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Thread: Starting a Dubia Colony: Need some advice

  1. #1
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    Default Starting a Dubia Colony: Need some advice

    Hi guys,
    Since I am going to be expanding my gecko collection soon ( looking to add at least 1 more crested and a few gargs) and I now have a BTS that will eat bugs, I want to setup a dubia colony.

    I've gotten my husband's consent and have purchased a basic starter setup (egg crates, chow, and water crystals).

    Before I order the roaches, I'd like your advice on the following things:

    1. How many and what size roaches to buy? (I will be feeding ~2-3 cresteds, 1-2 gargs, and 1 BTS)
    2. What size tub to buy?
    3. Should I buy a clear or dark tub?
    4. Do I need to cut ventilation holes and cover with mesh, if so, tips are greatly appreciated on where to put holes and what kind of mesh to buy

    Also, if you have any tips on who to buy the bugs from, that would be great!

    As always, thanks for your time and help!
    1.2 crested geckos 0.3 ball pythons 3.0 boa constrictors 1.0 jag carpet python, 1.0 western hognose, 0.2 Kenyan sand boas 1.0 cat

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    1. If you don't have anything else to feed the skink in the meantime, you'll need a lot if you intend to feed immediately. Otherwise it's best to get adult breeders and let the colony establish first.You can also get nymphs to mature and become future breeders for a lower price.
    2. The size tub depends on how many roaches there are to start and how big you intend to let the colony become. Don't put a few roaches in a gigantic tub, they like being a little crowded and should be able to access their food easily.
    3. Roaches hate light so a dark tub is best. If you must get a clear tub, ideally it should be red as roaches can't see red light. In fact even a dark tub lets some light in so a dark, opaque red tub is ideal.
    4. You do need ventilation holes. The bigger and more crowded the colony is, the more important ventilation becomes. You can put them in the top or, for cross- ventilation, the sides. If it's one the top it doesn't matter what kind of mesh you use so long as they can't reach it, but on the sides the mesh MUST be metal. Nylon and other kinds of plastic mesh will be chewed straight through almost immediately. Personally, I just leave about 1/5 of my bin uncovered on the side where I put the food. (No eggcrates). The occasional adult male does escape this way, but I don't care. All it does is save me the trouble of manually removing them lol.
    Sources: I have a large dubia colony and have done quite a bit of research

  3. #3
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    I would get a solid color bin, probably 64qt or something around there. You can cut a hole in the lid to glue screen to for ventilation, the window screen is fine for that.

    You can make a self-cleaning setup as well. Get 2 bins of the same size, take one and drill holes in the bottom no bigger than 1/8" and use the other to catch the frass. The baby nymphs will actually eat the frass so you can fish them out of the poop container.
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    Those are not my pictures but it's the general idea.

    They do sell starter colonies at most of the dubia websites. Usually the colony is about 50 of various sizes and can take 6 months to be sustained before you can heavily feed out of. I currently have a smaller colony that I am trying to get started, it's a slow process but worth it in the end.

    http://www.nyworms.com/dubiacare.htm also one of the many sources on breeding and caring for them.

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    Thanks so much for your input guys!

    I am feeding the BTS skink chow right now and the dubia would only be treats for him.. I was thinking he could feed on the spare males that would be too big for my geckos to eat.

    My current crested won't touch bugs, and I haven't ordered the new geckos yet, but I'm willing to feed them CGD and supplement with another insect until the colony gets going. I'm thinking that I'd be feeding 4-6 geckos dubia once a week once I get rolling, but all of the new geckos will more than likely be very young, so will need small nymphs to start with.

    Would I need to put something around the top of the bin to prevent them from climbing out? I seem to remember someone recommending clear packing tape to prevent them from escaping. Although it's not a huge deal to me if any get out (since they can't reproduce) it would squee my husband out to no end, so I want to make sure that doesn't happen.

    I really like the idea of the self-cleaning stacked bins. I'll have to see if we have a drill bit that will do small holes like that on the bottom. I was also considering buying another bin so that the colony could just be moved into that while I clean the first bin, but this sounds even more convenient.

    Do you guys have any idea how much "roach chow" and water crystals they go through? The kit I bought contains 2 oz of the crystals I think, and they said to mix with 1 gallon of water per ounce, but I'd think they would dry out if I'm only using a tiny bit per day... I'm trying to do this as cheaply as I can, so I don't want to waste anything if possible.

    Thanks again for the great tips and taking the time to answer my questions!
    1.2 crested geckos 0.3 ball pythons 3.0 boa constrictors 1.0 jag carpet python, 1.0 western hognose, 0.2 Kenyan sand boas 1.0 cat

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    OK. I just found where I'm getting the roaches from. Westcoastroaches.com sells a mixed size dubia package through amazon.com for $25.00. With shipping, it came out to right at $30. It did not include a cleaner crew (that I know of), but I figure I can purchase that separately... If I had used their website, the same roach package would have been $40 and that didn't include shipping.
    1.2 crested geckos 0.3 ball pythons 3.0 boa constrictors 1.0 jag carpet python, 1.0 western hognose, 0.2 Kenyan sand boas 1.0 cat

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    If you get a smooth sided bin, you won't need packing tape but you can always put some near the top for comfort in knowing that they can't escape. I had one get out of the KK I had them in before I decided to breed, it was my fault and I ended up finding it on my wall behind the gecko tank....so glad my husband didn't find it

    As far as roach chow and water, I'm not sure. I feed mine adult Bearded dragon pellets and they seem to last them a while, of course they string the pellets all over the place. I usually put a cap full of water crystals in there and fresh veggie's twice a week. They love collard greens, carrots, apples, oranges(feed sparingly because of the citric acid) and pieces of bell peppers. If you want to add cleaner beetles, dermestid beetles would be the way to go, they eat the frass, roach skins and the carcasses. Sometimes there might be one in the shipping box so cross your fingers.

    Also, the 1/8" drill bits are around $2-3 at Lowe's or Home Depot.

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    This is a video on the self cleaning dubia roach set-up.

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    Awesome! Thanks guys for the advice and the video link.

    Do you guys mix up the water crystals ahead of time (i.e. mix a lot up and then use as needed)? If so, do you know how long they stay "hydrated"?

    I'll check out the dermestid beetles. Anything I can do to make this setup lower maintenance will work for me.
    1.2 crested geckos 0.3 ball pythons 3.0 boa constrictors 1.0 jag carpet python, 1.0 western hognose, 0.2 Kenyan sand boas 1.0 cat

  9. #9
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    I have the pre-made water crystals and they usually dry up pretty quickly in my tub, that's why I supply them with some veggies and fruit twice a week as well. You can spray the sides of the tub and they go nuts when you do that, just make sure to cover the dry food or take it out when you do. I keep my water crystals in the fridge. Another thing some of them like is Repashy bug burger, you can either cook it or give it to them dry, mine also love a little bit of CGD mixed up as a treat.

    http://shop.bugsincyberspace.com/ link for cleaner beetles.

  10. #10
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    Thanks!
    I bought the bin this weekend... will be cutting the lid and putting in an old windowscreen this week. My kit is coming in this week and the dubia are supposed to be here next week.. so I should be good to go. Now, I'll just have to figure out where to get a cleaning crew, if I want to do the self-cleaning bin design.. which looks great... and I'll have to learn to get over being weirded out by seeing a lot of roaches in one place.. That will be the hard part lol.
    1.2 crested geckos 0.3 ball pythons 3.0 boa constrictors 1.0 jag carpet python, 1.0 western hognose, 0.2 Kenyan sand boas 1.0 cat

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