We’ve been receiving a lot of questions as to why we do not carry crickets which are common in many pet store chains across the U.S., and so we decided to create a small page of our own which compiles information from our own personal observations in handling many of these insects, and why we ended up deciding on Dubia Roaches, as well as some compiled information from other sources which will be cited below.
Dubia roaches can have a lifespan of up to two years, depending on their sex, with females generally outliving the males by a wide margin. Crickets grow and die quickly ; if you need them small, and are able to keep them alive long enough, they’ll quickly outgrow your pet’s comfortable portion size. Their lifespan is six to ten weeks, which means they may die off soon after you purchase them. Dubia roaches grow more slowly, and thusly you’ll have a much longer period of time in which they’ll be the right size for your pet – and if they get too big, they’re incredibly easy to raise yourself!
Dubias, as well, require very particular climates to survive and thrive ; they are far more likely to die in a short time than they are to escape and infest your home – much like crickets can and will do, if given the opportunity. They are a tropical species of roaches, which means that if they are removed from warm, humid accommodations, they will quickly die.
Our Dubia roaches have next to no ability to get out of the containers we keep them in, thanks to their inability to climb smooth plastic, and their lack of strong jumping legs like crickets, as well as no ability to fly ; this makes them much easier to keep indoors than crickets, especially if you have a slightly deep plastic bin with sheer walls to keep them from climbing over the edges – though, we certainly recommend you use a lid, all the same.
In almost every case where a Dubia has gotten out of their containers, it’s thanks to human error – and being the predictable insects that they are, Dubias will tend not to travel far from wherever they dropped. They often play dead when they’re startled which makes recovering them much easier ; if not that, they’ll beeline for the nearest shady spot to try and hunker down.
Crickets, on the other hand, can jump quite a ways, and you must be very observant when handling them or it is easy to lose a number of them after they spring away from your tweezers and off into the house somewhere to be noisy and eventually die and stink the place up.
Crickets are smelly. Really, really smelly. Nobody likes their home smelling like stinky bugs, but crickets will certainly do that for you, especially if they begin dying off – and you’ll have to clean their container constantly, to keep the bodies, excrement, and smell all down. They don’t produce a strong natural odor, but they are simply more difficult to keep hydrated and often die very quickly – it is their rotting bodies which produce the worst odor.
Dubia roaches, on the other hand, are only kind of smelly – it’s not the most pleasant smell, but it’s far more palatable than that of the crickets in our opinions, and those of many online. They don’t have nearly as strong a natural odor as the crickets, and if you keep them in a container with a ventilated lid, chances are you still won’t ever smell them. Even when they die inside the container, chances are great – grim though it might sound – a few smaller roaches will probably eat away any parts that would’ve rotted instead, leaving only exoskeleton behind. Even the bodies are much less smelly than crickets’.
Keeping on top of the food and water that you provide to your roaches is the best way to keep the smell in their containers down ; ensure you remove any rotten foods and only offer fresh produce that is safe and healthy for your insectivore.
Dubias don’t produce any natural noises, unlike crickets – a major complaint of people who keep crickets is the noise. They chirp loudly, and constantly – we read one anecdote where someone compared the noise inside their home to that of a woodland campground at night, thanks to their colony of crickets. The juveniles do not produce any noise, but when they reach adulthood, they will.
Dubias can produce some sound when they are moving quickly, a shuffling as their exoskeleton and legs move along whatever is under them, be it hard plastic or loose frass – but the likelihood of hearing them is very low, unless they are frightened or rushing to eat, and even this is very little compared to the chirping of crickets.
Ease of Handling
Dubia roaches can be relatively quick and difficult to get with a pair of tweezers, but they also do not bite, jump, or fly – which makes putting a glove on and scooping a few up one of the easiest ways we’ve found yet to handle these insects, which is certainly not the case with crickets.
Crickets like to bite, and they do so a lot – they will likely bite you if you handle them, or your pet if given the chance ; though they’re very unlikely to do any actual damage to a person. Besides this, they, obviously, like to jump – it can be hard to get the number of crickets that you want to offer to your pet in hand, especially when compared to how easy it is to handle Dubias after you get used to them.
Roaches are unlikely to be your favorite insect to see, or even to think about – let alone in your house. But once you can get past the name, they’re not so bad! They look like flat pillbugs up until adulthood, at which time they resemble other species of roaches – only adult males have wings, and even with wings, they can only clumsily glide. Compared to most other feeder insects, Dubias are remarkably clean and easy to keep.
As well, crickets have been speculated to carry diseases and parasites like pinworms, which in turn infect the pet reptile that consumes the affected cricket. Roaches have not been known to carry pinworms or any other type of infectious parasite.
*This information is based on data we have collected from various sources ; the exact nutritional contents of your feeder insects will vary based on the diet they have. Our Dubias receive only organic, homemade chow based on a number of feed options we researched and determined to serve best as nutrition and for gut loading. Assuming the figures we found and compiled are accurate, this would mean that Dubia roaches are nutritionally a better choice than crickets ; if nothing else, they are certainly no worse as feeders than crickets are.
|INSECT||Calcium to Phosphorous Ratio||Water Percentage||Chitin Percentage||Protein Percentage||Fat Percentage||Minerals Percentage||Fiber Percentage|
|Black Soldier Fly Larvae||2.6:1||61.20||4.76||17.80||21.72||1.36||7.4|
The ideal ration of calcium to phosphorus is about 2 to 1.
Now we can break down some of these numbers to make better sense of them ; given that the ideal ratio of Calcium to Phosphorous remains about 2 to 1, Dubia Roaches have one of the better ratios of some of the most common feeder insects. This means that a diet including Dubia roaches requires less calcium supplementation by means of powders and related products.
However, this is not to say that Dubias are the only feeder you should give to your pet. The percentages and exact contents vary enough between feeder insects that the best option is to give your pet a variety, both to keep them interested and stimulated, and also to ensure they are receiving a healthy mix of all of the necessary nutrients.
Dubias contain more protein than crickets do, thanks to the lessened chitin content, and the lessened percentage of body water content ; often times, herp owners find that one or two good sized Dubias will fill up their pet just as quickly as fifteen or so crickets.
Taking all this into account, the safest and healthiest bet for your pet is to mix and match feeder insect options ; we personally prefer to use Dubia roaches as a staple feeder over crickets thanks to some of the reasons listed above – but we also supplement our pets’ diets with mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, hornworms, and plenty of veggies, to ensure they’re receiving as close to the precise mix of nutrients they need as possible.