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Everything posted by BlattaAnglicana

  1. I don't think there's anything at all wrong in getting emotionally attached to your pets - although I now have so many inverts (stick insects mostly but also 3 roach colonies of at least 50 individuals each) I simply don't have time to get attached to them individually, when I first had roaches (three and then five individuals) I really did "bond" with them and gave them names, so when they died I was quite upset and gave them a little "burial ceremony" too. I think if you have any interest in and empathy for living creatures in general then in my opinion you're bound to get attached to them, it doesn't matter what they are - inverts, fish, reptiles, mammals - if you keep them as pets. And even now, whilst I don't name them any more and don't have time to follow their lives as individuals in general, if there is one individual that "stands out" from the crowd in any of my colonies (e.g. I have a male Gromphadorhina portentosa who clearly didn't shed properly in his final moult and his exoskeleton is all "wrinkly" where I don't think he was able to "inflate" his new skin properly whilst it hardened) I will always look out for them when I am feeding or cleaning out the colony and am more sad if I see they are getting old or have passed on than I might be for the others. Like you I have real problems euthanising insects, I still feel I don't want to take their lives deliberately and as long as I can see that they are able to eat and are not damaged fatally in any way I try to keep them alive as long as I can. It's always a sad occasion for me if I feel I have to euthanise one of my roaches (or any of my inverts) and really it is only when I realise that keeping them alive is keeping them in a worse situation and in more stress (which I do believe inverts feel, even if I don't know whether they can feel pain as we would know it) than euthanising them, that I can do it. Hope this helps anyway...
  2. The only thing I can think of if there's no obvious physical cause of death is that there might have been residual pesticides on the food. Do you use organic fruit and veg to feed them? And if not do you wash and preferably peel the fruit and veg? I would certainly give that a try (I also peel and wash organic food as well just to be double sure!) if you aren't already doing so. If you are already feeding them organic food the only other possibility is perhaps the heat lamp is too close and hot for them? I use a heat mat (with a thermostat to control temperature) on my roach enclosures rather than a lamp, as the heat they produce is very gentle and won't overheat the enclosure, as long as you use a mat that is appropriately sized for the tank.
  3. I've seen a few with one or two of their body plates turned up like that after a moult (usually to adulthood thought), but not all of them! For what it's worth the ones I've seen with one or two plates turned up seemed to have no issues with the deformation, were healthy and lived normal lives, but what I don't know is what causes it and whether this one will be any different because all its body plates seem to be turned up. I guess if it seems OK and is eating etc. the best thing to do would be to keep an eye on it and see what happens at its next moult?
  4. OK that just looks like she has died and been partially eaten, it’s not a prolapse. She might have been the one who gave birth but I wouldn’t say the two events were necessarily connected - it’s just as likely that another female gave birth to the nymphs and this one happened to have died on the same night. in my experience E. javanica live about two years, they don’t seem to live as long as the other hisser species, although to be fair my javanica colony is more crowded than my other hisser colonies so that may also be a factor.
  5. RE the female with the "hole" in the abdomen - without a photo it's hard to diagnose but on occasions I have seen female hissers give birth and then prolapse their insides really badly and die off quite quickly after. Admittedly I've never seen it in E. javanica but I have seen it in G. oblongonota quite a bit and once in G. portentosa. Whilst this never looks like a "hole" to me (more like white stuff protruding from the abdomen) it's possible she gave birth, prolapsed and died a few days ago and (sorry if this is a bit gruesome) the others might then have basically eaten her - to them any dead body is just carrion (and therefore food), they obviously don't see it as "cannibalism" like we would, and quite often I will find dead roaches which have clearly been part eaten by the others. So it's possible this is what may have happened. I don't know why your other hissers have died - the male could simply have been old age if you have had him a while, and this species I find doesn't live as long as G. portentosa and G. oblongonota, and maybe the other adult female that died was not that young either. Alternatively I do think that hissers can get stressed in transit, and maybe that has caused the deaths - I have had a few die off not long after I got them. Personally I don't keep mine very damp - the substrate is pretty much completely dry, they get sprayed for 15 seconds by an automatic mister twice a day and so that one corner is a little damp but that's it. So yes I would suggest making sure they are not too damp. I have seen a huge explosion of grain mites which was due to over damp conditions and which definitely caused deaths in my E. javanica colony but it sounds like you don't have a problem with mite numbers (and I assume they are "hisser mites" rather than grain mites anyway). Good luck with them and hope you don't have any more unexpected deaths.
  6. Do you have a photo? I have seen live (and very healthy) hisser nymphs with the colouration you describe, which was because they were very close to moulting and had stretched their old skin as far as it would go and the white parts between the body plates were showing, so it would really take a photo to show whether yours had any more untoward symptoms.
  7. I've kept phasmids (Neohirasea maerens) in a bioactive setup with isopods (just a common woodlouse species I picked up from the local woods, I am not sure of species) and they were fine, as far as I'm aware the isopods didn't eat the phasmid eggs and the substrate was certainly kept cleaner. However I went back to using kitchen roll in the end for the simple reason that having a bioactive substrate makes it difficult to collect the eggs. I just left them where they were, in the end way too many of the eggs hatched and I ended up with far too many sticks (over 450!). I think some who use bioactive setups freeze the substrate periodically to ensure that not all the eggs hatch but unless you're prepared to sift through to pick out all the woodlice first then they get frozen too, and I wasn't prepared to kill them just for the sake of controlling the stick insect population. So now almost all of my phasmids are kept on kitchen roll and for those which just drop their eggs to the ground (most species) it makes it far easier to collect the eggs and freeze them early on (when I don't have such a bad conscience about it!) which means I can keep the population under control better. The one exception is that I have a small number of Dares phillippinensis nymphs which need high humidity and which are reckoned to do much better on damp coir or similar (with or without isopods / springtails) than kitchen paper. I don't currently have any woodlice or springtails in the cage and intend to change the substrate fairly regularly so it doesn't get fouled up. The main reason I'm happy with this setup is they are very slow growing and only lay eggs very slowly which means I can move them to another container and sift out the eggs relatively easily (or I hope so - none of them are yet mature!).
  8. 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?
  9. 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.
  10. 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! 😮
  11. Funny you should say that, it's exactly the word I use to describe teneral roaches too!
  12. I know exactly how you feel! Having started with just three individual hissers two years ago I now have 11 stick insect species, 3 large colonies of three different hisser species, 8 millipedes (all the same species) and some blue death-feigning beetles, and their maintenance is getting pretty time consuming alongside a full time job ?, so I'd be interested in everyone's tips too.
  13. Test Account - I'm a bit confused, you seem to have said they like humidity in your first post but 50% is too much in the second??? For what it's worth I looked up the climate in the Sonoran desert (where I believe these come from in the wild) and humidity there seems to vary from about 15-20% in summer to about 45-50% in winter, and as they are at around 40% humidity most of the time in their enclosure now I am hoping this will be low enough for them to tolerate long term. Temps in the Sonoran desert seem to vary from about 4 Celsius min (very cold!) to 40+ Celsius max so I guess they are adapted to a wide variation in temperature too, so should be able to cope with most indoor temperatures OK. I have put a tiny water "dish" (actually the lid of a contact lens case!) in with them which I refill every few days (letting it dry out completely for a couple of days in between) so I guess if they need to drink they will do so and if they don't they won't! Given they are desert creatures I am assuming they are well adapted to conserve water and will only look for it if they need it.
  14. OK - quick update, with a small heat pad on the bottom of part of the enclosure and a small PC fan to circulate air the humidity seems to be coming down to a steady 40-50%, so I hope this will be low enough for them. I've read they don't need misting and they are getting "wet" food (banana, carrot, apple etc.) but that dries out really quickly - within a day - in this sort of dry atmosphere, so should I be giving them water crystals or a small water dish as well in case they need to drink?
  15. HI all, I just bought 4 blue death-feigning beetles (very rare to buy in the UK!) at an insect show last weekend, and was wondering what the maximum humidity is that these can tolerate. The UK is quite a damp country ? and my home is also quite humid in general (I have to run a dehumidifier to get it to "normal" values and even that can struggle to get the humidity below 60%) and I am a bit concerned that this might be too high for the beetles, seeing as they are desert creatures. Does anyone have any experience of these, and if that sort of humidity is too high do you have any tips on getting it down? I already have a small heat pad under part of their cage (a small faunarium with dry sand, dry moss and some dry shreds of cardboard which look quite "natural") but is there anything else I can do to get the humidity down if I need to? FWIW I am feeding them goldfish pellets (which are apparently mostly insect protein), oat flakes, and small pieces of carrot, apple and pear for moisture, and I have seen them all eating since I got them last Saturday. I have read that they don't need any other water at all than that. Any other tips would be welcome!
  16. I have 3 large roach colonies (one spread across 3 boxes), which I feed dry food (mostly porridge oats, sometimes dry cat food) every couple of days, and fruit/veg once a week. I used to feed them fruit and veg more often but with the number of insects I now have (stick insects as well as roaches) and working full time as well, I simply don't have the time to feed them all as often as I used to! ? I am actively trying to reduce the numbers of my roaches (giving them away/selling them in bulk to dealers) and when the numbers are a bit more reasonable I hope I won't feel so bad about only feeding them fruit and veg once a week!
  17. Sorry to hear this, HIsserdude - you've been one of the most helpful and knowledgeable members of this forum and certainly helped me with a few problems I had with my colonies when I started keeping roaches. I hope all goes well and that with a new balance to your life, as Krissim Klaw said, you don't completely lose your obvious love for these little creatures. I can certainly sympathise with the time commitment - having started off with just three hissers about 18 months ago I now have thriving colonies of 6 stick insect species and 3 hisser species, all of which are reproducing like mad and eating me out of house and home as well as taking a lot of my time! All the best and hope to see you here back again some day with a new enthusiasm!
  18. Well they certainly seem to be breeding well for me at higher temps so I would suggest you try a heat mat to get the temperature up a bit. I am surprised they are dying off at those temps though - I would have thought they would survive but just not breed or grow very fast?
  19. It varies around the enclosure - probably about 26-28 Celsius near the heat mats (I have two smallish ones, one under about a third of the cage and one on the side in the same area) to about 18 Celsius on the other side away from the heat source, so they have a choice of warmer or cooler areas. Not sure what those are in Fahrenheit - maybe 65 on the cool side to 78-80 in the warm area? I do find they tend to congregate nearer the warm areas but not so obviously that i should increase the temps all through the cage. Both heat mats are on thermostats set at 26 and 30 Celsius so they are on most of the time in the winter but off most of the time in the summer. Hope this helps!
  20. LOL I’ve had the opposite experience with E. javanica - they breed like rabbits for me! I started off with 7 females and 11 males in May last year and now have so many tiny babies (literally hundreds) I don’t know what to do with them - and that’s after giving away probably over 100 mostly adults and large nymphs a couple of months ago! what are you feeding your javanica? Are you giving them any other fruit and veg in addition to the roach chow and carrots? It may be that you need to give them more varied fruit and veg to thrive - mine get lettuce (which they love), carrot, broccoli, banana, apple, orange and pear on a regular basis plus dry cat treats and porridge oats for protein; they are kept on a dry coir substrate with a heat mat under which gets sprayed three times a day for 10 seconds by an automatic misting system. They also have plenty of cork bark and artificial plants to hide in although there are so many now that they can’t fit in all the spaces - I am probably going to have to split the colony soon! However I have also found oblongonota to be slower going than javanica - my first experiences with them were not great and although I now have a thriving colony with lots of nymphs (kept exactly the same way as the javanica) I have found they breed slowly and the females seem to suffer a high rate of prolapse on giving birth which usually means the female dies (though not always), but it does lead to a lower birth rate as a result. I've also got a G. portentosa colony which started off as a group of 2 males and 2 females but is rapidly going the same way as the javanica! Again kept the same way. I would suggest trying a wider variety of fruit and veg and seeing if it helps?
  21. I’m not an expert in Ancient Greek by any means but I do know the ‘planeta’ part of Periplaneta comes from the Greek for ‘wamderer’ or ‘to wander’ as this is exactly what the ancient Greeks called the planets, because the ancient astronomers noticed that the planets ‘wandered around’ the sky in relation to the other stars which always had a fixed relationship to one another. So you’re correct in one sense because the word planet has the same derivation, but Periplaneta strictly means ‘wandering around’ - which is also very appropriate for the species as it is often seen wandering around everywhere!! i have a smattering of Latin from my school years so I can sometimes work out what some Latin derived names mean but other than the tale above Greek is, well, all Greek to me , so I can’t help you with any of the others I’m afraid!
  22. Yes this is completely normal - female hissers often push the ootheca out and retract it again, I think both when first making it and also at least once (not sure how many times) during the incubation. I've seen several of my female hissers (of several species - G. oblongonota, G. portentosa and E. javanica) doing this and it's perfectly normal. If she has just made the ootheca it will probably be several months before she has the babies, but if it's one of those cases where they push out and retract the ootheca part way through incubation you may not have to wait so long.
  23. Are the ones in the most recent photos the same ones / same generation as the hatchlings from a few photos above? or are they a later generation?
  24. Here is one of my "black morph" portentosa - a female, I think adult but may be subadult. There is no trace of any other colour than black anywhere on her body. Isn't she stunning?
  25. Hmm, interesting - I recently increased the humidity in their cage so I wonder if this has had an effect? I am using an automatic misting system which was misting too much in the summer and causing mould, so I reduced the timings, but then it got a bit too dry, so I increased the timings again about a month ago and also sometimes spray by hand if I happened to be feeding them. I have definitely noticed it is more humid in there when I open the cage door, although the substrate is still completely dry. I wonder if this is what has induced all the females to give birth?
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