Roaches? Gross! Why would I want dubia roaches in my house?
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Nutritional Value of Dubia roaches - The Superior Feeder Insect?
Dubia Roaches are often cited as being a more nutritional option for bearded dragons, tarantulas, and other popular reptiles and amphibians. They are lean with protein, which is very comparable to crickets. However, they offer nearly twice as much calcium, which is a critical nutrient to prevent metabolic bone disease.
Dubias roaches are also soft bodied, which makes them an easier feeder insect to digest. The problem with mealworms is that they will develop chitin in their exo-skeleton, which is a difficult material for reptiles to digest. And they have more meat compared to crickets and superworms. This means that pets don't need to eat as many. A bearded dragon can consume about 15-30 crickets per day. But would only need about 5-15 dubia roaches per day.
Why Do Bearded Dragon's Love Dubia Roaches?
Young bearded dragons love to devour dubia roaches. And it's because dubia roaches have an excellent amount of protein. This protein helps young bearded dragons grow into healthy, adults. And once your bearded dragon matures, you'll need to increase the amount of vegetables they consume.
But dubia roaches also have very little chitin. This chitin can cause impaction, which is a serious problem for bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and other herpy pets. When looking to acquire a new bearded dragon, its critical that you ask the breeder what they were feeding their dragon. This can help you avoid a dragon that may suffer from impaction down the road.
One feeder that should be avoided are mealworms. They're great for bluebirds, but the dragons can't digest that hard, fibrous chitin. So keep them off the menu.
What's the Difference between Dubia Roaches and Discoid Roaches?
Dubia roaches are very similar to discoid roaches. Dubia roaches are much more popular. But, if you reside in Florida, Hawaii, or Alaska, then you're not able to receive Dubia roaches. Which is fine, because discoid roaches are very similar nutritionally. And they are even superior in some areas.
Moisture Content - Advantage Discoid Roaches
The moisture content in your feeder literally refers to how much moisture is in their body. And the higher the moisture content, the easier they are to digest. If you're bearded dragon or leopard gecko suffers from impaction, then you'll want the feeder with the higher moisture content. Discoid roaches have slightly higher moisture content, which would make them slightly better than dubia roaches for pets suffering from impaction.
Fat Content - Advantage: Depends on your outlook - Dubias have a higher fat-content
Both roaches have are considered a lean source of protein. They have small amounts of fat, compared to their protein. Which is one of the reasons they are great feeders. However, in some cases, it's beneficial to offer a fatty meal to a malnourished pet, or a pregnant one. Which is why superworms are a good feeder to offer your pregnant bearded dragon or leopard gecko. Dubias have slightly higher fat-content, which makes them a better feeder for malnourished, or pregnant pets. But if your pet needs to go on a diet, then pick up some discoids.
Chitin Content - Advantage Dubia Roaches
Chitin is that dreaded, tough, fiborous molecule that creates the hard exoskeleton on insects. Some feeders have more than others, like mealworms and adult crickets. This chitin is tough to digest, and can promote impaction. Dubia roaches have a slightly less amount of chitin, which means your pet is less likely to suffer from impaction, compared to discoids. But discoids still have much less than mealworms and even adult crickets.
Crude-Protein Content - Advantage Discoid Roaches
Both discoid and dubia roaches offer an excellent amount of protein as a feeder. However, owners should also be aware of the quality of that protein. And what makes discoid roaches stand out is that they have a higher essential amino acid index. This increased amount of amino acids means they offer a greater diversity of protein building blocks. And because of this, they offer a superior form of protein for your beloved pet.
Calcium-to-Phosphorous Ratio - Advantage Discoid Roaches
Every reptile owner understands the importance of calcium in their pets' diets. But many aren't aware that phosphorus can prohibit the amount of calcium your pet can absorb. So not only is it important to find feeders with high calcium, but it's equally as important to find feeders with a low amount of phosphorus. And discoid roaches are the clear winner. Discoid roaches have a calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 1:3, while dubia roaches have a pathetic 1:22 ratio.
Should I Gut-Load Dubia Roaches?
Even though dubia roaches are nutritionally superior than crickets and superworms, it's still recommended to gut load them. Gut-loading is the process of feeding your feeder insects a nutritional meal, before feeding them to your beloved pet.
Normally, crickets need to be gut-loaded for 24 hours prior to feeding them to your pet. But dubia roaches are unique, because they have a long, 3 day digestive track. This means they can hold more nutritional food, offering more nutritional value.
Gut-loading dubia roaches requires the same steps as gut-loading crickets.
Should I dust Dubia Roaches?
Yes. Again, even though dubia roaches are naturally more nutritious, it's always beneficial to dust your feeders. Dusting is a great way to add vitamin d to your pet's diet. Since many reptiles, like bearded dragons and leopard geckos, receive most of their vitamin d through the sun, they need vitamin d supplements to provide them with the nutrients they naturally receive in the wild.
How to store Dubia Roaches
Dubia roaches are tropical species, and will thrive and breed in temperatures between 90 - 95 degrees F. However, since you're buying dubia roaches, you're probably not interested in breeding them.
When you receive dubia roaches in the mail, you can keep them at room temperature. But don't let their temps get below 60 degrees, or they are likely to perish.
Depending on which vendor you buy dubia roaches from, you can either store them in the container they are shipped in. Or, you can create your own enclosure. Large, plastic storage tubs, or glass aquariums will provide the best temporary home. Dubia roaches will not be able to climb the smooth walls, and will remain inside the container.
Dubia roaches are sensitive to light, and prefer dark spaces. So it'll benefit them if their temporary habitat is covered a lid. Or, you can provide egg crates for them to hide in.
How to Breed Dubia Roaches
Breeding dubia roaches can be a great alternative to buying them once every 3 weeks. And considering how quickly they breed, it's easy to see why reptile owners would want to breed them. We wrote an indepth guide on how to breed dubia roaches. But if you're looking for a quick and dirty summary, here's the breakdown:
Dubia Roach Housing
Dubia roaches are like every other roach; they don't like light. So when you set up your habitat, it would be thoughtful to use a container with dark sides. However, it's very common that breeders use clear aquariums or clear plastic tubs. Which is perfectly fine, so long that you provide them with places to hide inside the tub or aquarium. Egg crates are popular, but toilet paper rolls are another great option.
Temperature and Humidity
Dubia roaches are your typical tropical insect. And that means they like it hot and humid. So when you set up their habitat, don't treat them like Eskimos. Make sure their temps are atleast 85 degrees F. But the will breed faster at about 95 degrees. And for humidity should be about 60 degrees. This is more humid than what your house is going to be. So be sure to mist the bin maybe once every day or two.
Substrate and Hiding Places
You don't need a substrate for your dubia roach colony. Crickets stink, which is why we recommend vermiculite or peat moss for their substrate. However, dubia roaches do not stink. So there's no need to add a substrate in their colony.
But as we mentioned above, they do like places to hide because they don't like light. These hiding places can be egg crates, or toilet paper rolls. Or they can be anything else that's cheap and easy to access. No need to make it too difficult or expensive. Because they are feeder roaches, after all.
How to pick the right size of Dubia Roaches
The rule of thumb for choosing the proper dubia roach size is that they should be equal to the distance between your pets' eyes. It's dangerous to offer them something too large, because they can either choke, or have difficulty digesting something too big.