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Madagascan Giant Hissing Roaches

Feed your Madagascan roach dry dog, cat, or rodent food supplemented with pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables. Good fruits and vegetables for these insects include orange slices, banana peels, carrots, apple, grape, sweet potato peelings, potato slices, etc. Use small pieces (1 inch square or less) and feed moist food sparingly, since high concentrations of fermentation gases are harmful. Remove moldy food regularly. Provide water with a damp sponge in a small cup or dish.

When handling a Madagascan roach, pick up the insect very gently around the thorax (the hard section behind the small head). Be careful not to jerk, since the feet have sticky pads and hooks that grip tightly (Fig. 3). If you pull too hard, you may injure the insect. Let the roach crawl from your hand to another person's hand. It will not move very quickly, and it will not bite. These insects are not fragile, but you should always be gentle with them.

It is fairly common to see tiny light-colored creatures, called mites, crawling on your roach. Just as dogs get fleas, Madagascan roaches sometimes carry mites. These mites only live on the roaches, and will not harm or live on humans. Mites can be removed by gently shaking the roach in a plastic bag with a small amount of flour (the "shake and bake" method). The mites fall off the roach into the flour. Tie off and discard the bag, and gently spray the excess flour off the roach with plain water from a plant mister or wash bottle. Mites may also be removed with a small paintbrush. Repeat the treatment if mites reappear. There is another kind of small mite that occasionally infests food; it can be controlled by discarding old food and changing litter.

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