Woodies breeding and care

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Khronoz

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Switching to woodies coz crickets are starting to become expensive for me. Decided to breed them to because thats what APS recommended me to do. Just wondering what the breeding process is like, how many i should cull for 2 beardies to sustain a colony and how to tell what gender they are. Got a heat mat coming tomorrow in the mail as well. Any tips are welcome!!


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Khronoz

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Aha yes i have seen a pic of that on here but unfortunately i dont have the balls to do it coz i fear that if theres a crack at the bottom itll turn my house into a woodie colony lmao


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Flaviemys purvisi

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Aha yes i have seen a pic of that on here but unfortunately i dont have the balls to do it coz i fear that if theres a crack at the bottom itll turn my house into a woodie colony lmao


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You don't have it inside your house... lol mine is out in the back corner of the yard by the shed.
 

Khronoz

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I already got em in huge tub and stored them in the closet. How can ya tell which ones are males and females?


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Sdaji

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The females are the one's with the egg sacks hanging out of their back end.

They only have the eggs hanging out the back when they are stressed or there is a problem and they are aborting the attempt to reproduce. Those eggs die. When everything goes normally the eggs hatch as they leave the female's body so you won't actually see more than one or maybe 2-3 eggs at a time because they're hatching as quickly as they're coming out of the mother.

Generally a female won't have visible eggs of course, but you can sex them from the last instar in males and the last 2 instars in females (an instar is a stage between moults. They hatch at instar 1, moult into instar 2 and so on). They are basically impossible to sex until they are close to full size, then in one instar the males become adult males with wings and two pairs of organs at the hind end which look like small spikes or appendages. One pair is called the anal cerci, the other is called the styles/styli. Males have both. In the instar in which males become adults, female remain looking like the young woodies, except that they now lack one pair of those organs, they have the cerci but no style. These looks the same as the brown, wingless nymphs, but are about the size of the adult males. They then go through one extra instar and end up looking similar to the males except that they are larger, heavier/broader, and if you look closely, you can see they lack the pair of styles. You can generally tell at a glance because the males are smaller and more slender, but if you want to be sure you can take the close inspection.

Generally there's not much reason to sex them, unless you are super concerned about using your colony efficiently and feeding off males in preference, but you can only sex the larger ones anyway. If you want to breed them you'll want to start with at least a few dozen pairs, so just grab a pile and you'll have about half males and half females.

I just used to keep mine in a warm area of the herp room or anywhere when I've lived in warm climates. If you live in a warm enough climate you could keep them outdoors but I'd be concerned about various pathogens and parasites getting into them which can harm the herps which eat them. They don't need much space or make much noise or anything, so I've been happy to have them in the herp room. They're extremely easy and low maintenance and quite productive if you keep them warm (around 26-32 degrees). Too cool and they slow right down. Make sure they have plenty of ventilation but don't get too dry.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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Not sure about that John.... many a time I have collected those females with the eggs hanging out the back for the purpose of feeding week old hatching turtles.... give the females a pinch on the head with feeding tongs and she'll push those eggs out and within minutes tens of tiny white woodies emerge running around which are the perfect food for week old ELN hatchies. Those eggs certainly do not die.
 

Sdaji

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Not sure about that John.... many a time I have collected those females with the eggs hanging out the back for the purpose of feeding week old hatching turtles.... give the females a pinch on the head with feeding tongs and she'll push those eggs out and within minutes tens of tiny white woodies emerge running around which are the perfect food for week old ELN hatchies. Those eggs certainly do not die.

If you squeeze them out when they're just about ready to hatch you might get lucky, and sure, if you squeeze one and eggs come out it's a female even if the eggs die, but if you watch a female 'giving birth' under normal conditions you'll see the eggs hatching as they leave the mother. If you just open the tub and see them with the eggs hanging out it indicates they're stressed, and generally those eggs aren't going to be turning into baby cockroaches. Some other species do carry an ootheca around, but woodies, Nauphoeta cinerea clearly aren't such a species, because species which naturally do have eggs designed to survive outside the body have a hard case and woodies have eggs which dry out within minutes when exposed to air of normal humidy like what you and I are breathing right now. They have no protective covering at all, they're soft to the touch.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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Who knows, I know They breed like crazy barely slowing down throughout winter.. this particular colony has been going strong since 2012 and the egg sacks are always poking out and if I grab those particular females, the babies emerge almost immediately. Comes in handy when I'm switching baby turtles from live mosquito larvae to live insects.
 
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