Feeding Dubia roaches to Bearded dragons
Dubia roaches (Blaptica dubia), also called dubias, orange-spotted roaches, and Argentinean woodroaches, are healthy, well-balanced feeder insects for pet Bearded dragons and other insectivorous lizards.
As with most other nutritionally balanced insects, dubia roaches contain most of the main ingredients, namely proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water. The fact that dubia roaches are practical and easy to breed, manageable and non-odorous make them increasingly popular feeder insects. They can be easily cultured at home, or obtained from specialised pet shops and online retailers. (Buy live dubia roaches from Amazon.com ).
Dubia roach adults are blackish roaches with brown markings and the growing nymphs are brownish with spots. All stages appear white soon after moulting. In captivity, adults can live up to 2 years.
Dubia roach nutritional values*
Dubia roaches are well balanced and are great to feed to Bearded dragons. With their relatively soft bodies they are easy to chew and digest:
- Moisture 61% (15) (16)
- Total protein 50% (9) (15) (16)
- Total fat 36% (9) (15) (16)
- Calcium:Phosphorus ratio 1:1 (9) (18)
* Values are averages calculated from sources. Expressed as %DM except moisture.
When compared with crickets (A domestica.), they are much larger, not noisy, slower moving and climb less. They also live longer. Although they have slightly less protein (ca. 50% (9) (15) (16) vs. 64% (3) (5) (6) (8) ) and more fat (36% (9) (15) (16) vs. 21% (3) (5) (6) (8) ), Dubia roaches has significant better Ca:P ratio (1:1 (9) (18) vs. 1:5 (6) (8) (18) ). This means that calcium supplementation is less of an issue. Unlike most other cockroaches and crickets, dubia roaches are known to have a non-odorous smell.
Feeding dubia roaches to Bearded dragons
Dubia roaches are easy to dust and gut-load. When compared with grasshoppers and many other feeder insects, they are easier to breed, their legs are more reduced and the thorax is easier to digest, which, more importantly, makes them safe to feed.
Feeder dubia roaches should be gut-loaded twenty-four to forty-eight hours prior to being fed to Bearded dragons.
In order to prevent the spread of diseases such as Bearded dragon coccidiosis, uneaten Dubia roaches should be removed after about 20 minutes. By removing free-roaming roaches after each meal, stress and possible physical bite injuries can also be prevented.
Dubia roach sizes
Adult dubia roaches can grow to the size of about 4.5 cm / 1 ¾ “. This makes them perfect for larger Bearded dragons. Baby Bearded dragons can be fed on Dubia nymphs, which are about 3 mm / 1/8 ” in length.
Selecting the correct dubia roaches for Bearded dragons
There are various criteria used to select crickets for Bearded dragons. It is strongly recommended to only feed commercial crickets bought from reputable cricket breeders or pet shops. Apart from their size, other factors will include quality and price. A ‘fresh’, well-fed Dubia roach will be more nutritious and probably also taste better.
How many dubia roaches to feed
As a general rule of thumb, only the amount of dubia roaches that can be consumed within ten to twenty minutes should be given per Bearded dragon. Depending on the size of the Bearded dragon, the size of the roach and the frequency of feeding, this can be anything from one or two to more than fifty dubia roaches per feeding.