Breeding dubia roaches for bearded dragons is a great way to keep your dragon well-fed. Breeding dubia roaches is not difficult, but it does take time and attention.
There are several ways of breeding dubia roaches for bearded dragons. However, we prefer to do it in a simple way and keep it as natural as possible.
Pros and Cons to Breeding Dubia Roaches
Pros (The Good)
- They can’t climb or fly well.
- No smell.
- Easier clean up.
- Great protein source with less fat and fiber.
- They won’t bite your pet.
- No separation at different developmental stages.
- They live pretty long.
- They won’t settle down in your home if they get loose.
Cons (The Bad)
- They’re not legal everywhere.
- Some people develop allergic reactions to roaches.
- Roaches like to burrow.
- Dubia roaches will drown in an open water source.
- They need consistent temps.
- They have a higher start-up cost.
Before getting into the actual tutorial, let’s first understand the life cycle of dubia roaches.
Life Cycle of Dubia Roache
The beginning stage of dubia roachs is the nymph. It takes 40 days for that nymph to sexually mature into an adult. And then five days later, after the female blossoms into a fine little honey buggy, she’s ready to mate. And then a handsome little roach will come and pollinate that little honey.
About 60 to 70 days after mating, the female will give birth to 30 to 40 offspring on average. She’ll give birth again just like that every two months.
A healthy female can possibly lay up to 180 babies a year.
How to Sex Dubia Roaches
The easiest way to tell the differences between a male and a female dubia roaches is to look at the body. Once they’re mature, the females will have a bit more of a rounder body and little wings on them.
The males will have a little bit of a longer body and then they’ll have a big wingspan.
To optimize your breeding production, you will need a specific sex ratio. The best ratio is one male to every four females. More males and fewer females cause stress among males. They will fight for dominance which will result in less production.
Just imagine, if we had a sex ratio of 14 males to 56 females, you would have 10080 dubia roaches in the first year (56 x 180).
Setting Up Roach Colony
I will cover all the essential aspects of raising dubia roaches. To ensure that your reptile always has enough food, you need to create a habitat that meets all the roaches’ needs. When roaches are content, they tend to breed more! To start breeding Dubia roaches, you will need the following equipment:
To start your colony of dubia roaches, you’ll need a container to house them in. If you’re starting with just a few roaches, a container around a foot long should be enough. As the population grows, you’ll need to upgrade to a bigger container. The ideal ratio is 250 roaches per square foot. Many people use large tubs that their colony can grow into. This container is perfectly fine as a dubia cage.
When choosing a container, make sure it’s made of materials that dubia roaches can’t climb, to reduce the likelihood of escapes. Smooth plastic without any texture is perfect. Most Rubbermaid and Sterilite bins work well. A lid isn’t necessary, but if you choose to use one, make sure it allows for ventilation.
While glass housing can be used, plastic tubs are more popular because they’re lighter, won’t shatter, and retain heat better. Also, look for housing that allows for darkness, so an opaque material is best.
You will need a big dark storage tote. A 30-gallon will work great for it
Grab a butcher knife and cut a hole in the top of the lid. Cut it about halfway out.
Get a window mesh screen and a hot glue gun on the sides. This should cover the hole we just made in the previous step. This will help with ventilation, but it’s not enough. We want a little more ventilation than that.
Grab a drill with a half-inch drill bit and drill out holes all along the rim of the container.
Inside the container, you will need a bunch of egg crates for dubia roaches to climb on.
When you’re setting up the egg crates in the container, you want your egg crates facing up. When you stick them on the sides of each other, you want them to actually face the opposite way because if you don’t, then the egg crates will actually collapse onto each other, and there will be less room for the dubia roaches to climb.
2. Heating for Dubia Roaches
You will need additional heating for your dubia roaches. I like to use PeSandy Reptile Heating Pad that I got from amazon. It has a small thermostat that you can change through the knob. I pretty much leave this on max settings, and it just leaves it perfectly at the temp that they need, which is between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should place the heating pad on one side under the bin. I like to place it on the opposite side of where the vent lid is.
The reason why we only cut out half of the top earlier is that we want there to be a warm side and a cool side. So obviously, where the screen vent is, that’s where the cool side will be.
You don’t need any lighting for your dubia roach colony. You don’t really want any light on them because it stresses them out. That’s why we have chosen a dark bin the first place.
It’s important to create a stress-free environment for roaches. When roaches are stressed, they may not breed as well or at all. One way to make your dubias feel comfortable is by providing them with a hide.
A cardboard hide will do the trick, but for larger colonies, egg crates are the ideal choice. By giving your dubia roaches a place to hide, you can ensure that they feel safe and secure in their habitat.
5. Where to Place the Container
The best place you could really just store them is just in the closet. A closet is just perfect for storing a dubia roaches colony.
6. Feeding Dubia Roaches
You will need to feed your dubia roaches about twice a week. They like fruits and semisweet vegetable matter. Over the years, I have found that they love eating carrots.
One other thing I have learned, but I don’t know the reason for it, is that food containing citrus will make them breed better and quicker.
I actually don’t give my dubia roaches water whatsoever. Because they get natural hydration from the fruits and carrots, I feed them.
In fact, I never give any feeder insects water, which makes it a lot easier to keep them clean. Less water means less bacteria.
8. Cleaning and Maintainance
When it comes to maintenance for your roach colony, you should look into this little cleanup crew beetle bug that you can get online.
It’ll eat the dead bodies of the roaches and some of the leftover foods. They’ll help prevent a lot of bacteria from spreading out.
So, in my opinion, the bugs are a total must, but I will say this though they’re not perfect, and you will still have to clean out the dead carcasses of the roaches every once in a while.
Dubia roaches do eat through the crates a little bit throughout time so you do need to replace those from time to time.
Starting a roach colony is super easy, but you just gotta have patience.
Things Used in This Tutorial
Here is a list fo things I use to create my dubia roaches colony.
- Adult Dubia Roaches
- Egg Crates
- Hot Glue Gun
- Window Mesh Screen
- Heating Pad with thermostat knob
If you want to breed cricket, read our crickets breeding guide.