Choosing the right size Dubia roaches can be simple and straightforward. The idea is to find the size your animal(s) can capture and eat easily, without struggle or risk of harm. Doing so is often just a case of taking a measurement or recalling what size worked previously, then placing an order.
However, like every feeder insect, Dubia roaches have their own set of nuances. Being aware of these nuances before ordering can increase the chance that you select the right size on the first try. This is especially true for those who haven’t fed Dubia Roaches before, or those who have a new animal that hasn’t yet eaten Dubia roaches.
For example, Dubia roaches aren’t like crickets, which grow very fast at roughly the same rate. There is much more size variation among Dubia roaches of the same age. They’re also not like mealworms, which reach a predictable size quickly and then maintain that size for a long time. Dubia roaches grow much more slowly, and their final adult size often varies. Factors like food quality and availability influence their final size at maturity.
Dubia roaches are also shaped differently than many other feeders, and they may behave differently too. An inch long mealworm, for example, is much smaller overall than an inch long Dubia roach. You may or may not need to consider these things, depending on your circumstances.
Here is what you need to know when deciding what size Dubia roaches to buy:
- With the right conditions, Dubia roaches grow fast. This is especially true with smaller ones. The smaller they are, the faster they grow. The lesson here is when in doubt, we think it’s better to underestimate what size roach your animal can handle than to overestimate it. If you underestimate, the roaches will grow and you can feed them off when they’re ready. If you overestimate, the roaches will grow, and you will still have roaches that are too big for your animal.
- In general, people tend to overestimate the size Dubia roach their animals can handle. When in doubt, pick smaller ones. Or…
- Buy just a few Dubia roaches to start or try our Dubia roach size sampler. You get a few roaches in two consecutive sizes, which helps you figure out what size works best with minimal waste. Or…
- Buy Dubia roaches by weight rather than exact size. We sell Dubia roaches in broad size groupings like “small” and “medium”, and we also sell them in more precise sizes, like ¼ inch, ½ inch, and so on. If you underestimate the size roaches your animal needs and you bought them by weight, there is no waste. Your animal just eats a larger number of smaller roaches.
- Expect some size variation between roaches. They aren’t like many other insects that grow quickly at uniform rates. Crickets are a good example of uniform growth. Dubia roaches also vary by feeding status. Their bodies elongate substantially when they’re full and shrink when hungry. This is another reason to underestimate the size you need. If you go with the maximum size Dubia roach your animal can handle, you may end up with some that are too big. Underestimating size gives you room for error.
- If you end up with roaches that are too big, you can shrink them. As mentioned above, Dubia roaches’ bodies elongate when they eat. It follows that they can be made smaller by withholding food and water for a few days or a week. If your animal won’t eat a stuffed roach because it’s too big, you may have better luck when it’s hungry and smaller. If you’re concerned about what this will do to the roaches, don’t worry. It won’t hurt them. They can survive weeks without water and months without food. Cockroaches are famous for this, actually.
- When you have the right size Dubia roaches, you can maintain their size by feeding them regularly and keeping them between 50ºF and 70ºF. They will still eat and drink, but they will grow much slower without the high heat they need for full growth and reproduction. At the lower end of this range, they may grow as much as ten times slower than when kept at their ideal temperature range.
- Species specific Dubia roach sizing is something we’ve addressed in various places on our website. For example, our article about bearded dragons and Dubia roaches provides information about how to choose the right size Dubia roach for your bearded dragon.
So these are our basic tips for how to pick the right size Dubia roaches. As we said, it’s pretty simple, and we hope this information makes it even easier. Of course, feel free to contact us if you have any questions. You may also post questions or comments below.