Do you want to learn more about red runner roaches care sheet, breeding, life cycle, size, eggs, where to buy them and if they are right for your bearded dragons? You’re in the right place!
The Shelfordella lateralis, or Blatta lateralis, also known as Turkestan Cockroaches is a small species of roaches that grows to about 1 inch in length. These roaches are getting increasingly popular amongst feeder breeders for varieties of reasons.
READ ALSO: Surinam Cockroach in House
Red Runner Roaches Care Sheet
The higher protein combined with the simplest means to digest chitin shell makes Red Runner Roaches sought after greatly and it is a great alternative to Dubia roaches and crickets.
Need I add that the red runner roaches are much simpler to keep than crickets and have more positive nutritional benefits than mealworms and super worms.
Red runners roaches should be kept in containers with smooth sides so they cannot climb out of their enclosure.
This outdoor wood cockroach specie cannot climb smooth surface, but it can use rough-surfaces an walls as toeholds and may climb to the enclosure’s top.
To prevent them from escaping, simply place a layer of Smoothed out layer or tape of petroleum jelly along the inside of the top edge.
The plastic tubes or totes (18-30 Gal), Glass aquariums, or Plastic insect carriers with ventilated lids too can be used. Since this roach breed cannot climb, it is better to cover their enclosure so unwanted pests, materials, or household pets cannot get in.
Aquariums too can be covered with mesh covers used for reptiles too. Many of the plastic tubs are sold with heavy-duty plastic covers.
To provide ventilation for a plastic tub, we recommend making a hole (at least 50% of the lid) and hot-glue some vinyl mesh after the opening.
Optionally, you can use some strong adhesive tape too. This prevents the humidity from increasing beyond the room’s usual humidity.
The Red runner cockroach loves to stand and hide in places in its cage. You can use cardboard crate flats to provide surface area per square inch.
You may also be able to get egg crate flats from a local store or farm stores like Amazon or Walmart.
Part of the red runner roach care include stacking the crates vertically so their poop falls to the bottom of the housing.
Ensure the cover is tight and that the egg crate does not extend so close to the top of the enclosure that your roaches are able to crawl out, a good inch from top edge to top crate is best.
Heat And Humidity
Yes, the Red runner roaches can thrive in room temperatures of 60-70 F, they need an ambient temperature of 80 F to successfully breed, and perform best with as little humidity as possible.
If your home typically reaches the needed temperature, there is no need for an extra heat source. If heat is required, it can be best provided by using a Ceramic Heat Emitter, a coated heat cable, or a Heat Mat.
The ceramic heat emitter should be carefully installed at the top of the enclosure to shade down heatl the UTH too can be attached to the bottom or side of the enclosure.
If the UTH is to be placed on the outside bottom of the enclosure, ensure you raise the tank or tub heat at least 1/4” to vent the heat if it surpasses 10watts.
The use of a lamp dimmer or thermostat can help control the temperature of the Heat Mat and to stop your Heat Mat from getting too hot and melting your plastic housing.
The warm temperatures and use of water crystals as a source of water can increase the humidity levels (even fruits too).
Remember again, at least 50% of their lid should be open, covered with a screen or vent. Red runner roaches for sale do not need any form of bedding or substrate at the bottom of their cage, as the frass builds up the Red Runner roach will dig and hide in the layer that develops.
You will want to remove as much of the frass over time as possible as it reduces any smells that build up as well as dust particles In the air.
Food and Water
Healthy meals with sufficient hydration result in healthy Red Runner roaches. Your red runner bugs offer a large array of great nutrition to the animals that feed on them.
Red runner roaches too can feed on a range of dry fruit, plant-based food or grain including powdered grains, Roach chow, commercially available insect gutload, and a range of veggies and fruits, potato, broccoli stalks, apple cores, especially orange ones which contain carotenoids (NOTE that do not gut load citrus for feeding some lizard species as this can be harmful to them).
Ensure you take away vegetables before they become moldy. Mold is dangerous to roaches out there. Do not feed high in protein such as cat or dog food and meat, since Red Runner roaches convert excess protein into uric acid that can harm the reptiles that eat them. 14-16% Protein is ideal for Red Runner roaches.
Red Runner Roaches droppings are also known as “frass”. The cage should be cleaned every 4-6 weeks to reduce buildup of frass and shed exo-skeletons; this too can be extended with the purchase of cleaning crew beetles at times known as Dermestid (taxidermy) or buffalo beetles.
It is better to have an additional enclosure and a couple of 5 gallon buckets while cleaning. You can transfer the egg crate flats with the Red Runner roaches and the water and food dishes (that may contain roaches as well) to the additional container.
Then you will begin the process of removing the frass and not roaches!
Sifting Frass Red Runners
Red runners do not like to burrow if a hiding place is easily accessible by them. You should remove all feeding dishes. As the cockroaches experience their molting and burrow, they will leave behind a lot of small exoskeletons, as you remove the egg cartons, use a 5-gallon bucket to knock them out of their hiding spots into the bucket.
The Red runner roaches life cycle makes them more soft bodied than other roaches but they will not be harmed through the shaking process.
To double check, we recommend ensuring the egg-cartons are empty, then slowly place one back into the tub, shake the tub and let all of the frass you move to one side of the tub, exercise care to not tip too many cockroaches that they begin to see something to grab to walk/climb on.
Next, shake the tub a couple of times and place it down gently. Most of the cockroaches will run towards the egg-carton allowing you to gently place them in a 5-galoon bucket.
You can try and shake the Tub back a bit back and forth to see if you see any nymphs running around or if you want to get very detailed any egg sacks that are not stuck to the eggcartons. Pour the frass in to another bucket or bin either throw it in a trash bag or compost for rich fertilizer.
Materials Recommended for Red Runner Roach Care
Additional tub that comes handy when cleaning
You should get egg crate flats
Shallow plastic cups or bowls with an opening
Glass Aquarium or plastic tote / tub (at least 18-30 Gallon) (for smaller temporary feeder holding small plastic insect cages with ventilation slits.)
Ventilated Enclosure cover (vinyl mesh and hot glue gun needed if converting a plastic tub cover)
Water crystals (never use with unprocessed)
Red Runner Roaches Escape – What Can I Do?
Well, Red runners are unable to infest your home unless you’re in the tropics. They cannot climb either.
You should open enclosures and bins like most rodent cages with substrate as these can retain moisture and will probably make the go-to breeding spots for red runners, they won’t actually be breeding in your actual home, just in your other enclosure, and they’ll primarily be able to come and go. So, it will basically appear like you have a red runner roach infestation in your hands but I assure you – You don’t!
Buy glueboards. You can use them to catch escapees. You should fold them into a box and place them against the wall out of the way.
Red Runner Roaches For Bearded Dragons – Is It safe?
Yes! Your bearded dragons can feed on red runner roaches. They are soft, cannot climb, do not smell like crickets and do not release a defensive smell.
To start with, you can purchase a starter colony of Turkistan Red Runner Roaches.
You will notice that red runner roaches for sale are similar to cricket nutritionally, except that they are very high in vitamin B-12. They also have a high meat-to-shell ration so they are very safe and healthy for your dragon.
Lastly, they are quite fast and will let your beardie enjoy a thrilling chase before feeding.