Raising Dubia 101 - How to SUCCESSFULLY raise dubia roaches.

Jun 01 , 2023

Raising Dubia 101 - How to SUCCESSFULLY raise dubia roaches.

Whether you’re a new reptile owner or a seasoned veteran, chances are you will cross paths with dubia roaches sooner or later. After all, most reptiles need bugs as a staple in their diet. When you live in a box, it’s hard to make good dietary decisions so, as owners, it’s our responsibility to provide the best we can for our scaley family members. However, there’s a caveat here. While dubias are arguably one of the best common feeders on the market, they can also get pretty pricey pretty quickly as your scale family grows.

Time for a shameless plug: If you don’t want to raise your own colony and LOVE the convenience of having your feeders shipped to you, check out our dubia roach subscriptions. IF, however, you’re a DIYer that prefers effort over convenience, then this is the right article for you. 

I’d like to preface this by stating this is NOT the only way to raise dubia roaches. There are lots of successful breeders out there with drastically different setups. The purpose here is to help you get started successfully but, by all means, tweak things as you need. The information I’m providing is based on my own experience as a dubia breeder and what I’ve found works. 

These animals are much more resilient than most people give them credit. They want to live and they will find a way to do so, even in the most neglectful situations. It’s when you start babying them that they become soft, complacent, and ….dead. What does this mean for you? It means you need these materials to get started:

1. Smooth-sided container - plastic is lighter to move around and easier to clean but you do you. 
2. Harborage
3. Food

What? You expected that to be longer? Nah. I mean, we can make it longer if the need arises, but to start, this is fine. 

Questions to ask yourself before setup:
1. Where an I storing this colony?
2. How many reptiles am I feeding and how often do I feed?
3. How involved will I be? I.e. Will I sort regularly? Will I just feed them and pull roaches when needed? Etc. 

The answers here will help you decide how to tweak your setup to work best for you and how many roaches you need to get started. We recommend laving your colony along for at least 6-8 months before feeding from it so you don’t exhaust our colony before it gets started. 

Now for the good stuff! 

First, find a bin with smooth sides and solid or dark in color. The darker it is the more secure they are which means breeding happens faster. Mae sure the bin fits in the space you’d like to store the dubia. 

Secondly, decide if you want a lid or if you’re going lidless. If lidless, I highly recommend a container with very smooth, tall walls to prevent escapees. If you’re keeping the lid, cut ventilation holes in the lid and cover them with window mesh or something similar to allow fresh air flow. If you’re into extra effort, drill some small holes in the walls for cross-air ventilation. This step isn’t necessary, but it’s always nice to have fresh air even in the bottom of the bin.

Next, add the harborage. This can be paper egg flats, paper towel or toilet paper rolls (after the paper is gone of course), or any other paper product that allows them a place to hide. Does it have to be paper? Debatable but definitely the cheapest and easiest way to go. Styrofoam or any other toxic products are a hard no. The roaches WILL ingest it which means your reptile will too. Only organic products that can be digested or hard plastics that can easily be cleaned should be used. 

Don’t add more harborage than you have roaches. For example, if you purchase a starter colony of 15 female and 3 male roaches but you will your bin full of egg flats, the chances of the males finding the females in a timely manner are slim, which slows down breeding time. When a number like 20 roaches, only add 2 egg flats until your colony grows, adding more as it needs. 

Add food daily. You can feed a chow along with fruits and vegetables which also serve as a water source. Have separate trays for everything to avoid messes or fruits juices from spilling onto your paper products. It’s gross when that happens and attracts other gross things. Just…..don’t do it. 

Where is the heat, you ask? Usually in your home or outside. It depends on where you’d like to store your colony, but unless they are in a 50 degree garage over winter, heat usually isn’t required to have a proficiently breeding colony. Does it help? Sure. Is it necessary? Not 100%. 

And lastly, keep it clean. You can even go as fancy as having a self-cleaning bin set-up. However, if you do that make sure it’s not squeaky clean so the fresh babies have something to eat (they eat the frass at the bottom). Keeping it clean will also help keep the smell to a minimum. 

That’s it! I know it sounds like a lot now, but once everything is built, it’s pretty easy maintenance. If you decide to give it a try, let me know what worked for you or what you changed in the comments below.