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Choosing the proper ventilation solution for your feeder Discoid roach bin is a surprisingly complex task. There are many options, and you are likely to choose the wrong solution at least once. In today’s post I will discuss some of the options that we here at Wholesale Roaches have tried, what has worked, what didn’t work, and finally what are my thoughts on each ventilation solutions.

First, let us establish the purpose of a ventilation solution. In my mind there are four main objectives you are attempting to achieve: Containment, Moisture, Defense and Air Movement.

  • Containment: This is the number one thing on any new enthusiast’s mind; however, it is the least import factor when choosing the proper ventilation solution. Your bin selection will be far more important for containment than lids, screens, and vents.
  • Moisture: Maintaining the proper humidity level inside of your Discoid feeder bin is a very important aspect of Cockroach care. Too low or too high will result in under production, mold growth, bad molts, and large die offs. The general health and appearance of your roaches will also suffer.
  • Defense: Keeping predators and bugs out of your bugs is the second highest priority for your ventilation system. You should have other measures in place to keep your roaches safe, but your final line of defense is your lid, screen, and vents.
  • Air Movement: Having well circulated fresh air is vital to the success of your roach bin. Having poor air circulation leads to stagnant dirty air and all the pitfalls of too high or too low of moisture.

Now we know what we want to do, but how? There is a near infinite number of creative solutions to achieve these goals. What you use will come down to availability and results but the commonly used methods are Holes, Vents, Open Air, and Screens.

  • Holes: The simplest method is to pierce the lid and/or sides of your feeder or breeder roach bin using a drill, heated implement, or something sharp combined with brute force. How big and how many will be a game of trial and error. Start with few and continue adding more every couple of weeks until you achieve your desired results. The bigger the hole the fewer holes you will need and of course the inverse is true as well. Keep in mind that you can always make a hole bigger, but it is difficult to affectively shrink a hole. There are some major drawbacks to this method. First being that it is permanent. Once you make the hole it is there. Sure, you can tape over it but that will be unsightly and, more annoyingly, the tape will fall off constantly. Your best option if this occurs is to use aquarium safe silicone, or some good ole hot glue, to seal the hole. You will also not achieve defense since any sized hole using this method will allow just about any bug out there to enter your feeder discoid roach bin. Containment will also not be achieved. If you make your holes too low or if you choose the wrong bin to use for your discoid nymphs, particularly newborns and cleaner bugs, will walk right out a hole as small as 1/8 inch.If you have a need for a quick or temporary setup, a simple Discoid feeder roach bin setup, or a personal Discoid breeder roach bin this is a viable option. If you are wanting to breed volume, I would not use this as my ventilation solution.
  • Vents: A very popular choice, especially when stacking bins, is vents. They come in a wide range of designs and styles made mostly out of aluminum or plastic. There are freely available STL files for those of you that can 3d print. Vents follow the same parameters as holes, but they are a viable option for volume breeding. If you are purchasing from a vendor, I would look for one of the kits that comes with a mesh filter to keep smaller bugs out. It is best to use vents on the sides of your roach bin as they tend to pop out easily when placed in the lid due to the constant flexing. I found it difficult to maintain proper airflow when I tested vents which led to high moisture problems. I do not think my experience is the norm though and it may be worth a go if you stack your bins or if you are having problems with retaining moisture.
  • Open Air: leaving your bin completely open without a lid or other barrier is another option. Wholesale Roaches uses this method on the majority of our Discoid feeder roach bins. This open-air method is a bit more advanced and will require you to be more attentive to your roach bins than any other method. The only inherent benefits of an open-air bin is air flow and accessibility. Without any form of barrier, you allow for moisture to escape rapidly, containment is achieved only by bin selection and finally you have no defense against infesting pests and predators. However, if you are dealing with large volume breeding or feeding where you are frequently in and out of bins or rehousing this is the most efficient method in my opinion.
  • Screens: The de facto choice for any roach bin is a screen and with good reason; screens meet all the criteria we outlined with the only drawback being how to adhere your screen to your bin or lid. This is a major drawback though. If your screen comes loose, it will provide the perfect vector for your roaches to escape or an invasion to begin. You also must choose the proper screen which we discussed in the following video:

https://youtu.be/wXzebfFTxXgAs you can see, there are many solutions available to you and these are just the most common. It takes time, frustration, trial and error to find the right solution for you, but it is worth the effort. A well-ventilated secure roach bin makes everyone a whole lot happier.
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