Breeding Success: Eublaberus sp. “Ivory”

Hello all, been a tad longer been a lot longer than I would have liked to have waited since the last post, my site has been having serious technical issue that prevented me from posting and uploading images. This post is kinda messy since I’m still figuring out what went wrong where, but here it is…

Some of you may remember that I haven’t posted about my Eublaberus sp. “Ivory” in a long time, not since this post back in the September of 2019. Since that time they were at first continuing to do “O.K”; with prolific roaches you hardly ever want them to just be “O.K”, and I was worried because adults were molting out but never producing any nymphs. This may have been because they were molting out staggered (I never had more than a few adults at one time), and the temperatures were low compared with what these like for breeding, but still I hoped to get some offspring out of them before the year was out. I switched them around my racks repeatedly to find the warmest spot, but they continued to molt out, hang around for a few months, then die. I was honestly very worried I was going to lose this species from my collection, as there were only so many juveniles and subadults left.

The new year rolled around, and all through the end of winter and then the spring the pattern repeated itself. I had several major (like nothing I’ve ever experienced) fly outbreaks during this time; first fungus gnats, then what looked like fruit flies (they weren’t), then a wave of another small fly I can’t figure out. It got so bad any drink left out would invariably end up with flies floating around within an hour, and if left overnight a mug with a tea bag inside could end up with 20+ flies at the bottom, trapped by honey residues or having suffocated, trapped beneath the tea bag and the mug wall. The second wave of flies quickly established themselves in with the E. sp. “Ivory”, and I began to notice dead adults infested with flies and fly pupa. I wondered whether these were the dreaded phorids, but it soon became apparent they were merely feeding off the already-dead adult roaches (still not a good situation). As soon as we hit summer though the flies started to dissipate (thank God!), and I noticed more adult Ivories were hatching out. My mind was elsewhere however as I dealt with a variety of other issues…

Until now. I checked the Ivories just a few days ago and was surprised to see small dots running around…small, brand new nymphs! I am absolutely floored that these have finally reproduced, ensuring their continued existence in my collection. In retrospect my earlier fears of losing them could have been ameliorated by providing the specimens with more heat and food during the winter/spring, but nonetheless it was a good lesson for me to learn, and in the end it turned out happily. I collected and counted out fourteen first instar nymphs before releasing them back in with the subadults/adults, but I am positive there are more that I missed (the enclosure is a medium Sterilite bin with about 3-4 inches or 7-10 centimeters of substrate), and a few of the adult specimens looked noticeably swollen, so…

The new nymphs are basically miniatures of older ones, and just as active. Pictures were difficult to attain due to this behavior and a proclivity to instantly dive into the substrate if given the opportunity.

Now, in the intervening time when I wrote the above and was trying to figure out what in the world was messing with my site, I gave my roaches, including the E. sp. “Ivory”, some dry cat food. Nothing wrong with that right? Well, turns out this cat food contains DL-methionine, an “organic” pesticide that is harmful towards insects with alkaline guts, i.e mosquitos and, you guessed it, roaches. I found this out less than hour after feeding almost all my roaches the cat food. So, back to the bins I went, pulling out the food and throwing in carrots to dilute whatever had already been consumed. I’m hoping there will be no long-lasting affects, as the pesticide doesn’t often kill all specimens immediately but rather weakens and then kills them over time, but that remains to be seen.

And that’s all for now, till next time!