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substrate question


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I have some natural cypress mulch at my house and I was planning on using it for my roaches (theyre coming tomorrow morning! so excited!) but one person said its toxic to them, something I havent heard before. Is it? And what should I get instead that wont hurt them?

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Cypress repels insects, definitely don't use it. It's too coarse, anyway. 

Without knowing exactly what roaches you're getting, I'd recommend coco fiber. It's made from shredded coconut shells, and it's very soft, fine-grained, and good for a wide variety of burrowing insects. If you don't have it when your roaches come in, just give them some crumpled, lightly damp paper towels to hide under, that'll hold them over.

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Cypress mulch is safe. Cypress does not have thujune in it like cedar does. It also does not have the resin issues that other conifers like pine do.

That said, if it was sold as garden mulch it probably has a lot of hitchhikers. Its also not as good as coco coir for a few reasons. Primarily those species whose nymphs dig in and the way it retains and releases moisture vs. coir. I do use it in mixed substrates where I also have leaf litter and aspen shavings mixed into coir.

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