Blatta (Shelfordella) lateralis Care


This page is for the one of the most prolific cockroach feeders, Blatta (Shelfordella) lateralis, the Turkistan Cockroach, Rusty Red, Red Racer, Lats, etc. Lats are a small (0.75"-1") species of common feeder cockroach. This species makes a fantastic feeder and is a very fast breeding (Ootheca laying) cockroach with a fast growth rate. This species is sexually dimorphic, females are red in color and lack wings, males are more orange and have wings. When feeding off adults of this species you should first choose the adult males. It's best to keep a 5:1 female/male ratio or less because males are prone to fighting which can disturb the colony. 


Species Specific Care: B. lateralis
Blatta lateralis is a very easy cockroach to care for and is rather forgiving with husbandry mistakes. The eggcases do require slightly more humidity to hatch but once hatched they can live under average household humidity. These cockroaches can neither climb but males are known to fly. Because of this they do not require a barrier but do require a screen lid. They can infest your home if you live in the Southern United States. These are from tropical and dryer areas of Asia and the Middle East and rarely breed below 68ºF. 

Checklist of items to have ready before your cockroaches arrive: Lats
1.) Plastic Rubbermaid style bin with a window cut out (glue in window screen).  If you want to show these wonderful animals off, a glass tank 10-20 gallons in size that has a built-in screen lid. I personally use a 10 gallon glass tank for mine, I keep a substrate and plastic hides in the container. My colony ranges from 100-5,000 or so because of how I feed them off. If you want more roaches do not feed adults and keep those ootheca hatching! You can house these guys without a substrate with eggflats, and substrate with cork bark. Both work well but the eggflat allows for more hides and better breeding. 
2.) Eggflats are ideal for productivity with this species as the enclosure is not very humid and do not mold quickly. I recommend the use of corkbark regardless because it doesn't get soggy or mold and makes for great decoration. These animals prefer it hot and lightly humid, 75ºF-90ºF and 65%+ humidity. Regardless they still do well at room level humidity with moderate weekly mistings.
3.) Substrate is not needed with this species if enough hides are provided. But, I always recommend substrate for moisture control and odor reduction. In a show tank a substrate is a must. What natural setting doesn't have dirt or leaves? You can include fake plants as well but be aware that roaches will eat live plants and they could be toxic to them. 
4.) A food dish. Keeping food in a dish helps to reduce mold and you can avoid misting the food by simply pulling out the bowl when you do so. 
5.) A water dish, remember roaches need moisture in either their diet or as a straight water source. You can use water gel or a shallow bowl filled with water and pebbles to keep the roaches from drowning.

Nutrition: 
B. lateralis will eat an average amount compared to other similarly sized cockroaches. You should always keep a protein supply (dog food works well) and a moisture supply (oranges, water gel, water) at hand in their enclosures. Remove food immediately once it starts to mold or rot.


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