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Orangeheads dying very slowly....very...


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Hello there, this is my first post at this unique forum, but I am sure glad I bothered to sign up a while back. I have had Dubias and Orangehead colonies for several months now and keep them directly next to each other. I tend to leave them alone for the most part as I am not feeding off them yet, just leting them build up numbers. Well, the other day I decided to check on them, feed &water, ect.... When I pulled out the Dubias, they were doing great, yadda, yadda/// Then when I opened up the Orangeheads I noticed about 1/2 of my colony dead, no small roaches at all, and the ones that were alive were wandering around aimlessly and very very very slow.... Dying.... and taking 3-5-7+ days to die.... I use water crystals, my feed is a custom blend of catfood, dogfood, fish flakes and bought roach chow, and Flukers cricket crud....the dg foor being the main ingridient, between 2 brands it makes up 80% at least. I had neglected to offer fresh veggies for about a month, but I have them in a well tempered and humid area... gets between 75 - 95 down there in the basement. humidity ranges from 25% to 45% ...and I shoot a couple squirts of water in through the screen every/every other days or so... I did clean out their cage when I saw the deaths, and did find a little bit of mold on the food, but i have seen it in much worse shape and they were not affected. Let me describe the symptoms more. I am noticing the back part of the abdomen is swollen to a unusual plumpness on all the dying/dead bugs so I preformed a few necropsys... yuck man... but needed.. What I found was their anus seem blocked ( you know how easy it is to make them pee a little when picking them up if you give one a squeeze just a litle too much?? well, I had to really press and work at the dying ones to get anything to squirt out..). and upon disection of the abdomen, found HUGE amounts of frothy white guts,,, muck everywhere.... Now, lets move onto the behavior symptoms.. They are EXTREEMLY lethargic///// they congrigate around the water dish out in the wide open, and cling to the screen on the sides of the cage... they move very slowly, and the closer to death they get the less they seem to be able to move thier legs... Its been 3 days since I noticed this, and some males/fems are still hanging on after this long, barely able to crawl, little tiny jerks of the legs... I have even had to flip a couple over a few times... I have been keeping them very very humid since seeing them all ganged up on the watering dish. using a humidifyier right in the cage... All fresh food, some banana which they are not interested in at all after 3 days. gna remove it and try something else fresh. So, lets see what I could have done to cause this.... Temps.... I ran a pertable A?C unit in basement fr 2 days, and let the exhaust point in the direction of the bins,,,, both bins though, including my Dubias.... Also, I left the outside basement doors open a coupel nights, letting in cooler air,,, I do not believe it ever came close to 68...again, they live side-by-side with my Dubias (dubia colony started from 250 nymphs 3 months ago, first adults emerging now, and Orangeheads were just a 25Mixed feeder batch I let run wild and last time i checked on them were out-breeding my adult dubia colony of 20f/6m by x3-5 times, but I lost the adult dubia clony in a flood about 2 months ago...so all left was my 250 nymphs which are thriving, molting, maturing and otherwise super active and quick and 1 deadloss ... thats it..) ... So, some tepm fluctuations, humidity fluctuations... they had eated all thier young except 3-4 large nymphs, shown mild intrest in my custom mix....and drank water crystals... and I've got this slow agonizing and slowly paralizing deaths.. Anyone care to throw out an opinion?

BTW, i keep them just like everyone else... huge rubermaid bins, 3-6 ventholes, 10ish verticle egg cartons. Food is given from a self-feeding dish so I never run out n starve them, and I scatter it beneath thier egg crates....water is given in a rock-like watering dish with gentle sloping sides for ease of access. Sometimes, most times there is just the gel form of water available in the dish, no liguid what-so-ever.... but since I have been watering daily so there is an option to suck on the crystals, or drink around them..... I have seen little if any improvements since I found them and have been tending t them every few hours making sure I am offeringevery remidy I know, temp-humid-water-food ect.....

Opinions? Guesses? Questions for me? Advice?



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I'm not sure if this is relavent or not, but I spend more time on my orange heads than on the dubias. More cleaning on their bin, more food and food variety, and more sources of moisture. Maybe I'm doing it wrong and giving them more tending than they need or maybe other people have to tend them a little more, too. Of course, I do find them more interesting than the dubias, so I like interacting with them.

Personally I do not like offering high protein foods and prefer a grain based diet for their dry food. But I am raising these roaches as gecko food. I don't have die-offs (found one older dead adult on a recent cleaning) and all of my roaches (all species) are really active. They can eat about half a cup of dry food in day to a day and a half.

Their bin is in the utility room thus I walk by it more often. That bin gets the walls sprayed down at least daily and I check in on them whenever I walk by, too. Proximity to kitchen = they're the kitchen veggie leftover disposal.

Temps stays around 95F at the hottest spot and ~78F opposite of heat source. Their bin lids (breeder and feeder bins each) have close to half of the lid cut out and replaced with screening.

So my thoughts are: Change the food; less protein, less calcium (cricket food can be high in calcium), and more variety offered regularly. Make sure you thoroughly scrub veggies and fruit that could have been sprayed. Check the water you make the crystals with and offer, if it's not filtered you may need to do that.

Tend them more often, get adigital thermometer (with probe) in their bin and get the temp fluctations under control.

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  • 1 month later...

I have both the species you keep. The orange heads were slower to start breeding but are now faster than the dubia. I don't know what is going on but I suspect fungus or other disease. Do you have an Entymologist near you to examine the carcasses more closely ? I check on my roaches every day and remove the dead ones. I don't know if you feed from this colony but I would freeze and thaw the dead roaches to free to my lizards that eat dead roaches. Those flys like fruit fly will lay their eggs but that is after the fact.

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  • 1 month later...

Want to thank both of you for replying, it's a slow forum , even slower for me to make it back. My OH's are all but gone... 6 males & 2 producing females left,,, no babies seen for a couple months, then out of the blue, i see a couple dozen tiny nympsh,,, easily mistaken for bean beetles... they were almost wiped out... i was almost going to freeze them in sympathy... but i just left them.. no changes, still same circumstances, but they are making this weird comeback from what i thought was hopeless...my dubias are multiplying like maggots. just a week ago i saw that weird paralasis again.. a few more died,, then this flock of babies... i believe it may be the food i offer....i've offered less, and tried to offer cereals, and cricket diet... only mixing a little dog/cat/fish foods in.... they seems something has brought them

Thank you guys again for the replys... read each and went over everything in my head, and still at a loss on what had happened,,, maybe disease.

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