It is currently Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:00 pm

All times are UTC [ DST ]




 Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:39 pm 
User
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:50 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Jackson County, MO
How to Clean a Roach Colony


Things you'll need:
- Your roach colony tub or tank.
- A spare tub, tank, or trashcan.
- Vaseline & Brush (if you have a climbing species)
- Trash bag
- Boiling water
- Cardboard (egg cartons, paper towel rolls, etc)
- Rubber Gloves & Medical Mask (totally optional)
- Forceps or kitchen tongs (optional)

I use the word “frass” a lot in the guide. If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is that layer of filth at the bottom of your roach colony. Roach droppings, shed skins, dead roaches, etc.

Let's get started, shall we?

Step 1

Go somewhere with a large open area. The less there is for an escaped roach to hide under, the better. I would personally never do this inside my house. The garage is a decent option. Outside is even better if conditions are favorable.

If you are working with a climbing species be sure to apply a Vaseline barrier to your spare roach holding container.

Step 1b

This is where your optional supplies comes into play. If roaches gross you out and you don't want to touch them there are a couple of options. You can either use a pair of forceps or kitchen tongs to handle the cardboard, or you can wear rubber gloves and use your hands.

Here is a nice trick if you have a climbing species like lobster roaches (Nauphoeta cinerea), get those kitchen gloves they sell at walmart, like these:
Image
Now if you paint Vaseline on your gloves from the wrist up the roaches will not be able to climb past your hand! I don't know about you, but if a roach ran up my arm and got under my shirt I think I would have a heart attack and die.

If you're using forceps or kitchen tongs with a climbing species you can also Vaseline the handles to keep them from running up.

If you let your roach colony get especially nasty before cleaning you may want to wear a medical mask to reduce the smell when you start stirring up the mess in the bottom of the colony tub.

If you don't suffer from a phobia of roaches you can just bare hand everything and forget about the mask, gloves, forceps, etc :D

Step 2

Using your preferred handling method it's time to separate your roaches from their dirty cardboard. You'll want to make sure your colony tub is directly next to (touching) your roach holding container. This way when you move pieces of cardboard from one tub to the other if any roaches jump for it they can't land on the floor. They will land in one tub or the other (hopefully).

Now, one at a time slowly lift roach-covered pieces of cardboard from your colony tub over to your roach holding container. Give the cardboard a few good knocks to make the roaches fall off. Make sure every roach fell off the cardboard and discard into your trash bag. You will repeat this until everything is out of your colony tub except for a layer of frass & live roaches at the bottom.

At this point you have to figure out how to get the remaining roaches out of the colony tub. The best way I have figured out is to put an egg carton back into the colony tub, give it a few minutes for the roaches to retreat to it (since it's their only cover now), and shake it out in the roach container tub. Repeat until satisfied. During this process I run my forceps or tongs through the frass to scare up any adults still hiding in it. You can also use your hands to do this if you are wearing gloves. I would not recommend using your bare hands to sift through roach frass. Ever.

Step 3

You won't get every roach without spending hours and hours. If you have as many roaches as I do it won't matter if you lose a few. Once you're satisfied with how many you've managed to get out of the colony tub, it's time to cull the rest. Put a pot on the stove or a bowl in the microwave and boil some water. The bigger your tub & the more frass the more water you will need.

Do this next part outside, trust me.

Pour the boiling water into the now mostly-empty colony tub. Keep pouring boiling water in until it covers everything in the bottom of the tub. This will ensure that all straggler roaches are totally dead.

At this point you have the most disgusting soup you have ever seen in the bottom of your tub. The good news is that this is GREAT fertilizer for your garden or yard. I dump my frass soup directly on my garden, but a compost pile or flower bed would also be a good option. You'll want to make sure the frass soup has cooled before pouring it near or on live plants.

Now what to do with your trash bag full of used cardboard? Well it's safe to assume a few stowaways made it into the trash bag, so I always either freeze or burn my used cardboard. I would go the freezing route if you live in the city. Just put the trash bag in your freezer for a day and then throw it in your dumpster.

If freezing isn't an option, or if you live in the country and just want to, burning is another good option. (Personally I use gasoline to make sure everything dies if I'm burning it, but that can be pretty dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.) If you're a minor do NOT attempt to burn anything without adult supervision.

Step 4

Now it's time to rinse the colony tub out. I use the garden hose in the backyard, but if that's not an option I'm sure you could do this at a kitchen sink. Rise the rest of the frass out, and use an old sponge or brush to scrub off anything that's stuck to the bottom still.

I never use anything but hot water to clean my tubs, but you can use a vinegar/water mix or a very diluted bleach/water mix if you really wanted to. If you do use anything other than water make sure you rinse it out thoroughly.

Once the tub is cleaned out it's time to re-apply a Vaseline barrier if you are dealing with a climbing species.

Fill the tub with new cardboard. My personal preference is to use egg cartons. I cut them in half (so now instead of one 12-egg carton I have 2 egg cartons that each hold 6 eggs) and set them cut-side-down in the tub so the frass can drop to the bottom of the tub instead of accumulating inside the cartons.

You can also use paper towel or toilet paper tubes, corrugated cardboard pieces, crumpled newspaper, etc.

Put your water gel bowl in, your food bowl, and anything else you keep in there (thermometers, etc).

Step 5

Pour all of the roaches from your roach holding container back into the newly cleaned colony tub and put the lid on.

Congratulations! You won't have to do that for another 4-6 months!

Tips

If you mist your colony that's fine, but don't overdo it! Soggy cardboard leads to mold and mildew. Also, clumps of frass will get stuck to it and things just start to get gross.

Keep your food in bowls! Especially if it's wet food!!! When fruit & vegetable juices mix with the frass three things happen: it stinks, it molds, and it attracts phorid flies. If phorid flies discover wet, soppy, fruit-juice filled frass they will go into an absolute breeding frenzy, and in less than a week you'll have flies everywhere! They aren't harmful really, just annoying and unsightly.

Another word on phorid flies. For some reason high temperatures seem to repel them. When I keep my colonies at 90F or above I almost never have phorid fly problems, but as soon as I put my roaches in room temperature conditions it seems the phorid flies move in.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a newly cleaned lobster roach colony. You will notice how I cut the egg cartons in half. The top layer of cartons you see here are on their sides, but the ones under them are cut-side-down so the frass will fall to the bottom of the tub instead of accumulating in the cartons. Notice how the water gel is in a bowl and so is the food.
Image


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:56 am 
User
User avatar

Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 7:39 pm
Posts: 10795
Location: 1/2 to everywhere
Nicely done here as well!



_________________
"Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willnae be fooled again!"
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 2:58 pm 
User
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:50 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Jackson County, MO
Christian Elowsky wrote:
Nicely done here as well!

Thanks much! It took me a year cleaning 3 different roach colonies to come up with that system, lol. Figured I would share it.

There are probably better ways, but people don't really post cleaning techniques very often. This is the best way I know of personally.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:24 am 
ATS Treasurer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:59 am
Posts: 519
Location: Council Bluffs, IA
What do you recommend for nabbing the baby dubia that inhabit the frass at the bottom? Or have you had a big issue with that? It seem like every time I clean my colony, that's the most exhausting part of the whole ordeal, as they just burrow down into the frass rather than running for egg flats. Any advice?

Great guide! I'd never thought about putting my "frass soup" in my flower beds before...I shall do that this next time around. :D

Jen :)



_________________
Jen Newman, LVT
Heartland Invertebrates
Due to technical difficulty, this is a new account - but the same opinionated user! Take that spam bots!!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:51 pm 
User
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:50 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Jackson County, MO
HorrorPhD wrote:
What do you recommend for nabbing the baby dubia that inhabit the frass at the bottom? Or have you had a big issue with that? It seem like every time I clean my colony, that's the most exhausting part of the whole ordeal, as they just burrow down into the frass rather than running for egg flats. Any advice?

Great guide! I'd never thought about putting my "frass soup" in my flower beds before...I shall do that this next time around. :D

Jen :)


Thanks for the kind words :)

I normally just hand pick as many out of the frass as possible, and then let the rest perish. However, I have heard of people taking several 5-gallon buckets, and drilling the bottom of each bucket full of holes. Each bucket would have different sized holes, stack them all inside each other with the biggest holes on top, next bucket down is slightly smaller, etc, etc. You dump your frass in & shake. The roaches will get stuck in the buckets with holes too small for them to fall through, while the frass will keep falling through to the very bottom bucket (which of course has no holes).

It sounds like a good idea to me, but I have never tried it. If you have a climbing species (like lobster roaches) it would make things more complicated. You would basically need to Vaseline the inside and outside of each bucket to keep roaches from going everywhere.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:27 pm 
ATS Treasurer
User avatar

Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:59 am
Posts: 519
Location: Council Bluffs, IA
Thanks for the ideas and the reply! I only keep dubia. No lobsters here. I'm not someone who has the mental fortitude to keep roaches that can climb and/or fly. :lol:

My biggest issue with the little ones isn't so much the excrement portion of the frass - that goes well with the sifting methods. It's those stupid shells from the molts!! Picking through those trying to find all the little ones hiding in them is a major pain in my rear. I'll prolly end up taking your suggestion and snatching as many as I can find in a reasonable amount of time then culling the rest.

Thanks again!
Jen :)



_________________
Jen Newman, LVT
Heartland Invertebrates
Due to technical difficulty, this is a new account - but the same opinionated user! Take that spam bots!!
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: How To: Clean a Roach Colony
PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:19 pm 
User
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:50 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Jackson County, MO
HorrorPhD wrote:
I'm not someone who has the mental fortitude to keep roaches that can climb and/or fly. :lol:
haha, you're not the only one. I suffer from a mild form of parasomnia where I wake up in a panicied half-dream state. After getting the lobster roaches I was having night terrors about them several times per week where I would wake up, hallucinate them crawling under the blankets, and jump out of bed yelling like a maniac. All the while terrifying my poor girlfriend and her little dog, LOL. I've had the lobsters for over a year now and I'm just now getting over my fear of them XD

HorrorPhD wrote:
My biggest issue with the little ones isn't so much the excrement portion of the frass - that goes well with the sifting methods. It's those stupid shells from the molts!! Picking through those trying to find all the little ones hiding in them is a major pain in my rear. I'll prolly end up taking your suggestion and snatching as many as I can find in a reasonable amount of time then culling the rest.
Yep, I hear ya. I usually dedicate an hour to picking out nymphs. Anything I can't get in an hour's worth of work is just gonna have to be a loss.

HorrorPhD wrote:
Thanks again!
Jen :)
My pleasure :)


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 1 [ 7 posts ] 

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to: