Infesting in his future

North Penn High School junior Noah Benjamin carries on his lucrative business raising millions of roaches.


photo submitted by Noah Benjamin

BUGGIN’ OUT – Benjamin layers egg trays inside of tanks, something he believes to be their favorite hiding spot.

It can be said that every great idea stems from an even greater problem. For Noah Benjamin, it was the issue of feeding hermaphroditic bearded dragons that led him to a fortune in roach-dom. Now capping off a year of sales under his fledgling company, “Benny Boy’s Bugs,” Benjamin reflected upon what led up to culturing crawlies.

“In practice, there wasn’t any alternative. I used to have my beardies and I’d go off and buy roaches, which added up and got pretty expensive. It all came down to raising my own becoming the best option, if you think about it. From there, it became much more than just a side project and more into a business plan.”

Benjamin’s “Dubia roaches” (Blaptica dubia) are a species of medium-sized roach that have become synonymous with the exotic animal hobby for their tolerance and nutritional offerings. Colonies can be extremely tolerant to a variety of conditions, which makes them viable as a long-term contained feeder animal. Seeing these details together, Benjamin teamed up with his older brother and nurtured the opportunity.

“We started putting roaches into one bin, and we noticed how much [the colonies] grew, we had to expand. So we said ‘alright, I guess we’ll make another.’ One more turned into another, and another, so we kept building colonies as fast as we could,” Benjamin explained.

What was his parents’ basement transformed into a dedicated roach workspace, cementing the project as a full-time responsibility.

A wingless female (top) with an ootheca, an egg sac packed full of nymphs. The male (bottom) sports wings but cannot fly.
THE MIRACLE OF “BIRTH?” – A wingless female (top) with an ootheca, an egg sac packed full of nymphs. The male (bottom) sports wings but cannot fly. (Photo submitted by Noah Benjamin)

“The whole management issue really became obvious as time went on. You cannot take your eye off the ball. Missing a single detail can cost sums way larger than I could bear losing, so that gave me a giant sense of responsibility in keeping everything under control,” Benjamin continued.

He listed and described all of his responsibilities on the frontlines of the operation; feeding out a special medley of vitamins, monitoring humidity and roach movements, keeping the bins tidy from mold, and getting them cozy and warm are all day-to-day chores Benjamin supports and evaluates to ensure his stock’s health.

On the marketing side of the project, Benjamin attributes their growth to his older brother’s work creating an outlet to put their business into the ring. Their products are a top result on Amazon when searching for “dubia roaches,” and they also host the website where they sell culturing supplies.

“Last year was when we started on Amazon, and we did really well, but we want to dial it back a bit this year and look at sustaining this in the long haul. Doing a lot more experimentation and seeing what’s good for us and the roaches,” Benjamin said.

The exposure Benjamin has gained from rearing roaches, he explains, has changed his understanding of the creatures completely.

“Tons of people see these animals as trash, you know? They see them and think, ‘they could live in my walls, they’re so disgusting,’ but it isn’t like that at all. They have habits and lifestyles that are lost by people just not wanting to understand.”

Opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed exist everywhere, and Benjamin just so happened to find his crawling on six legs.