Dubia Roach Food
There are two reasons to be concerned about what Dubia roaches eat: a proper diet results in healthier roaches and better breeders; well-nourished roaches pass their nutrition on to the creatures that eat them.
All creatures require a variety of food to provide them with the protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals they need to maintain their health and reproduce effectively. The paradox of keeping animals in captivity, including Dubia roaches and everything that eats them, is that on the one hand they are provided with a much more nutrient-rich diet than they could ever get in the wild, but on the other hand, generally don’t receive the variety of food in captivity that they have access to in the wild.
The topic of roach nutrition is complex, with research being done all the time and new discoveries every day. Researchers must take into account not only the nutritional content of what roaches are fed but the way their food is metabolized by their bodies and the interactions between the different foods they’re given. Below are some considerations for feeding Dubia roaches based on the results of research and experimentation by laboratory scientists and reptile and amphibian keepers interested in providing the best for their Dubia roaches:
Carotenoids may be good for roaches: Dubia roaches seem to be attracted to foods which are colored orange because they contain carotenoids, oranges, and carrots, for example. We have been told as children that eating carrots is “good for our vision” and research suggests that carotenoids may be important for insects with compound eyes like roaches. It also appears that carotenoids may have a positive effect on reproduction in a variety of fauna including insects.
Dubia roaches get protein from unlikely sources: Dubia roaches, like termites (both are in the order Blattodea) have evolved to digest cellulose (fibers found in wood and other plant material) much more effectively than humans. Although many plants such as lettuce don’t provide humans with much protein, roaches are able to metabolize lettuce differently and can derive sufficient protein from plant matter to supply their needs.
Too much protein is bad news: Research has shown that Dubia roaches receiving too much protein convert it to uric acid which they store in their bodies. This is a problem for two reasons. First, the overabundance of uric acid ultimately kills adult roaches. Second, the uric acid is passed on to the animals that eat them and has been found to be a cause of gout in some reptiles. More detailed information about this can be found in Alan Repashy’s article here:
What does this mean for us when we plan our Dubia roaches’ diet?
We can draw the following conclusions from the information above:
Orange food is good for roaches: Roaches enjoy and thrive on orange food such as oranges, carrots and yams. Some roach breeders have found that they are particularly attracted to orange food.
Fruits, grain and vegetables may provide complete nutrition: this type of diet may produce healthy roaches as well as or better than artificially formulated roach chow.
Avoid high protein foods: High protein foods like dog food or cat food, while appropriate for mammals, can be detrimental for roaches. Although they have traditionally been part of roach diets, recent research as described above suggests that they be eliminated.