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How I keep and breed my Turkistan Roaches

I have been keeping Turkistan Roaches for about 18 months, this article is for other newbies as a referrence to keeping and breeding them.

By Philip B from Derbyshire on Friday 21st September 2007

Before I start - I'd like to explain that I am not an expert in keeping Turkistan Roaches, or any other cockroaches. I first got them as a bit of a hobby, I knew cockroaches were easy to breed and I thought that these would be ideal to feed to my Praying Mantids.

The fact that "they don't climb" first attracted me to this species.

How I keep Turkistan Roaches

I keep my Turkistan Roach culture in a Storage Tub/Bin - it's a shallow clear plastic tub (you can buy these from most home stores). Although you can get various sizes; mine are about 2ft x 1.5ft and about 0.5ft deep.

Tip: before you buy; check that they are smooth - some have textured corners that the Hatchlings can climb up.

In the storage tub, I've opted for some substrate - it's some soil about half inch deep (I think looks better). I have a couple of pieces of cork bark for them to hide under.

Temperature is an important factor for your Turkistan Roaches, I found the warmer they are the quicker they grow and breed. They are kept in a warm room - but a heat mat would just be as good (85 to 95 degrees).

Tip: If you notice your young Turkistan Roaches are dying or having trouble shedding, it's probably because it's not humid enough. In the summer I put wet kitchen roll on the cork bark.

What I feed Turkistan Roaches

I have a "dry" corner - which I put bits of dry breakfast cereal and cat biscuits. Although, the Roaches do tend to pick up food and take it under the cork bark to eat.

I give them fresh fruit and veg a couple of times a week (usually off cuts of what we have had for lunch, carrot peelings from Sunday dinner, apple cores, banana skins etc).

Tip: Put any fresh fruit or veg in the centre of tub, "if" mould develops it won't attach to the side of the tub - providing a hand escape route (a rouge cherry tomato caught me out once).

When starting my culture; I used to have "left overs" - which attracted fruit flies - but now, the culture is huge they eat the lot (probably the fruit fly egg, as they haven't been any flies for about a 9 months).

Tip: When removing old food, check for hatchlings and eggs hidden away before you dispose.

Breeding Turkistan Roaches

I noticed they breed/lay more in the summer; you can't miss the egg cases - you'll notice the females lay them over a couple of days. You can clearly see them hanging out of their behind.

They seem to lay them where there is food, however this could just be a coincidence - as this could just be where they spend most of their time.

I'm not sure how long they take to hatch - but when they do each one will give you about 12 nymphs. From nymph to adult take approx 3-5 months.

Males have wings, and they are escape artists - I've never seen one fly - but they must jump and flutter because the can escape. I cover my tub when it has males in - I give them a few weeks, but they are the first I use as feeders. I believe that once a female is mated she can have several fertile egg cases.

Use your judgement on when to split - but when it looks like you've got too many in one tub, nip to the shop buy another set up ...and you're ready to go!

I started off with about 20, I now have thousands (in several tubs).

  • Keep them warm (85 - 95 degrees)
  • Make sure they are humid enough (look out for fatalities when shedding as an indicator).
  • Feed well (mixture of dry and fresh fruit/veg)
  • Buy a Turkistan Roach Starter Kit!