Dubia roaches, also known as the “holy grail” of feeder insects, are a nutritious and popular food source for reptiles. To keep your dubia roaches healthy and thriving, it’s essential to provide them with a balanced diet. 

Wondering what to feed dubia roaches? You’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore what to feed dubia roaches to keep them in tip-top shape, including breeder dubias and those used for gut loading before feeding them to your reptile. Let’s dive in!

What to Feed Dubia Roaches to Keep Them Healthy and Alive

To maintain the health and vitality of your dubia roaches, it’s important to provide them with a nutrient-rich diet. Here are some ideal foods to keep them thriving:

  • High-Quality Roach Chow: Commercial roach chow formulated specifically for dubia roaches is an excellent staple food. It contains a blend of grains, proteins, and essential nutrients necessary for their well-being. You can find roach chow at your local pet store or online.
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Dubia roaches benefit from a varied diet that includes fresh produce. Offer them fruits like apples, oranges, and bananas, as well as vegetables like carrots, kale, and squash. Remember to chop the fruits and vegetables into small, manageable pieces.
  • Whole Grains: Introducing whole grains such as oats, wheat bran, and rice can provide additional nutrients and fiber to dubia roaches. These grains can be either cooked or dry, depending on your preference.
  • Rabbit Pellets: Wondering about what to feed dubia roaches that’s easy, effective, AND inexpensive? Commercial rabbit food is a convenient high-nutrient food that dubia roaches love. It’s chock full of calcium along with other vital minerals and vitamins. And it’s cheap. We recommend soaking it in water first; that way it also provides the hydration your roaches need to stay healthy. 

What to Feed Dubia Roaches for Successful Breeding

Breeder dubia roaches require extra care and nutrition to ensure optimal reproductive success. In addition to the above, here are some essential foods to consider for your dubia roach breeding colony:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: Calorie-dense carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, beets, and apples give breeding roaches the energy they need to reproduce successfully. Commercial roach chows are also a good bet. 
  • Fresh Greens: Leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, and dandelion leaves are excellent additions to your breeder dubias’ diet. These greens provide essential vitamins and minerals crucial for reproductive health.

You may be tempted to feed high-protein foods to your dubia breeding colony. While breeding roaches do require a certain amount of protein, we recommend that you avoid giving them things like dog food or meat scraps. Read our section on “What Not to Feed Dubia Roaches” below to learn why. 

What to Feed Dubia Roaches for Gut Loading

Gut loading dubia roaches before feeding them to your reptile ensures that the insects are packed with nutrients, enhancing the nutritional value for your pet. Here are some suitable gut loading foods:

  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Similar to the diet for keeping dubia roaches healthy, offer them a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Opt for nutrient-dense options such as sweet potatoes, oranges, and dark leafy greens.
  • High-Quality Commercial Gut-Loading Food Products: Adding dry gut loading products like gut loading cubes or powders can provide a concentrated boost of nutrition. These products are designed specifically to maximize the nutrient content of feeder insects.

The main idea with gut loading is that you want to feed food that contains the nutrients your reptile needs most. To learn more about the art and science of gut loading, read our blog about gut loading dubia roaches.  

leafy greens

What to Feed Dubia Roaches to Keep Them Hydrated

Lastly, ensuring proper hydration is crucial for the well-being of your dubia roaches. These insects require access to water to stay hydrated and thrive. Do not try to keep your roaches hydrated by  giving them dishes of water. They will likely fall in and drown. Instead, try these tips:

  • Water Crystals or Gel: One effective method is to provide water crystals or a water gel product in a shallow dish. These crystals absorb water and slowly release it, creating a moist environment for the roaches to drink from. Make sure to replenish the water crystals or gel regularly to maintain hydration.
  • Fresh Vegetables and Fruits: Many fruits and vegetables have a high water content, making them a great source of hydration for your dubia roaches. Offer them moist produce such as cucumbers, watermelon, or lettuce. Such produce fed daily has enough moisture to keep roaches healthy. Remember to remove any uneaten fruits or vegetables after a few hours to prevent spoilage.
  • Mist the Enclosure: Periodically misting the enclosure with water can create a humid environment and provide droplets of water for the roaches to drink from. Use a spray bottle to lightly mist the enclosure, focusing on the sides and substrate.

By incorporating one or more of these hydration methods into your dubia roach care routine, you’ll ensure that your roaches have access to the water they need to stay healthy and hydrated.

What NOT to Feed Dubia Roaches and Why

Now that you know what to feed dubia roaches and when, you need to know what NOT to feed them! While dubia roaches are known for their resilience, there are certain foods you should avoid feeding them to ensure their well-being:

Do Not Feed These Foods to Your Dubias: 

  • Sugary or Salty Foods: Stay away from sugary or salty foods, including processed snacks, sugary cereals, and salty chips. These foods can disrupt the roaches’ digestive balance
  • Highly Processed Foods: Just, no. Processed food isn’t called junk food for nothing. It’s devoid of nutrition and full of chemicals. Remember, anything you feed your roaches ends up in your pet. Processed food is not what you want going into your reptile if you want them to have a long, happy, and healthy life. 
  • Calcium or Mineral Powders and Supplements: It may be tempting to feed calcium-rich foods like calcium powder, cuttlebone, or crushed eggshells to your dubias. But it’s probably a waste of money. They are unlikely to eat these on their own. Even if they do consume them, it may result in an overdose and affect their health adversely. Better to feed high-calcium food like leafy greens or rabbit pellets, and dust your roaches with calcium powder when you feed them off. 
  • Beans. Many reptiles react adversely to beans when used for gut loading. They may not be very good for your roaches either. Best to avoid them altogether. 
what not to feed dubia roaches

Feed These Foods With Caution: 

Citrus Fruits:

Dubia roaches love citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits. Some people worry that the high acidity levels in citrus fruits can be harmful to their digestive system. But we haven’t found this to be the case. After all, tropical fruits are a natural part of a dubia roach diet in the wild. 

The real reason to be cautious about feeding too much citrus fruit is that many reptiles are sensitive to citrus. To avoid giving your scaly friend a tummy ache, we suggest that you withhold these foods from your roaches within 3 days of feeding them off to your pet. 

High Protein Foods:

When asked what to feed dubia roaches, some people recommend feeding your dubias protein sources like dry dog or cat food, fish flakes, meat, or high-quality insect-based protein supplements. While these may not hurt your roaches in moderation, we recommend against making them a regular part of your dubia roach diet. 

Firstly, dubias don’t eat large amounts of protein food in the wild. In fact, don’t be surprised if they don’t care much for these foods. (We were given a partial bag of high quality dog food once from someone whose dog had passed away. We thought we’d try it out on the roaches as an experiment. Most of them just ignored it or nibbled a little. Some of the growing young roaches devoured it, but when we offered them other foods they were quick to switch to things like rabbit food and bananas.) 

The biggest reason not to reach for the dog food when you’re wondering what to feed dubia roaches is that the boosted protein content may not be good for your reptile. As we explain in this blog, feeding too much protein to dubia roach feeder insects has been linked to gout in reptiles.

In short, we recommend against feeding high protein food to dubia roaches. If you do feed these foods to your dubias, do so very sparingly, and avoid gut feeding it to them. 

Now That You Know What to Feed Your Dubia Roaches…

Remember, a well-fed reptile is a happy and healthy reptile! By providing a proper diet for your dubia roaches, you can ensure their health and vitality, making them an excellent food source for your reptile companion. Following these guidelines about what to feed dubia roaches and avoiding harmful foods will help you maintain a thriving dubia roach colony that benefits both your reptile and your peace of mind.

So, now that you know what to feed dubia roaches for optimal results, what are you waiting for? Take the next step towards providing a nutritious and balanced diet for your reptile. We can provide you with healthy, live dubia roaches that will ensure your reptile receives the best nutrition possible. Place your order for high-quality dubia roaches today. Your scaly friend will thank you for it!