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B. lateralis Questions


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Okay. What's the deal with lateralis. I'm in the process of ordering some right now so I've been trying to read up on them as much as possible. There seems to be a lot of mixed info out there. I like to learn from other peoples mistakes/experiences, so here are my questions:

1. Can they or can they not climb glass aquariums with silicon in the corners?

2. Can they climb out of or escape in any other way from ordinary 18 gal. plastic tubs with some very fine, metal screen hot-glued over some vent. holes and a secure lid?

3. Will a 2" vaseline barrier in said plastic tub help contain them?

4. This will be my first egg-laying sp. Do they or don't they need substrate, assuming humidity is high enough (50-80%)?

5. Do they or don't they stink?

6. I understand they are relatively small and very speedy. Anything else I should be warned about BEFORE I get them?

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Hi Roachman

1. Can they or can they not climb glass aquariums with silicon in the corners?

- Well, all stages (nymphs and adults) can't walk on smooth surfaces (e.g. glass) but they use small irreguliarities (e.g. corners, dirt on the surface etc.) to hold onto and therefore especially small ones somethimes climb out of an aquarium.

2. Can they climb out of or escape in any other way from ordinary 18 gal. plastic tubs with some very fine, metal screen hot-glued over some vent. holes and a secure lid?

- See point 1! A tight fitting fine screen should work great BUT adult males can fly (ok, escapees won't reproduce :D )!

3. Will a 2" vaseline barrier in said plastic tub help contain them?

- Should work, but I don't have any personal experiences... nymphs of some small species can walk on vaseline but I have no idea if that is the case for S. lateralis.

4. This will be my first egg-laying sp. Do they or don't they need substrate, assuming humidity is high enough (50-80%)?

- They don't (which is one of the 'problems' with them, see point 6.).

5. Do they or don't they stink?

- My nose sais: "Yes, they do!" But they are by far not as stinky as my Rhyparobia maderae. S. lateralis has a strange sweetish odor which doesn't disturb everyone and which isn't really nasty in my oppinion.

6. I understand they are relatively small and very speedy. Anything else I should be warned about BEFORE I get them?

- YES, there is!

Unlike most other captive kept cockroaches Shelfordella lateralis originates not from subtropical/tropical regions. That means they reproduce also at lower temperatures (I heard of 10-15°C or 50-59°F) and can easily survive cold winters which means together with point 4 that they might become a pest in your appartment. In fact this is the only roach species except the immigrated Blatta orientalis and Blattella germanica which I ever heard of (from trustful sources*) breeding/reproducing uncontrolled in appartments/houses here in Switzerland and Germany! *Besides many rumors I know a handful of people who had severe problems and heard of more than a dozend friends of friends who had a 'roach-plaque' at home... Trubles with Blatta orientalis and Blattella germanica usually are correlated with a messy household (often that of the neightbors :rolleyes: ) or damaged/old wastewater systems.

Therefore I would never keep S. lateralis or species of the genera Blatta, Blattella, or Periplaneta even though many people do. I do have Nauphoeta cinerea and Rhyparobia maderae both being said to be pest insects but I never heard of people in middle Europe having problems with these two species.

I can imagine that in warmer regions like southern USA many cockroach species could reproduce in a flat more easily but usually they don't (maybe because they need different food and/or more water which isn't present in an orderly household or they go outdoors where it's warmer than in an air-conditioned room?).

Have fun with them :P !

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I think Pharma did a good job answering most of the Q's but I'll add in my two cents (I have this species to feed to my some of my arachnids).

3. Will a 2" vaseline barrier in said plastic tub help contain them?

Yes, this species is a poor climber and males can't fly very well so containing them isn't too bad

4. This will be my first egg-laying sp. Do they or don't they need substrate, assuming humidity is high enough (50-80%)?

I personally find that substrate helps (I have a 50/50 of sand/potting soil) but I don't keep them at that high of humidity.

5. Do they or don't they stink?

It's no worse than anything else, like Pharma said it's kind of sweet and I don't mind it... it's borderline pleasant.

6. I understand they are relatively small and very speedy. Anything else I should be warned about BEFORE I get them?

Like Pharma said they don't need really high temps to breed. They ARE an invasive species so letting some loose can really screw up stuff depending on where you are at. An hour's drive south from where I live they have become quite well established. Out by the lakes in the desert they breed pretty well and in the city. In the city though, they tend to stay in garages and outside not really venturing inside like where you'd find Periplaneta spp. I would classify them as peridomestic, more so then B. germanica because they would much rather be outside or in an undisturbed place then in your cupboards.

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Thanks for the info. I think I've devised a good plan for them. I'll do the vaseline in a plastic tub with a tight lid, then keep the tub in an empty 100 gallon glass tank. Then I'll put some glue traps with fish flakes in the middle in the tank next to the tub. This should contain them until I can get a better feel for what I'm dealing with. If it dosen't work out, there are plenty of hungry mouths to feed them to...

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Or you could put some water in the outer tank (works like alcatraz, especially when adding some fish :lol: ).

But either way this "second barrier strategy" is a good thing to start with! As we say: "Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste" (engl. Precaution is the mother of the porcelain chest) meaning something like 'Better safe than sorry'.

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Remember, you do live in Southern California (I assume that's SoCal) and they have already made it there so if one excapes, who cares? I highly doubt they would infect your house and since it's already an invasive in your area I PERSONALLY don't think it's a big deal and they are pretty easy to contain anyhow; I'm not saying turn 'em loose on purpose but...

Plus, Those 100 tanks are not cheap. If I bought one I'd much rather put a nice quince monitor or something in it then a box of feeder 'roaches! ;)

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