When starting a Blatta lateralis colony, there are many important things to know, especially if you have never started a colony before. These roaches are actually taking the feeder market by storm due to the ease of caring for them. First of all, let’s talk about what Blatta lateralis looks like. Blatta lateralis is also known as the rusty red or Turkistan cockroach. These roaches are small like crickets, but they don’t require perfect temperature or humidity like crickets. They also don’t smell or die quickly like crickets usually do. Lateral males are light in color with wings and females are dark wingless. Lateralis move quickly, so be ready to give chase if they escape. The advantage of them being so fast is that they reproduce quickly, because they lay eggs instead of giving birth, allowing their colony to grow at an accelerated rate.
Housing your Blatta lateralis is very easy. Any container, such as a glass tank or plastic container, works well with lateralis since they are not climbers. Make sure you have plenty of egg cartons in your container so the roaches can breed. It is also necessary to maintain humidity above 40%. You can increase its humidity by occasionally misting your container with water. A heat mat can be placed on the bottom of your container or you can place a heat lamp on top of the container to maintain a high temperature. The temperature of the container should be between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also use a preheated reptile room, night light bulb with a reflector, heat tape, human heating pad, or heating wire to keep your container at the proper temperature. Be sure to always keep mold out of your colony container. Mold can destroy your entire colony.
Feeding your Blatta lateralis is also very easy. Lateralis will pretty much eat anything, but you have to keep in mind that whatever you feed your roaches, you will also be feeding your pet. Providing your roaches with a high-protein diet will allow them to better feed their pets later on. Dry cat food, whole grains, baby cereals, fish flakes or roach diet. You can use dry dog food but it doesn’t have as much protein as dry cat food. You can put their food in a small dish or in the corners of your tank. Oddly enough, lateralis will often take their food from the dish and move it to their hiding places to eat. Water is also very important to the health of your rocks. Water crystals are wonderful to use because they don’t make a mess like liquid water.
Blatta lateralis are wonderful feeder roaches, especially for smaller pets like tarantulas, geckos, and baby bearded dragons. Any pet that you would normally feed a cricket to can be fed lateralis. Lateralis also have soft shells, making it easier for your pet to digest and allowing them to have a higher meat to shell ratio. It is best to allow the colony to fully grow before starting to feed solely on it. Your colony should have at least 1 male for every 3 females, allowing you to feed the extra male roaches to your pets. Following these tips and growing a healthy Blatta lateralis colony will ensure that you can keep your pet healthy without breaking the bank.