Roach Articles by Takeshi Yamada, Brooklyn, NY


First of all, Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroaches (Gromphadorhina portentosa or better known as Hissers) are some of (pet) insects that require very little baby-sitting to breed. They do not require the “Hand pairing” or “Manual Pairing” that are recommended to breed KUWAGATAMUSHI (Japanese stag beetle) and KABUTOMUSHI (Japanese Giant Warrior Helmet Beetle); there are several Japanese websites with photographs to do it step by step for these giant beetles.

To breed Hissers, you need following (minimum) conditions.

1. At least two adult males and two adult females. Needless to say, they must be healthy and active.

2. Right temperature. They like 80 – 90F. Many breeders consider that 88F is the best temperature for breeding.

3. Right humidity: 80 – 99%. Keep the lid cover most of the top. Some breeders cover the top completely without causing Hissers any (breathing) problems. High humidity also helps Hissers molt easily. MAKE SURE THE FLOOR IS DRY TO PREVENT MITES INFESTATION. (Also clean the substrate periodically to prevent possible mites infestation.)

4. Right lighting: No lighting is needed. They like their tank in dark all the time.

5. Enough foods: To prevent them from eating their cage mates during the molt or eating newly born babies, give Hissers high protein ground dry dog/cat foods mixed with calcium powder. Giving fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples once a week are just a treat for them – it is not necessary according to many professional breeders. Make sure to leave extra foods all the time – they eat all the time. Also place a wet sponge with water.

6. Enough floor space: Place several rolled toilet paper cores and/or egg cases in the tank when you have more than 10 Hissers to increase the floor space. THE SIZE OF THE FLOOR SPACE IS ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT FOR BREEDING.

Hisser males are very territorial, and fight to protect their territories. One adult male defends his territory around several adult females. He courts and mates within this territory. Other adult males are not allowed in. Only females and nymphs are allowed to enter and leave as they wish.

An adult female Hisser loves an adult male Hisser with a territory. She considers him as worthy for having babies with. She does not like “Satellites” that is still waiting for a chance to take over the territory outside of the dominant male Hisser. Moreover, she nearly ignores a “Non-fighter” or “Subordinate” adult male without any territory. She can tell to which category a male belongs.

In short, more floor space means more territories, and more territory means more courtship that produce more breeding.

The courtship/pairing begins with the adult male and female stroking/feeling/smelling/caressing each antenna. (They do not perform “wing raising” mating dance like other tropical roaches because Hissers do not have wings.) Then they start stroking each other’s bodies. A subdued/subtle hissing are exchanged during the time. Once attached to each other, the couple stretch-out so that they now face each other opposite directions. They may remain in this position for about half an hour. DO NOT DISTURB DURING THE COURTSHIP/PAIRING! The courtship/Pairing takes place all year long unlike KUWAGATAMUSHI and KABUTOMUSHI.

PS. I wrote several articles including the one entitled “Prepare very well for the mother to have healthy babies in safe environment” in this "roach forum" before. You might want to check it out.

I am also working on "SUPER HISSER" PROJECT – Giving Hissers a juvenile hormone mimics to produce extra molts to grow them super big size. I submitted several articles on the subject matter to this roach forum as well. Needless to say, the SUPER HISSERS do not breed at all because of the hormone treatment to them.

Good luck to you and your pet insects!
(c) Takeshi Yamada 2002


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