i-m-snek asked:

Where would I get a cleaner crew for my roaches?

Hi! I have Dermestidae beetles and lesser mealworms (Alphitobius diaperinus) for mine.  

I really love Bugs in Cyberspace as a company and they have Dermestes ater – when they’re in stock. Many roach breeders sell individual species, or sell “cleaner crew combos” that include a variety of species. Roach Crossing sells Dermestes maculatus and lesser mealworms. You may have to be more careful with your choice of cleaner crew with egg-laying species of roaches, but with Dubia roaches, most common cleaner crews are safe.

Dermestid beetles are the same beetles that museums use to clean skeletons (”taxidermy beetles”), so you can get them all sorts of places. Dermestids eat dead roaches (their purpose is to clean this up), and they need fresh dead roaches to survive. (That’s where they lay their eggs, as well.) If you don’t have a large bin in which a roach a week is going to die of natural causes, you may have to supplement their diet with “fresh meat”. They also don’t eat vegetable matter, so they need a water source that’s non-vegetable (sponge, paper towels, water crystals, etc.).

Lesser mealworms will eat up extra roach food that’s scattered about. They don’t need any extra care. The only issue is that they do multiply very quickly and may have to have their population limited. They eat mostly undigested frass and vegetable matter, and will eat grain or poultry food (typical roach diets). So they work well in combination with dermestids. 

Some people also add springtails and tropical isopods. Springtails eat mold and certain species of isopods eat dead roaches and leftover food.  It depends on which species of roach you’re breeding and how big your colonies are.