There’s a reason why dubia roaches are so easy to keep in captivity; they are capable of eating almost anything – even cardboard.
Naturally omnivorous, a good plan of action is to find one or two “base” foods to provide at all times, supplemented with a wide range of fruits and vegetables. By offering a range of foodstuffs you’ll minimize the chances of any nutrient deficiency, while also ensuring maximum benefit for the animals that will be eating them.
Let’s look specifically at suitable foods for your roaches, and answer the question “what do dubia roaches eat?”
Cereals can form part of your dubia cockroach diet. While many dubia cockroach breeders house their colonies without any form of substrate, some others opt to line the base of the tub with bran or other cheaply-available cereals. This ensures a constant source of food, which is then supplemented with other more nutritious foods.
Be aware, however, this is the exception rather than the norm, and many people successfully rear dubia roaches without any kind of cereals being provided.
Dried Dog & Cat Food
One of the most common sources of food for dubia roaches are dried cat or dog biscuits. These offer a huge range of benefits. Firstly, they contain meat, which omnivorous insects like dubias seem to relish. Being dried, however, they won’t rot or go off easily.
Dried cat and dog kibble is readily available, cheap to buy and easy to store until you need it. While some dubia roach owners provide their kibble in a shallow food bowl, it is just as common to simply scatter it across the cage, ensuring your roaches are never far from a meal.
These kibbles can be fed as-is. However there are two other options sometimes used by roach keepers. Firstly, you can grind these biscuits into a fine powder to feed (or just use the dust from the bottom of the bag if you have cats or dogs).
Lastly, they can be soaked in a little warm water and fed in a bowl as a way to get more moisture into your roaches.
Fruits & Vegetables
Dubia roaches love to eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables, and almost anything edible to humans will be accepted by dubias. Possibly the most popular option among roach keepers are sliced citrus fruits, but a whole host of other options can work well.
Examples of fruits and vegetables that dubia roaches will eat include slices of raw potato, butternut squash, carrot, apple, melon, banana and leafy greens.
Leafy greens are worth a special mention as they tend not to go off as quickly as other fruits or vegetables, so can represent a good “staple” food for your roaches.
Generally it makes sense to offer fruits and vegetables in a shallow bowl or tray to prevent making too much mess in the cage. Check fresh food regularly and remove it when it starts to turn. Avoid mouldy and rotten conditions at all costs.
Some specialist feeder companies offer pre-made “bug chow” or “cockroach chow”. This can be an easy “base” food for your roach colony, though you’ll still want to supplement with fruits and vegetables.
Alternatively, there are dozens of different recipes on social media and discussion forums so you can make your own for a fraction of the cost.
Repashy is a powder mix formulated for crested geckos and day geckos. It is mixed with water to form a thick, nutritious paste. A mixture of proteins and carbohydrates, Repashy smells good enough to eat when mixed!
Unsurprisingly many dubia roaches will happily eat it, when it is provided in a shallow dish for them.
The only downside is that Repashy quickly dried out, so any uneaten food will need to be replaced the following day. As an occasional treat, however, Repashy works very well indeed.
It is worth mentioning here that dubia roaches will eat other roaches in your colony if the opportunity presents itself. Some people trying to start a breeding colony struggle because their adult roaches keep predating the hatchlings, which therefore never reach full size.
Roach keepers suggest that this is often down to a lack of food for the adults. Sometimes scattering food far and wide – such as cat or dog biscuits – can help to avoid this unfortunate habit.
Alternatively, consider removing hatchling dubias and rearing them elsewhere away from their parents.
Gut Loading Mixtures
Lastly, many reptile owners like to offer a specialist high-calcium gut loading mixture to their dubias for 24 hours before they are used.
This ensures that the lucky herptile receiving your dubias is getting the very best nutrition possible. These gut loading powders are available from a range of reptile stores.