Bioactive / naturalistic roach bins


Well-Known Member
Thought I'd share one of my recent projects--converting my roach bins to bioactive. Because happy bugs make happy geckos? Or probably because I've just fallen in love with naturalistic habitats recently.

Blaptica dubia colony first. Drainage layer about 1.5-2 inches of NEHerp LDL with a screen separator.

Substrate was a mixture of NEHerps vivarium substrate V.2 mixed with lesser amounts of organic potting soil and Eco Earth. I embedded several small cork tubes and pieces in the bottom layer.

Added custodians (mostly lesser mealworms/beetles at this point, although I had a few springtails and dwarf white isopods leftover from my crested gecko vivarium project) and live oak leaf litter.

Laid some larger cork flats on top to provide cover.

Water, sprinkle with some MS2 insect chow, and add a slice of squash, and we're ready to go.

Pretty much the exact same process for the Blatta lateralis, so I'll just post the pictures. Only difference is that the substrate is pure NEHerp (no added potting soil or Eco Earth).

I feed both colonies the same, including fresh vegetables and greens leftover from my skink food (usually yellow/orange squashes and greens like mustard, turnip, escarole, or dandelion), MS2 premium insect chow, and Repashy HydroLoad gel for extra hydration. In their previous bin setup with bare floor and egg crates, I added lesser mealworms and mealworms to help out with the cleaning. Now, with the moister substrate, I am going to add some more springtail and isopod varieties to fight mold and gnats. My dream is that these bins act as sources of food and custodians.


Well-Known Member
I wanted to post an update. This same bin is still going strong two years later. This week, I got in some more leaf litter and organic substrate and mixed in to refresh the soil (because they like to eat up all the leaves and such). I also wanted to try a different cleaner population, so I ordered some additional cleaners from Ready Reptile Feeders, adding in dermestid beetles/larva.

Finally, little Kenyan roaches (Blaberidae sp. "Kenya") have been added to the population. I'm hoping they'll get a foothold and give me some tinier feeders for juveniles next year.



I ate all your bees
This is so cool, what happy little bugs! :D

I'd love to do similar with my dubia bin but I don't have as many resources, mostly I don't have springtails, do you think this dubia set up would be worthwhile?

Heating: UTH.
Substrate: Organic potting soil with some eco earth mixed in, hazelnut and Japanese maple leaf litter, ocean driftwood.
Bugs: Dubia roaches with a mealworm cleaner crew.

I think my dubias ate the bin of eco earth I gave them in the past so there wouldn't be as much of that, also have no idea how aggressive mealworms are around baby dubias..


Well-Known Member
Mealworms don't make great cleaners, I've found. I have a few here and there in my bins, but the heavy cleanup is done by white dwarf isopods, springtails, and buffalo beetles (lesser mealworms grown up). You could probably get springtails by collecting leaf litter and decaying organic matter from an area away from major roads or sources of pollution, as well as local isopods.


Well-Known Member
Very happy with how this bin is going. My only problem is keeping it stocked with leaf litter! The Little Kenyan roaches are turning out to make great companions to the dubias.


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