Orange Head Roaches, Eublaberus posticus
Named for the bright orange color of their pronotum, the plate that covers their head, and notorious for their affinity for meat, Orange Head roaches are a quick moving, meaty medium size roach native to Central and South America that begins life at about ⅛” and grows to around 2” in length with females being a bit longer and wider than males. Both males and females possess long yellowy orange wings the length of their body. Unlike Dubia both adult males and females have full length wings and no distinguishable physical differences except for a difference in the last segment of their posterior abdomen. Females will have one large final segment that's about twice the size of the other segments while males will have consistently sized segments.
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While this species is gaining popularity in the feeder world, little information is available about them that isn’t simply copy/pasted from another species. We’ve gathered information from our research and experience into one article and make changes as we continually learn about this species.
Orange Head roaches are often advertised as a replacement for Dubia, and they can certainly be used that way. Orange Head roaches are from a separate genus, Eublaberus, with a diet consisting of higher protein levels. As such, they are going to process and store nutrients differently than Dubia and therefore serve a better use as a means to provide variety in your pet’s diet alongside the Dubia roach rather than a complete replacement.
In addition to the nutritional benefits of this species, they also tend to be a bit more active which can pique the interest of more finicky eaters who might find Dubia a bit boring. Size wise the Orange Head roach is a beefier roach than Dubia which means less chitin (undigestible fibrous material which makes up the exoskeleton) and more meat, more bang for your bite!
Breeding Orange Head Roaches
Keeping and breeding Orange Head roaches is relatively simple and similar to Dubia. However the popularized belief that these roaches are as easy as Dubia is false. If this was true, they’d be easy to profit from and there wouldn’t be a higher market value on Orange Head roaches. In reality while Orange Head roaches certainly can be as prolific as Dubia, they’re much less tolerant of subpar care. You’ll want to make sure that their temperature as well as available
Heating and Lighting
Temperatures must remain between 85-95 during the day in order for this species to breed, but can drop down to the low 70’s or high 60’s at night but these lows aren’t necessary. Providing light or a day/night schedule isn’t needed; these roaches do much better in the dark and may be stressed or less active in light, thus inhibiting breeding and other activities. An under tank heater is recommended for a heat source. These can be found at most pet stores, some garden centers and online.
A dark tub, trash can, bucket, or any other container with a lid will do nicely. We typically recommend a medium to large size plastic storage tote. What size container you use will depend on how many roaches you plan on keeping, however a tote in excess of 20 gallons would be overkill for most individual’s needs. Cut a hole at least ½ to ¾ the size of the lid and cover it with a piece of window screen. We recommend using hot glue to secure the window screen. Line the container with vertically placed pieces of egg filler flats or some other cardboard material to provide furniture and hiding places. Positioning them vertically allows the frass (poop) to fall to the bottom of the container. While this species has a tendency to bury itself in substrate, separating the roaches from the substrate is time consuming. We’ve tested both methods and whether we offer it or not doesn’t have any affect on their rate of survival or breeding habits. Orange Head roaches aren’t particularly adept climbers and won’t be able to scale most plastic surfaces however if your egg flats come too close to the lid, they may be able to reach the top edge and escape. In the event that the sides of your container are textured enough that they do manage to climb them, adding a piece of clear packing tape or other slick tape will prevent escape.
For the most part, Orange Head roaches’ diet is the same as any other roach. Roaches have the ability to self select the appropriate foodstuffs to satisfy their dietary needs. Their antennae possess the ability to 'smell' food and steer them in the direction of the appropriate source of the nutrients they require. While they're opportunistic feeders and there's little that they'll turn down, always remember that what you feed to your feeder insects is essentially what you'll then feed to your pet. It's important to provide your feeder roaches with a good quality diet not only for reproduction and longevity, but also to ensure they pass the best possible benefits onto your critter as a food source.
Provide fresh, well washed organic produce such as apple, orange, banana, carrots, and dark leafy greens every day to every other day in quantities that they can eat in 24 hours to prevent mold and flies. A carbohydrate source is also important and can be provided with rolled oats or oatmeal, wheat bran, some dry grasses such as timothy and alfalfa, etc. Avoid processed foods as much as possible. The biggest difference in their diet is of course their craving for higher levels of protein. We’ve seen some recommendations of processed diets such as fish foods or turtle diets, or reptile diets such as that which you may already feed to your bearded dragon, monitor, tegu, etc. If this is something you’re comfortable with, it certainly can get you by. However we don’t recommend feeding processed cat and dog foods to your reptiles or to the feeder insects that you feed to them.
There’s a noticeable fishy odor when fed strong smelling foods such as fish flakes and turtle diet. These diets may also be expensive and aren't very beneficial to the roaches. These processed diets contain fillers and extra stuff, or outrageous quantities of certain nutrients since they’re formulated for another species. Being that the diets are all rolled into one nugget or kibble, the roaches have no choice but to consume everything in order to satisfy their craving for the protein or whatever else they're seeking. Nutrients in processed foods are also often lost or destroyed during the extrusion process and the foods are also dried out. In our experience, the best source of protein for these meat craving roaches is actual meat. Feeding real meat such as raw ground beef, ground turkey or chicken, eliminates these issues, gives you peace of mind about what’s being passed from your feeders to your pet, and is cost efficient and simple. Small portions of ground meat can be offered once or twice a week. Offer only what the roaches will eat in a few hours or so and remove any uneaten meat within 24 hours to prevent pests.
Thanks and Closing
Thank you for taking the time to read our care sheet. Giving back to our beloved exotic pet communities is a big passion of ours and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help. If you have further questions, comments or concerns we’d love to be of assistance! Your feedback is appreciated and helps us continue to improve.