stuck on its feet - I've seen both of those happen and they can often survive this, and if they do usually the nymph is OK the next moult (less likely if the skin is stuck on its feet, but if they lose parts of their legs as nymphs they can regenerate them as they moult).

However if you are seeing either of the above symptoms it would suggest to me there isn't enough humidity for them to shed properly - they tend to get "stuck" more often if it's too dry. Having said that you don't want to keep them soaking either - I keep mine with a completely dry substrate (coco coir) but I do mist them daily (in fact I have an automatic misting system to do it) so the humidity is generally around 60-80% in their cage.

FWIW a full moult of a small nymph is usually done within half an hour although it can take a bit longer - however if it's taking several hours there's definitely something wrong.

I would agree with what Boomie says above and get a humidity meter to see what the actual levels are - perhaps it seems humid but it isn't at all? If so then at least you can start spraying them more often and hopefully that will help.

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1 hour ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

After a moult they will quite often sit very still for a while whilst they harden from pure white to their regular colour. However it's possible that part of the feet got stuck in the old skin which means the nymph might either have lost some tarsi as it pulled its feet out or it might have some old skin still stuck on its feet - I've seen both of those happen and they can often survive this, and if they do usually the nymph is OK the next moult (less likely if the skin is stuck on its feet, but if they lose parts of their legs as nymphs they can regenerate them as they moult).

However if you are seeing either of the above symptoms it would suggest to me there isn't enough humidity for them to shed properly - they tend to get "stuck" more often if it's too dry. Having said that you don't want to keep them soaking either - I keep mine with a completely dry substrate (coco coir) but I do mist them daily (in fact I have an automatic misting system to do it) so the humidity is generally around 60-80% in their cage.

FWIW a full moult of a small nymph is usually done within half an hour although it can take a bit longer - however if it's taking several hours there's definitely something wrong.

I would agree with what Boomie says above and get a humidity meter to see what the actual levels are - perhaps it seems humid but it isn't at all? If so then at least you can start spraying them more often and hopefully that will help.

I believe I will go to the pet store today and buy a humidity meter. This may be the problem, actually. One of my nymphs from the last post completed its molt in around another hour and is running around, happy and eating!

I believe the other may have skin stuck on its feet... It can walk, but has some trouble. I’ll keep an eye on it. I have another nymph starting its molt today, so I’m going to try to keep my humidity high, around 75-80%. 

Should I perhaps set their heat a bit lower? I’m currently using Aspen snake bedding, though I know coconut fibers are probably best, this bedding is all I have right now... I would say it doesn’t tend to retain /too/ much moisture. 

I’d really like to thank everyone a lot for helping me out with this. I’m very passionate about my little pets, so I want them to be as healthy and happy as possible. 

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Another update:

I’ve been keeping my humidity at exactly 79% and my little ones are molting just fine! I’m very pleased. :) 

Just out of curiosity, my female is terrified of the mister and hisses loudly and runs whenever it releases well... Mist. Is she just weird? It doesn’t seem to bother the nymphs or my male at all. 

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I do sometimes find hissers hiss at the sound of a hand mister, I may be wrong but my theory is that it can sound to them like another hisser hissing nearby and maybe they take it as some kind of alarm which stimulates them to hiss themselves? Young nymphs can't hiss anyway (I think that ability comes at around 4th instar or so) so I wouldn't expect them to hiss at it. Some of my tiny nymphs do run away but I've always put that down to an aversion to getting wet rather than fear of the mister. Again a very unscientific observation rather than any sort of definitive answer though!

Mind you that doesn't explain why the male doesn't react anyway! Usually I find it's the males which are more "hissy" than females but maybe in this case you've just got a very quiet male. Does he hiss much otherwise?

How many nymphs have now moulted successfully for you?

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8 hours ago, BlattaAnglicana said:

I do sometimes find hissers hiss at the sound of a hand mister, I may be wrong but my theory is that it can sound to them like another hisser hissing nearby and maybe they take it as some kind of alarm which stimulates them to hiss themselves? Young nymphs can't hiss anyway (I think that ability comes at around 4th instar or so) so I wouldn't expect them to hiss at it. Some of my tiny nymphs do run away but I've always put that down to an aversion to getting wet rather than fear of the mister. Again a very unscientific observation rather than any sort of definitive answer though!

Mind you that doesn't explain why the male doesn't react anyway! Usually I find it's the males which are more "hissy" than females but maybe in this case you've just got a very quiet male. Does he hiss much otherwise?

How many nymphs have now moulted successfully for you?

I find it odd in particular because my male is actually rather chatty! He can get so loud and continuous that he wakes me up at night. He just doesn’t register the sound of the mister as a hisser I guess. :P 

I was aware the nymphs won’t hiss for a few more months at least, they just don’t seem to particularly have an aversion to being wet. So far I’ve counted twenty-eight good molts that have darkened, one that’s changing from white, and I see a couple already that are large enough that they will probably molt within the next couple of days. Most of them are still sticking close to mom or each other, but my last brood did this too, so I’m assuming it’s normal. 

Sorry for the novel post, I just love discussing the behavior of hissers. For bugs, they can have such wildly varying ‘personalities.’ 

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Update: 33 nymphs have reached their second molt stage! We have been eating celery, dog food, and strawberries and keeping one side of the tank humid while the other is fairly dry. For the holidays they got some peach slices, which the nymphs (and my shameless, fat, fruit-loving adult female) heavily enjoyed.

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