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Dubia roach nymphs slowly dying off


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Hello guys! I recently wanted to start a dubia roach colony to use as feeders so I bought 100 adults and 500 nymphs both from different vendors. Flash forward a week and I started noticing that nymphs were dying constantly every day. In the past 4 days, I've found around 15-30 dead every day. I can clearly see some roaches very weak as well and can barely move. It's strange because all my adults are doing fine and breeding. However, the newest nymphs are also meeting the same demise. They are fed daily with non-medicated chick feed from Purina and water crystals with a weekly serving of vegetable/fruit. The temperature is around 86-88 F and humidity is around 50%. I've seen what looks like phorid flies darting around in the enclosure so I've done a complete clean out every week. I don't believe that the flies would be the direct cause of the death of the nymphs right? If anyone can chime in, it would be greatly appreciated!

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Are you washing your fruits / vegetables well? It's possible that there are pesticides on them, especially if they're not organic, that could harm your roaches... although I'm not confident that's the cause of the die off, since pesticides would likely also be affecting the adults. Though it's still a possibility, since the adults are generally a bit less fragile. 

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  • 4 months later...


I have been railing about this for the last year....stop feeding poultry feed, medicated, unmedicated, organic, non-gmo....all of it. Poultry feeder manufacturers add a synthetic chemical known as DL Methionine which replicates the natural "methionine" found in the DNA of most if not all of God's creatures. Natural methionine is a needed amino acid protein....known as a "limiting" AAP because it limits the other AAPs found in nature's genetics. Imagine a wooden bucket made up of slats if you will, methionine is the shortest slat of the buck "limiting" its ability to hold water. If you increase the slat length, which is what the synthetic version DL Methionine does, you increase the ability of the bucket to hold more water. DLM is put into poultry feed to increase the proteins allowing for faster growing and meatier birds.

The problem is DLM has been patented by the University of Florida as a pesticide. It targets pests with an alkaline gut physiology including mosquitos, termites, cockroaches, and other insects and larvae. It has been sprayed on stored grain for decades, which is why you will find it in tortoise food, guinea pig food, rabbit feed, the list is long. By law the producers of all these other feeds have to include the "ingredient list" of their suppliers, in their own ingredient lists. Having been sprayed on stored grain, grain which is used to make these other products, you will find DLM in these other products. I recently found it in my cat's food.


There is the concept of "concentration" levels.....I make the assumption that products made with stored grain that has had DLM sprayed on it, has less concentrations of DLM than poultry feed which actually puts DLM into their product. Its a positive addition to market via advertising if you make poultry feed...not so good if you feed roach. (ahem...Mazuri...whom I've contacted and was surprised at their e-mailed reply) If you read the patent application, which was granted, concentration levels of .01 % were enough to immobilize and kill larvae affecting orange grove trees.


These types of pesticides are known as "green" pesticides because they only target specific pests leaving the host healthy, last up to 3 generations in the genetics of the pests, making them a great pesticide and cheap. They greatly affect the 1st and 2nd instars, slow the growth of nymphs, and limit the reproduction of breeding females. Having bred and sold Dubia roaches for the last 10 years I can attest to another aspect, the females tend to be smaller...like not much bigger than a quarter. There are other consequences to raising methionine levels in the bucket....like raising other amino acid proteins like Histidine...which is responsible for creating "histamine"....we all know why we take anti-histamines right ???


I learned about DLM through an experience in early 2018 wherein I purchased 25,000 dubia females.....its quite the story but the vast majority were all small, had issues I have come to call "white wing" disease which is often pawned off as a molting issue, and "blistering" which I believe is caused by the increase in Histidine levels. (referenced in a text book about Zoology I believe it was) Within 6 months all of the purchased adult bugs were dead with not much reproduction at all, and the thousands of nymphs I had acquired began to mysteriously disappear. I would take 10K and place them in a tub all their own thinking that 30 days later I would have some smalls, 60 days later mediums, etc.....we vended 28 reptile shows in 2019 so a managed inventory was important. I thought...my God...I have forgotten how to grow Dubia roaches. I had done this experiment multiple times with the same mysterious loss of nymphs. If you consider our tubs aren't really more than an Easy Bake oven with a clean up crew...the lack of carcasses isn't all that mysterious. I talked with other breeders both large and small and was hearing about similar disappearances. Many if not all were feeding poultry feed if not alone then mixed with something else.....


It wasn't until 6 months after the bugs died that I began to look at diet...the seller had told me when I purchased them he had fed nothing but poultry feed for years...sang its praises so much that I too started to feed my other dubia which numbered around 10K at the time, poultry feed too. They also died off prematurely but at the time I did not know with confidence their age to begin with.....that's how I got on the trail of DL Methionine.


Today....our chow is completely pesticide free...you can eat it yourself...and I have done it in front of many people at shows as a testament to my claim. It contains barley, not the sprouted kind which can go rancid and not "pearled" barley that has had its bran power washed off of it basically. It also contains oat groats and wheat germ. We also dehydrate our own fruit as store bought dried fruit has had Sulphur or Sulphur Dioxide sprayed on it to retain its original color. Sulphur is the oldest pesticide known to man. I can tell you more about the needs of Dubia adults being different than growing adults and the benefits of a 1 to 8 protein to carbohydrate diet for preproduction. Thats a whole 'nother story....





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