Most reptile enthusiasts agree: dubia roaches are the best feeder insect to keep your scaly friends happy and healthy. But like all feeder insects, they are not cheap! 

Fortunately, there are many ways you can stretch your dollar with dubias. In this blog, we will share some of these ninja roach keeping tips. 

Ready to learn how to keep dubia roaches without breaking the bank? Read on!  

Buying vs. Breeding Dubia Roaches

First things first: no discussion on cheap dubia roach keeping would be complete without mentioning breeding them. As you can guess, breeding your own dubias is hands down the cheapest way to put roaches in your pets’ feeder dishes. 

To explain exactly how to keep dubia roaches for breeding is beyond the scope of this article. (We have published several articles about breeding dubia roaches. If you are interested in setting up a breeding colony check them out to learn how to keep dubia roaches successfully as breeders.) 

What we do want to point out here is the #1 way you can set up a dubia colony for less, and that is (drumroll please):

Skip the breeders, and start with nymphs. 

Most people who want to breed dubias look for adult roaches to start their colony. But buying adult dubias is the most expensive way to acquire roaches. Most dubia roach suppliers like to hold back most of their breeders for their own use. So they sell adult dubias at a premium. Adult dubia roaches often sell for upwards of $1 apiece! 

The solution? Buy large dubia nymphs instead. Yes, you will have to wait a few weeks for them to grow out. But for the same amount that would buy you a scant handful of adult dubias, you can have a couple hundred young roaches to start your colony. In the long run, a much better deal. 

However, breeding dubia roaches is not for everyone. What if you just want to stretch your feeder budget without having to hassle with a breeder colony? 

Good news. If you just want to know how to keep a few dubia roaches as feeders without spending more than you need to, we can help with that, too. 

An Eye for Size: How to Keep Dubia Roaches Economically 

Yes, you can spend less for dubia roaches without having to breed them or buy more than your pets can eat. Here are two ways to do it: 

• Buy Ahead and Save

Next time you order dubia roaches, think ahead. Buy what you need now. And also buy the same amount of roaches, a size or two smaller. 

Buying some of your roaches smaller and growing them out saves money two ways: 

  1. Smaller roaches cost less, so you’ll be cutting your overall average spend per roach. 
  2. You will save a lot on shipping. At The Bug Shed, we charge a flat rate per order. So ordering more at a time won’t cost you any more per order. It’s like getting free shipping by tacking you next order on to this one. 

The trick to buying ahead is to time it right. 

Under optimal conditions, dubia nymphs take about 20 weeks to grow from newborn to adult. And they shed (and grow larger) about once every 2-3 weeks, a total of 7 times. 

So on average, you will want to buy a size smaller if you will be feeding two or three weeks in the future. This will depend partly on the age of the roaches you need. So you may have to experiment a bit at first to find out exactly what sizes you will need. 

It also helps to understand that the rate of growth is not out of your control! Here are some tips to help you achieve perfect timing with your feeder roaches: 

• How to Control Roach Growth for Optimal Savings 

One simple way to control how fast your roaches grow is to control the temperature of their enclosure. 

Normally, for fast growth it’s best to keep dubias between 80 and 90 degrees F. As stated above, under these conditions if they are well-fed and -hydrated they should shed (and grow larger) about every 2-3 weeks. 

But there may be times you don’t want them to grow that fast. Maybe you still have plenty of larger roaches to feed and want to hold off for a while. Or maybe you have too many larger roaches and don’t want them to get too large for your pet to eat safely. 

In this case, you can slow down roach growth by cooling down their environment. 

Roaches are tropical, so freezing weather will kill them. We don’t recommend putting them in the refrigerator either! But like all roaches, they are tough. Cooling them down into the 70’s or even 60’s for a while won’t hurt them. It will just slow down their growth rate a bit and buy you a little more time before feeding them off.  (Do be sure to warm them up and gut load them before feeding time!)

2 More Ways to Save Money On Dubia Roaches

Want more ideas on how to keep dubia roaches cheaply? Here are 2 more things to try: 

• Learn to Store Your Dubias Right

Taking proper care of your roaches will help reduce casualties so you get the most for your feeder insect dollar. Check out our article on how to keep dubia roaches for short periods to learn the best ways to keep your dubias safe and healthy until feeding time. 

The lid of the dubia roach container is being replaced.
Our handy Bug Keeper dubia roach enclosure is designed to keep 100-200 roaches healthy and comfortable for short periods before feeding time.

• Feeding for Dollars

You need to feed your dubias a nutritious diet if you want the maximum benefit for your pets. But If you are just keeping a few dubias before feeding time there is no need to spend much – or any – money to keep them healthy. 

Read our article on what to feed dubia roaches to get a good handle on what’s good (and not good) for them to eat. Then look for ways to find these foods at little to no cost. 

Start with kitchen scraps and uneaten morsels of food from your own plate (maybe a good incentive to start eating healthier? 😉 )

You can also ask friends and/or your grocer for produce and whole grain baked goods (avoid sugary treats, please) they would otherwise be throwing away. You can cut out the bad spots and give the good portions to your roaches.

Just stay away from moldy anything – it’s not good for your dubias or your pets. And for sure stay away from anything that may have been treated with insecticides. Organic is best!

Oh, yes, and one more bonus tip…

Of course, there’s one more way to save on feeder dubias before they even arrive at your doorstep. You guessed it:  

• Get Good Deals on Feeder Roaches

At The Bug Shed, we do our best to bring you the best roach buying experience available online. We’ll leave you today with 3 ways you can save on your very next order: 

  1. Our Multi-Unit Discount Program: Save up to 10% when you buy more than one unit of dubias from The Bug Shed. Mix ‘n match sizes: perfect for the “think ahead” growout approach! 
  2. The Bug Shed Loyalty Program: Save more with every order for up to 10% off every day, automatically! 
  3. Get 10% Off When You Sign Up for Our Newsletter: Stay on top of helpful articles like this and be the first to know about stock updates and special sales. 

The best thing? All the above discounts work in tandem with each other. The savings add up to a really good deal every time you order! 

So what are you waiting for? We’ve given you our best secrets for how to keep dubia roaches cheap. If you’re feeling ready to get started stretching your dubia dollars to the max, click here to order your feeder roaches today!