After you have had your colony or individual roaches for a while, you may begin to notice tiny light-colored creatures crawling on the cockroaches. Similar to dogs getting fleas, the Madagascar hissing cockroaches sometimes carries mites. These mites only live on the roaches and will not harm them or live on humans. Often their presence indicates a problem with sanitation within the cage. Leaving food or dead insects in the living environment can attract these mites and provide a medium for their survival.

Mites can be removed by gently shaking the roach in a plastic bag with a small amount of flour added. The mites fall off the cockroach and into the powder. Remove the cockroach, then tie up and discard the bag. Gently spray the excess flour off the roach with plain water from a plant mister or wash bottle.

Mites may also be removed by brushing the roach with a small paintbrush. Repeat the treatment if mites reappear. Do not attempt to use a miticide to kill the mites, since this will also kill your pet.

When handling the Madagascar hissing cockroach, pick up the insect very gently around the thorax (the hard section behind the head with the bumps). Be careful not to jerk the insect, since the feet have sticky pads and hooks that grip tightly. If you pull too hard, you may injure the insect.

Do not attempt to hold the roach down with your hand. The sharp spines on the legs can be used as a defensive mechanism and can draw blood. Just let your pet roam about freely from one hand to another.

The Madagascar hissing cockroach will not bite and is not extremely fragile; however, always be as gentle as possible.

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