Feeder Insect: The Dubia Roach

Dubia Roach

Dubia roaches are quickly becoming a popular feeder insect for reptiles and amphibians thanks to their high nutritional value. These medium-sized cockroaches range from 1.6-1.8 inches long, with males being slightly smaller than females, and they can live as long as two years!

While males have full-body wings, they actually don’t fly very often or well, and females can’t fly at all with their tiny, nonfunctioning wings. Adult dubia roaches are dark brown with some subtle orange dots or stripes that may be seen under bright light.

Even though these roaches are primarily used as a food source, it’s important to remember that they are living beings that deserve respect and basic care while they’re alive.

Fun Facts

Scientific name:  Blaptica dubia

Common names:  Dubia roach, dubia cockroach, orange spotted cockroach, Guyana spotted cockroach, Argentinean wood cockroach

Origin:  Central and South America

Care level:  Easy/beginner

Lifespan:  1-2 years with proper care 

Habitat & Care

Dubia roaches can be kept in just about any kind of housing, provided it offers adequate space and ventilation. Choose between an aquarium, large kritter keeper, breeder box, or storage tub with large holes drilled in the top, and make sure to cover the container with a secure screen or mesh to prevent escape.

Vertically stacked egg crates
are a popular habitat addition as they’re easy to replace for quick clean-up, and the layers and texture provide room to roam and climb, as well as nooks and crannies to hide in.

The habitat should be kept clean and dry with good airflow to prevent mold and bacteria growth, which will kill the roaches. However, dubia roaches are originally from the tropics and require some consistent moisture. If you live in a dry climate with low humidity, you’ll need to lightly mist the cage daily. If you live in a more humid environment, just mist the cage when the humidity level drops below 35-40 during the dry season. Dubia roaches need humidity to be able to molt, which they do about seven times throughout their lifetime.

No special lighting is needed for dubia roaches, but they do require warmer temperatures. Ideal temperature range is between 75-95 degrees, especially if you plan to breed them. 

Diet & Hydration

Cockroaches need constant moisture, and water crystals are a great way to provide it. Placing dishes with water into the cage isn’t optimal because roaches will drown or spill it, increasing the potential of mold and bacteria in the enclosure. Dubia roaches must have access to water, and water crystals can provide the necessary moisture safely and effectively.

Another way to provide moisture is through fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, the more nutrition you provide for them, the more nutritious they’ll be for your pet. Leafy greens, apples, carrots, tomatoes, all tropical fruits, grains, and many more foods are enjoyed by dubia roaches. Be sure to remove leftover food before it spoils.

In addition, there are nutritional supplements specifically formulated for feeder insects to give them the nutrition they need. 

Supply checklist:

  • Housing/cage
  • Secure screen lid
  • Substrate: soil, orchid bark, coconut fiber
  • Egg cartons or other items to climb on and hide in
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Water crystals and dish
  • Misting bottle (optional)
  • Heating pad (optional)
  • Temperature indicator (optional)