We believe that live bugs are best – they’re fresh, you can gut load them, and they are exciting for your reptile. But feeding live dubia roaches isn’t always possible.

Since it’s too cold for us to ship this week, we thought we’d take this opportunity to discuss alternatives to live dubia roaches.

Why Have Alternatives to Live Dubia Roaches On Hand?

Roach shortages, shipping delays, freak storms, or just normal winter weather can all prevent your live dubia roaches from getting to you on a weekly basis. And while beardies can survive on just salad for a short period of time, it’s a lot healthier to have some source of insect protein on hand for them.

Another reason to have alternatives to live dubias on hand is for personal emergencies. If you fall ill or become injured, have a loved one pass away, or numerous other stressful situations, the last thing you need is to add to that stress by realizing you forgot to order your live dubia roaches for the week.

With all that said, what can you use as dubia roach alternatives?

5 Live Dubia Roach Alternatives You Can Turn To In An Emergency

When it comes to alternatives for live dubia roaches, you have several options. We encourage you to experiment with a few different types to find what works best for you and your reptiles.

  • Pelletized diets. We’re not big fans of pellets for bearded dragons, but they can be a great back-up option for emergencies and short-term use. Total Bearded Dragon has a great article on pelletized diets that goes in depth about the nutrition and health aspects of pellets you can read here.
  • Canned escargot. In our experience, beardies LOVE canned snails! However, be warned: what goes in must come out and it isn’t pleasant. It’s black, smelly, and they spray it all over the sides of their enclosure. Oh, the stench! Feed at your own risk.
  • Canned or freeze-dried insects. These can include dubia roaches, crickets, grasshoppers, and more. Usually canned or freeze-dried bugs aren’t gut-loaded, but they still provide necessary protein for your reptiles. However, some people find that their bearded dragons won’t eat freeze-dried insects.
  • Frozen insects. Another option is to freeze your own insects. Just put your live dubia roaches into a container or zip lock bag and stick them in the freezer. We suggest gut-loading them beforehand to ensure maximum nutritional value. When you’re ready to feed, thaw them out to room temperature and let your beardie at ‘em! Also, if you do feed crickets (read why we don’t recommend crickets here), freezing them will kill off any parasites.
  • Keeping your own colony. At the end of the day, there is no ideal replacement for live dubia roaches. Keeping a small colony is a great way to make sure you’ll always have the insects you need for your reptiles. We offer small counts of adult males and females in the perfect ratio for starting your own small colony here.

Getting Your Dragon to Eat Live Insect Alternatives

Bearded dragons are notoriously picky eaters. It’s a good idea to occasionally feed your beardie some of the live insect alternatives you keep on hand so that they are accustomed to the flavors, textures, and lack of movement. This way, when those alternatives become your best option, they won’t turn their nose up at them!

photo of adult dubia breeder roaches

Shop Live Dubia Roaches and Starter Colonies

It’s a great idea to have a small stock of alternatives to live insects on hand for emergencies. But if you can get them, live dubia roaches are hands down the best option to feed to your pet. See our selection of live dubias, including breeding adults for your own emergency colony, here.