Thinking of starting a dubia colony?
Sometimes people feel daunted by starting a dubia colony for a number of reasons. Fear of the bugs is often first on the list. Having a renewable source of insects that I wouldn't have to shell out a small fortune for every week was an advantage I saw in having my own colony. Once I saw how readily my reptiles loved them as feeders I thought "I can do this." Despite the initial expense, the cost savings alone was a great motivator. As I researched more about them I also learned of their nutritional benefits and I was sold. After keeping them for several months I learned that my fears of the dubia were unfounded and they were, by and large, a lot easier to keep than 1,000 crickets. They didn't smell horrid, didn't jump and were a far better feeder. I also have not had an escapee, which I had with crickets, somehow some way, they always found a way out!
What do I need?
- Dubia! How many? We'll discuss that later!
- An opaque tub (one you cannot see through) is best as they like the dark and will produce better when less stressed.
- Egg flats or drink cartons
- Food and water dishes
- Chow, you can either buy some or make some
- Water crystals
- Food and water dishes
- Heat Source
- Screen material (you do not need to use aluminum screen as you do with crickets as they will not eat through it like crickets do)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Box cutter or very sharp knife
- Packing Tape (optional)
Let's start with the most important part, the Blapticus Dubia! Your colony start size can vary depending on how many dubia you want to produce. Depending on how many reptiles you are feeding the number can vary. Lets just say you have 1-2 small reptiles. You can easily start with 25 Adult Females, 10 Adult males and anywhere from 50-200 mixed size dubia. These are colony creatures and will do better with larger numbers. If you are patient and have limited funds this will get you going and in a few months time you will have a reasonable colony. The more dubia you start with the more likely you will have a thriving colony. Your male to female ratio can be 1 male to 5 females. Males tend to be the more sensitive and if there are problems with the colony you may see a die off in the males first. If you have too many males you will have fighting between them and may see a lot of damaged wings. It is good practice to cull the males if you have too many. If you have no one to eat a full size male dubia, sometimes local pet stores are willing to take them in trade or you may know other herpers who have need for large feeders. There are many reputable dubia suppliers to choose from and most will be happy to help answer any questions about setting up a colony if you have any. Check out our feeder companies page for more information on dubia breeders.
The easiest tub to use is a Rubbermaid Tub, because it is light and easy to move around, clean etc. If you have a spare screen top aquarium you can use that as well. Depending on how many dubia you start out with you can choose your size tub. If you only have 100 or so dubia you do not want a huge tub. They tend to bre