These roach chow feeding instructions combine our knowledge of Dubia roach nutrition, measured by productivity, with our desire to provide you with practical information you can use. We created them to help you get the most from your roaches and their chow.
There’s no shortage of debate about what to feed Dubia roaches. Dry food, wet food, pet food, whole food…the options, like the opinions, seem endless. We’ve heard it all, and we’ve tried it all too. We even went as far as measuring and logging our results.
Every insect diet needs a base. Our Dubia roach chow is a mix of nutritious ingredients that we thoroughly tested in our production colonies. During development, we only accepted foods and ingredients proven to foster Dubia roach health and improve productivity over time. As such, our Dubia roach chow is not a gut load. It forms the base of our in-house cockroach diet.
And for us, it’s more than just a cockroach diet. It’s a critical part of our breeding program. It works well for us, and it works well for our roaches too. They certainly seem happy with it. That said, we always recommend feeding Dubia roaches some fruits and vegetables. However, with our roach chow, you don’t have to! Whether your goal for your roaches is nutritious feeders or prolific breeders, Maximum Nutrition Everyday Roach Ration is a nutritionally complete roach chow.
These roach chow feeding instructions will guide you through all the available options. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your Dubia roaches and our roach chow.
Table of Contents
A well-formulated dry roach chow is the cornerstone of a Dubia roach breeding program. We believe this for several reasons. While we acknowledge the power of fresh fruits and vegetables, Dubia nymphs have difficulty consuming all the calories they need for growth and reproduction on fruits and vegetables alone. Mating is resource intensive, and nymphs need to accumulate nutritional reserves for use when they become productive adults. Nymphs raised on fruits and vegetables alone have suboptimal productivity. In our view, suboptimal productivity means substandard nutrition as feeders.
In addition to caloric and nutrition density, dry roach food is also convenient, versatile, and safe relative to fresh foods. It doesn’t spoil as fast, and instead of increasing the moisture in a roach colony like fresh produce, it tends to absorb it.
So let’s start here with the instructions…
1. Check the colony for problems
Before you begin, be sure your roaches are healthy, and their environment is right for adding dry roach chow to their diet. Check for excess moisture in the enclosure. Look on walls, in frass, under objects like food bowls, and in egg crates and other items made of permeable material that may absorb moisture. Roach enclosure heat and humidity can fluctuate significantly, so look for signs of previous moisture build-up like crusty, caked frass, mold or discoloration, the smell of ammonia, and brittle egg crates.
This step is important. It’s an opportunity to survey the general health of your colony. It’s good to get in the habit of checking things over at feeding time. Moisture is a big issue. For now, check for existing problems. Where there are none, note how “normal” looks.
With that done…
2. Address any issues
Fix any problems you find. Our article about Dubia roach die-off can tell you what those problems might be, and it will probably motivate you to develop good habits now to avoid the problems we describe. We recommend checking it out below.
Related reading: Spotting problems in a Dubia roach colony »
When everything looks OK…
3. Feed your roaches
To start with feeding, give your Dubia roaches enough food to last a few days. Serve it in a dish and not on the floor of the bin. Check daily for signs of moisture accumulation or food avoidance. This probably won’t happen in just a couple of days, but start here if you don’t already have a sense of the enclosure’s conditions. Be mindful of how the environment responds to dry food and how dry food responds to the environment. For example, if the food becomes wet and moldy before the roaches eat it, you need to know this is happening and fix it.
Dry food requires supplemental water, and there are several watering methods available for your roaches. Give that to them when you give them dry food.
We understand this may sound tedious, but these things are important — not just to find and fix problems now, but so you get in the habit of it, and checking becomes second nature. Soon you will do these things without much thought or effort. Chances are, one day your roaches will have a problem. Scanning their environment for signs of trouble when you feed them can help you catch and fix problems early.
4. Add more as necessary
Increase the amount of roach chow you give your roaches at each feeding until you find an amount and a routine that works for you, or until you run into problems. Barring problems, how much and how often you feed the roaches is up to you. All things equal, every few days is probably OK. Your goal is to find a balance between too much food leading to spoilage or waste and too little food, leaving your roaches wanting more.
And how will you know when there’s a problem? Easy. One sign is slower food consumption. While roaches tend to like decaying foods, and sometimes they may even prefer it, decay is different than bad, moldy, and rancid. Bacteria is not necessarily bad, but it can be. On the other hand, spoilage and rancidity are bad news, so you want to avoid them.
Foul smells are another sign of trouble. Consider that roaches live and eat where they poop and die, and the strength and speed of pathogens are amplified by confined, warm, dark, moist spaces. This describes your roach bin, so be careful.
The bottom line is that roaches usually alert to problems with their food by slowing down or backing off entirely. If you see this, take it seriously. Throw out any uneaten food, then find and fix the problem. Then, start again with a fresh batch of roach chow.
When you get to the point where you know how much food your roaches eat and how the colony and conditions respond to continued feedings, you can add fresh whole foods if desired.
Assuming the conditions are right, you can grow and maintain a thriving colony of healthy, vigorous, nutritious Dubia roaches on our dry food alone. This is what it’s designed for. However, roaches tend to do better with at least a little fresh food, and even a fair amount of it. Providing this can be as simple as feeding them a few over-ripe bananas that you would have otherwise thrown away, or a carrot you didn’t feel like finishing, a piece of your apple, or whatever. It’s up to you. We encourage experimenting. Find some fresh foods your roaches like, avoid those they don’t, and keep an eye out for any of the issues mentioned above and in our Die-off article.
Be aware that adding fruits and vegetables increases risk. This probably won’t be a big deal if you’re accustomed to checking the conditions around feeding time and fixing any issues that arise, as outlined above. So keep doing that. Fruits & vegetables won’t last nearly as long as dry chow. They are moist, they will rot, and this can take your roach chow with it when they do.
Broadly, give your roaches enough food, and make sure what you give them is healthy. Assuming all their other needs are satisfied, your roaches should do well.
When ordering Dubia roaches, you’ll see an option to add a small portion of roach chow or gut load. With each, we aim to give you enough for the batch of roaches you add them to. These order add-ons are easy, convenient, and designed to avoid waste.
With roach chow, you get enough of our Dubia Roach Chow to keep the roaches fed and healthy for about a week as you feed them off to your animal(s).
With gut load, you get enough of our Dubia Roach Gut Load to fill the roach’s bellies a day or so before feeding time.
The quantity of gut load and roach chow varies with the number of roaches, so price may vary by roach size and quantity. If you buy two or more different size roaches — for example ½-inch and ¾-inch, and you want gut load or roach chow for all of them, be sure to add whichever one you want (or both) on each product page before adding the roaches to your shopping cart.
We recommend adding water or juice to the roach chow and gut load to provide hydration and increase palatability. We assume you will do this when we estimate how much gut load or roach chow you need.
Instructions for feeding add-on gut load and roach chow
Remove no more than a day’s worth of gut load or roach chow from the container. This may be a very small amount. If in doubt, start small and repeat if the roaches finish it quickly. We recommend feeding only a daily portion at a time because once it becomes wet, both the gutload and roach chow tend to become moldy after a day or two, especially when it’s warm.
Combine the powder with enough water to make a paste. It should be thick enough to roll into a ball but not too dry that it cracks. The goal is to provide the roaches with both moisture and food. Do this even if you provide water-rich fruits and vegetables like apple, carrot, etc.
You may also add water or juice to the entire contents of the container and store the paste in the refrigerator or freezer. Feed a daily portion to the roaches.
Feeding roaches is as simple or complicated as you make it. For most people, a diet based on roach chow is a probably the right choice. If you wish, you can supplement the diet with whole fruits and vegetables. Or you could go wild and create elaborate concoctions with some combination of dry and fresh ingredients. Or, you may opt for something in-between or even nothing at all. With Maximum Nutrition Everyday Roach Ration, how far you go is up to you. That’s the point of it. And it allows you to avoid many problems that may come with relying on a whole food diet, or dry dog or cat food. That’s the point of it too.
So in summation, our dry roach chow meets and exceeds our roach’s need for intense nutritional support for either breeding or feeding. It reduces the risk of mold or bacterial growth compared to other food forms, and it’s convenient. We recommend adding fruits and vegetables when you can, but you don’t have to. Dry chow is the staple. How much you venture out from there is entirely up to you. This feature is by design. It’s the purpose of our dry roach chow.
The next level
So these are the basics. Our roach chow contains ingredients your roaches need to grow big and strong. There’s no need to feed them anything else, but they’ll probably appreciate it if you do. And they may even reward your efforts with gains in growth and nutrition. Try it and see! But be sure to follow these instructions closely to avoid common problems.
All this being said, there is actually another level. A “next-level”, if you will. Going next-level with roach chow is fairly simple, but there are some things to know, problems to watch out for, etc.
Read more: Tweaking roach chow for health nutrition »