Dubia Roaches need to be housed in containers with smooth sides so they aren’t able to climb out of their enclosure. Glass aquariums, 10 gallons at a minimum, or plastic tubs, 40 qt. at a minimum, can be used. Although the roaches can’t climb, it’s wise to cover their enclosure so unwanted materials, pests or household pets can’t get in. Aquariums can be covered with mesh screen covers used for reptiles. Most plastic tubs are sold with heavy duty plastic covers. In order to provide ventilation for a plastic tub, cut a hole in the cover, at least 6”x6” and hot-glue some vinyl mesh over the opening.
Dubia roaches need places to stand and to hide. Cardboard egg crate flats provide the most surface area per square inch. You may be able to get egg crate flats from a bakery or store like Walmart or you can buy it commercially: www.eggcartons.com. It’s best to stack the egg crate flats vertically so the Dubia Roach droppings fall to the bottom of the enclosure. However, it’s important to make sure that the cover is on tightly or that the egg crate doesn’t extend so close to the top of the enclosure that the roaches can step out.
Heat and Humidity
Although Dubia roaches can survive at room temperature, they require an ambient temperature of 90-95 F to successfully breed, and do best with about 60% humidity. If you have an area of your home that naturally reaches the required temperature there is no need for an additional heat source. If heat is needed, it can best be provided by using a ceramic heat emitter or an Under Tank Heater (UTH). The ceramic heat emitter should be installed at the top of the enclosure to radiate heat downward; the UTH can be attached to the side or bottom of the enclosure. If the UTH is to be placed on the outside bottom of the enclosure, be sure to raise the tub or tank at least 1/4″ to vent the heat (most UTH’s come with plastic “feet” that can be installed. Small tiles or shims could also be used). In order to control the temperature of the UTH and to prevent an overly hot UTH from melting a plastic enclosure, use a thermostat or a lamp dimmer (rheostat) to keep the temperature in the low to mid 90’s. The warm temperatures and use of water crystals for hydration (see below) should lead to appropriate humidity.
There is no need to use any kind of substrate or bedding at the bottom of the enclosure. Adding substrate will only make it more difficult to keep the enclosure clean.
Food and Water
Good nutrition and hydration not only result in healthy Dubia Roaches, but also provide equally good nutrition to the animals that feed on them. Roaches can eat a variety of dry fruit, grain or plant-based food including: commercially available Roach Chow, powdered grains, commercially available insect gutload, a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially orange ones which contain carotenoids. Low moisture vegetable parings such as potato or other parings, apple cores or broccoli stalks can also be added. Be sure to remove fruit and vegetables before they get moldy; mold is lethal to roach colonies. Avoid high protein foods such as dog or cat food or meat.
The most effective way to provide water is by using water crystals, polymer based material that hold water. This method will minimize the chance of the roaches drowning.
Be sure to put the food and the water in shallow bowls that the Dubia Roaches can climb in and out of and to keep the food and water bowls separate so the food doesn’t get wet and moldy.
Dubia Roaches produce dry droppings called “frass”. Their enclosures will need to be cleaned every 1-2 weeks to reduce buildup of frass and shed exo-skeletons. It’s useful to have an extra enclosure when cleaning. Transfer the egg crate flats with the Dubia Roaches and the food and water dishes (which may contain roaches as well) to the extra container. Scoop up what remains at the bottom of the enclosure and sift out the frass. The roaches that remain can then be transferred to the extra enclosure as well, or put back into the original enclosure with the other materials.
Summary of Materials for Roach Care
-Aquarium (at least 10 gallon) or plastic tub (at least 40 qt)
-Enclosure cover (vinyl mesh and hot glue gun needed if converting a plastic tub cover)
-Ceramic heat emitter or UTH
-Thermostat or lamp dimmer if a UTH is used
-Egg crate flats
-Extra enclosure to use when cleaning