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Blatta lateralis musky smell control

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I have been keeping a Blatta lateralis colony for 1 year now. 

The colony when it arrived, it came with few beetles of lesser mealworms. I kept them together inside the same bin. The colony thrived ! Both species did quite well. And i had absolutely no smell whatsoever. I kept them inside a big bin, with a small amount of cocofiber, and long carton tubes for the roaches to hide in.

Once covid hit, i had to rely more and more on my roach colony as food source. At a similar period i noticed a significant decrease on adult numbers over time and a large increase on lesser mealworm beetles.

So recently i decided to separate both species, to try to bring back my colony numbers as the local pet store wont help me get any more roaches from mainland china, they say because of covid, but its actually for economic reasons (Macau is a sort of independent region from China, just like HK, with borders etc), as they can sell more crickets which they raise themselves.

Now i have a bin with adult roaches, where i now collect their oothecas, and put on another bin for nymph roaches to make sure adults dont eat any nymphs and a separate bin for lesser mealworms.

Even being a smaller adult colony i clearly notice that the musky smell is much stronger. And I would like to control that again, but I am not sure if part of my colony decline was due to the beetles eating the oothecas or not.

But i am sure that the mealworms and beetles were helping handle roach dead bodies, frass and any food leftovers.

Do you have any recommendations?

Thank you, regards


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  • 4 weeks later...

Go bioactive. Basic substrate: 30% organic compost, 30% coco fiber, 20% crushed hardwood leaves and 20% flake soil. Mix it all together, keep it damp and top with moist moss. Add some springtails, dwarf white isopods, red wrigglers and the beetles. Offer horizontally stacked bark and vertical bark. Lots of ventilation. That's been working for me for ages. They will always have the "runner smell," but personally I kind of don't mind the smell ... Okay I actually really like the smell.

With that set up, you shouldn't need to separate the nymphs and ooths from the adults. The females will dig holes and bury the ooths, and the nymphs will have plenty of room to hide. Supplement with fish flakes, dog chow or high protein roach chow. Hope this helps! 

This is one of my favorite species. If you can get them into a 10 gallon, you will see so many amazing behaviors. The females usually bury ooths at dawn, and if you catch them on the right day when multiple females are digging in the same area, you'll see them drag moss and other bits to the hole to fill it in. When they go back for more, someone always swoops in and steals what the first female laid down. They steal back and forth like that all morning until they're satisfied. 

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