Do Dubia Roaches Smell? Dealing With Bad Smell Of A Colony

Do Dubia Roaches Smell?

The smell of Dubia roaches is a valid concern for reptile owners who are exploring insect feeder options. The comparison of how bad or strong the smell of any species of insect for feed is as important as the nutritional value it holds.

This article answers the question and gives reasons why Dubia roaches smell.

We will discuss the smell of Dubia roaches, things that cause the bad smell of a colony, and how to deal with it.

Dubia Roaches

Better known by its scientific name Blaptica dubia, Dubia roaches are the biological source of protein for many insect feeders like beardies. Reptile owners love these roaches because of their high nutritional value and impressive reproduction rate.

Dubia roaches are native to Central and South America. Unlike several other roaches, these amazing insect feeders withstand lower humidity. Although they have wings, they do not fly. The best they can do with their wings is guide themselves to land safely when they fall.

They feed on fruits and grains. They have a specific interest in sweet-tasting vegetables like carrots and numerous other tropical fruits such as mango, apples, pears, etc.

Regardless of their impressive body structures, Dubia roaches cannot climb smooth surfaces that are vertical, especially glass.

Do Dubia Roaches Smell?

There is some misunderstanding about Dubia roaches having an odor. Many sites claim that they do not smell. They mean to say that Dubia roaches do not smell compared to other feeder insect colonies. So if the statement is accurate, it makes the point that they do not smell compared to other roaches of the same size.

Usually, Dubia roaches have an odor. But the good news is that the smell is mild. In many instances, you would have to open the bin of a properly managed colony and stick your nose in it to catch the smell. Other than that, the smell would hardly go beyond the bin when you cover the lid.

Humidity and Bad Smell in the Colony

Humidity and Bad Smell in the Colony

Dubia roaches need moisture to stay hydrated. Humidity is one effective way to keep them hydrated. But excess humidity levels can cause your colony to smell bad.

Humidity, in simple terms, is the amount of moisture in the air. Humidity is high when there is a lot of water in the air. It is low when the amount of water or moisture in the air is very little.

Dubia roaches thrive in a humidity range between 40% and 65%. Anything less than 40% humidity is too low for your colony. Although they may thrive for a short while, their reproduction rate will drop. 

While a high humidity level, which is anything in the range of 65%-80% humidity, is workable, excess humidity will present many problems, including a bad smell. Excess humidity is humidity levels greater than 80%. 

When the humidity is too high, in combination with darkness, frass (Dubia roach poop), and a high temperature, your colony will develop a bad smell. This is because the combination will cause the development of mold and bacterial growth in the colony. The result will be a smelly colony full of many dead Dubia roaches. It will not be conducive to breeding and pose health risks to the roaches and the owner. 

So it would be best to maintain a safe humidity level. If you live in a dry climate, you may moisten the air in the colony to raise the level higher, but it would be best if you never go beyond 80%.

There are several ways to increase humidity. They include:

  • Misting the colony with a water spray can
  • Placing a large water bowl close to a heat source
  • Using a humidifier

Whichever method you use, ensure that you watch the humidity level closely to ensure that it does not become too much. This will help prevent bad smells from the colony.

Dealing With Bad Smell of A Colony

Dealing With Bad Smell of A Colony

Although Dubia roaches “do not smell” in comparison to other roach species, sometimes, you may encounter a bad smell from a bin with a colony. How do you deal with it? Below are some reasons for the bad smell and how you can handle the situation.

When You Have a Breeder Bin

The smell in your breeder bin may be harder to deal with. This is logical because you have more roaches in there. They feed on the food matter and use up the air in the bin. But even at that, the smell is not as bad as in other serious instances.

But Dubia roach keepers sort out the nymphs from the adults to keep the population low and the colony spacious for more aeration. This helps lessen the smell. It would be best to do so if you deal with a bad smell from your Dubia roach colony.

A Dirty Colony Bin

If you do not keep to a cleaning routine, you will encounter bad smells from the colony. This smell could result from the leftover food matter in the bin. 

Also, letting your greens fall into the water crystal section could have your entire setup smelling bad and moldy. It would be best not to put your vegetables in the crystal water section.

In addition, dead adult Dubia roaches could cause your colony bins to smell. To lessen the smell, you have to commit yourself to a cleaning schedule. After feeding them, it would be best to take out leftover food. 

It would also help to take out the dead adult Dubia roaches. Some people do a thorough cleaning once every two months, while others do it twice a week or less. The frequency will depend on the size of your colony.

Many other Dubia roach keepers like to clean frequently for a specific purpose. They pick out dead adult Dubia every fortnight and separate the nymphs from the adults every month while doing a little cleaning. They replace the crates every month to lessen the smells.

Poor Ventilation

Poor ventilation is another probable reason you encounter a bad smell from your Dubia roach colony. A poorly ventilated tank will have dead roaches that would smell in addition to the leftover deteriorated food that gives out bad smells faster because of the poor aeration. 

Poor ventilation will reduce the amount of oxygen in the tank. That could have dire consequences. It could lead to an increase in the death rate.

Many new hobbyists make the mistake of putting a lid with an insufficient number of holes over the tank. It would be best to cut a hole in the tube and glue a mesh over it to increase ventilation. 

Bad Shipment Schedule

Sometimes when Dubia roaches are ordered, a bad shipment schedule may be the reason for the dead roaches. When the colony arrives, the Dubia roaches may be collected while still alive, but over the week, you will find that many have died. The rotten roaches are the cause of the bad smell.

A thorough cleaning should reduce the smell. Also, when you order a shipment of Dubia roaches, it would be best to pay more than usual attention to their health until they become stable in their new environment. 

This will help you pick out the dead roaches in time to prevent contamination of your colony bin and the bad smell of a colony.

Choice of Food

Choice of food also may cause a bad smell in the colony. It would be best to give them semisweet vegetables and take leftovers out in time before they rot and give your bin a bad smell. 

Fruits are a great choice, too, because they keep the humidity up. They make a great alternative to water crystals. Fruits and vegetables you can feed your Dubia roaches with include the following:

  • Apples
  • Orange
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Squash
  • Broccoli stalks

But remember to wash your fruit well. At least wash them twice before feeding them to your Dubia roaches.

Dry feed choices are also great to reduce the chances of a bad smell. Examples of great choices include:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Cereal grains
  • Oats and other dry food choices.

Be careful enough to check the nutritional value of the food so that you do not end up feeding more protein to your Dubia roaches. Dubia roaches are high-protein insects. They usually store protein when it is abundant in the form of uric acid for times when it would be scarce. This survival trait was their evolutionary way of dealing with protein scarcity. 

But the point is that excess uric acid can be harmful even though it is an antioxidant and a result of protein digestion. So feeding your Dubia roaches more protein could pose a health risk that would lead to dead roaches and a smelly colony.


It is accurate to say that Dubia roaches do not smell if you compare them to other roach species. But to say Dubia roaches do not smell at all would be inaccurate. 

However, these possible reasons for the smell give a practical understanding of how best to lessen it. With these tips, you are sure to reduce the smell to the barest minimum.