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Parcoblatta americana Care Questions


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Hi all,

I am new to this forum and hobby. I live in So. Cal and found some wild roaches outside living under lots of debris and leaves. I think they are Parcoblatta americana, the Western Wood Roach. I collected 5 in total (3 larger nymphs and 2 small nymphs) I want to know how to successfully raise these guys without killing them.

I first noticed the roaches years ago when I started composting but I didn't know we had native roaches and I ignored them. Now several years later I am digging around trying to find them and there's only very few that I was able to collect.

Pictures below show the roach nymph and the set-up I currently have

I have a critter keeper to house them for now, and I bought Fluker's cricket quencher and cricket diet. For substrate I just put in pine shavings that people use for rodents or other small animals. I thought pine shavings would be good because they might he harder to grow mold on?

I basically put the pine shavings on the bottom, then put in water cubes or crystals and poured the cricket meal in small piles throughout the enclosure. Does anyone have any opinions on whether this is a good or bad idea for a set-up? Can I get by with cricket food?

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I am worried about losing these guys because I have a hard time finding more outside, and the population seems to be pretty small.

Thanks!

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Yay, more Parcoblatta americana breeders :)

I would recommend you to get rid of the pine shavings, and change the substrate to either eco earth, coco fiber, peat moss, or organic potting soil, and provide lots of leaves and barks for them to hide under. Feed only a little amount of food to them, and mist lightly about once a week. Depending on the locality P. americana from SoCal can be extremely hard to breed and rear as they mysteriously die in captivity. Hopefully, yours are one of the "easier" locality to breed. Wish u best luck :)

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I think the population is pretty small right now, but I remember seeing quite a few more when I had the compost pile going. Should I release the roaches back into the leaf pile where I found them and outside and just make another compost pile? Maybe I could get the population up and have more the room for error when raising them?

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I think the population is pretty small right now, but I remember seeing quite a few more when I had the compost pile going. Should I release the roaches back into the leaf pile where I found them and outside and just make another compost pile? Maybe I could get the population up and have more the room for error when raising them?

It might be best to raise the ones you have in the compost pile just to see how well they do under your care, and only collect more when you are confident about breeding them. Also, keep a compost pile outside as well so you can get more specimens from the wild :)

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Okay, so I did what you recommended and I dumped the pine shavings and all of the cricket food/water crystals. I first took a shovel scoop of native soil from near where I got the roaches. Then I grabbed dried leaves of various chaparral plants where the roaches were living. They seem to like living in piles of Rhus integrifolia leaves. Looking at other people's posts, it seems like Parcoblatta likes to eat some microorganisms and possibly fungus growing on the native decaying vegetation. I gave a misting to wet only about the top inch of the substrate. I am thinking of putting in isopods to help break down the leaves and assist with making things more digestible for the roaches, as well as keeping the place cleaned up.

I think i'll take a chance and just try to raise these 5 roaches in captivity and see how I do. I don't have enough material to start a new compost pile :(

Do you have any additional recommendations at this point? Do you think I could use the water crystals? Im not sure what to feed them. I know they live in the decaying leaf debris, but the stuff has been bone dry for 4 years with the drought, and I don't know what these guys have been eating for all these years. I don't know how far they wander in search of food. I guess the only positive thing is that they were in my compost pile so vegetable scraps might be good.

One thing I can't figure out... I don't know if those roaches have been in my compost pile because of the vegetable matter itself, or if they actually want the microorganisms or fungus growing on the decaying matter.

Any additional help is greatly appreciated! Thank you

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One of the hardest species of Parcoblatta to take care of in the hobby. You must be really new to roaches? Not meaning that in a bad way. Basically feed them fruits and veggies and some kind of protein source. Leaf litter helps a ton in other roaches (expertise isn't in Parcoblatta). Roaches don't NEED things to be even more digested. It's more like this: plant and animal matter gets eaten by let's say roaches, the roaches digest it then the Isopods digest that even farther and then little organisms REALLY break it down. It's really personal preference on if you want to add Isopods but it isn't really needed. Using a really hard species as a first (just assuming here) will set you up for failure and it may discourage you from trying different species. Just my thoughts.

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I would feed them dog food, and fruits and veggies. Dog food is probably more cheap than cricket food, and I believe gives just as much nutrition (or at least enough nutrition to keep them healthy). Dead leaves can't hurt either. It is a hard species, but someone has to have success, and that someone might be you! :) Good luck!

P.S welcome to the forums!

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Thank you all for the input. It helps a lot to try to figure this out. I have heard several times that these Parcoblatta are hard to take care of. Has anyone found a particular reason? Are they just really picky about environment or feeding preferences? I imagine people raising them on these forums have good environments and adequate nutrition, so I wonder what the issue must be with raising them. I found them in a compost pile with all kinds of rotting vegetation, so its hard to imagine them being so fragile in captivity.

I forgot to post the photo of the new and improved habitat. I tried to get as close to the environment where I found them as possible. Fingers crossed.

post-7468-0-18059500-1423720071_thumb.jpg

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Thank you all for the input. It helps a lot to try to figure this out. I have heard several times that these Parcoblatta are hard to take care of. Has anyone found a particular reason? Are they just really picky about environment or feeding preferences? I imagine people raising them on these forums have good environments and adequate nutrition, so I wonder what the issue must be with raising them. I found them in a compost pile with all kinds of rotting vegetation, so its hard to imagine them being so fragile in captivity.

I forgot to post the photo of the new and improved habitat. I tried to get as close to the environment where I found them as possible. Fingers crossed.

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I've had no trouble raising P. americana from two different localities in central CA, but for some reason the ones I get from SoCal never do well for me as well as for others who've kept that species from same locality. Most nymphs I received looked completely healthy in the beginning only to drop dead in the next few days or so, and only a small portion of them matured into adults, and due to my neglect the oothe I got from these adults never hatched :(

On a side note, I would suggest to mist only half (or less) portion of the container since these guys are from desert. Also, if you plan on using dog food, or other protein based foods and fruits, watch out for the mold. Never add too much food into the container as it will cause massive mold outbreak, and take out any uneaten food if you start to see the sign of mold.

Good luck on breeding them :)

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Cariblatta, do you by any chance have pictures of the P. americana from the Central Valley? I read online that P. americana has a lot of variation throughout the species, and I was curious what specimens in other parts of the state look like. If they phenotypically looked the same, I would probably try to mimic your set-up.

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Cariblatta, do you by any chance have pictures of the P. americana from the Central Valley? I read online that P. americana has a lot of variation throughout the species, and I was curious what specimens in other parts of the state look like. If they phenotypically looked the same, I would probably try to mimic your set-up.

This is the best pic I have so far :

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Thank you for posting the pic! The one on the left looks closer to the ones I have around my place. What kind of substrate do you have? It looks like a good option to have. Even though P. americana may be very picky, do you think banana with cricket food powder on the outside of it would be an attractive food source for them?

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Thank you for posting the pic! The one on the left looks closer to the ones I have around my place. What kind of substrate do you have? It looks like a good option to have. Even though P. americana may be very picky, do you think banana with cricket food powder on the outside of it would be an attractive food source for them?

Substrate in the pic is eco earth, which you can purchase from petsmart :)

Bananas and cricket foods would probably attract not only roaches, but all sorts of critters. lol

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