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I keep several colonies of pest roach species (German, American, Oriental, Turkestan) for my job. I have alot of problems with dead roach build up, which leads to an invasion of phorid flies in my containers. I was thinking about adding lesser mealworms and warehouse beetles to my colonies, but I'm concerned that they might consume oothecae. Anyone have any experience with this or recommendations for better cleaner crews?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yea, good problem.

Phorids are disgusting, for me the one and the only way of eliminating them appeared to keep all the colonies in tightly closed boxes, with ventilation windows covered with steel mesh... In open setups they appeared anyway, with or without cleaning.

But for removing excess dead protein "cleaners" are really useful...

In less dry conditions woodlice work well, sometimes extremely well, especially Trichorhina with Cubaris murina. They eat dead roaches, roach food, prevent mold and somehow clean the substrate from mold etc. 

In dry enclosures I have several darkling beetles, one of them is, AFAIU, Alphitobius diaperinus, very common lesser brown mealworm, others - unknown, mainly arrived occasionally from Asia with plant material. 

They're quite useful, too, eating dead roaches and food leftovers.

And they don't touch eggsacs, but are quite capable of attacking molting roaches, especially when it's really dry in the setup.

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Dermestids might not hurt ooths, but would certainly tackle molting roaches if hungry... Alphitobius will eat anything, ANYTHING if their numbers are high enough, and can be dangerous to molting roaches, ooths, and maybe even perfectly healthy slower moving roach species too.

So you can use either species, but you must be sure to keep their numbers in check, otherwise they have the capability to wreak havoc on roach enclosures, (then again all your roach species are pests of some sort, so it may take a lot to stress them... 😅). 

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