Raising Crickets
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female cricket

Crickets, among the feeders, are the most widely used and available to the market. Either buying them at the pet store, or ordering them online is an extra step that many are willing to avoid. Raising crickets, not only cut down the expenses, but is also an entertaining process that would keep you wife busy while running around the house trying to catch some fugitives! Any herp enthusiast soon or later will face the need to raise his/her own supply of crickets.

Crickets, as anyone could imagine, are quite good in jumping, therefore a suitable container should not omit a good vented lid. Ventilation is the key to obtain healthy crickets, not only will reduce the possibility to develop mold in the container but also mites wont find the ideal habitat to multiply. The downside of raising crickets is the smell, few hundreds can be acceptable, but when keeping 1000s their distinct odor wont take long before is gonna take a visit around the house. The best choice is to keep the container with our bugs either in the garage or the basement, nothing is better then an outside tool house.

But lets see what we need to start a small colony:

raising crickets, materials

• Crickets, about 50-100
• A 10 gallons plastic container with lid, like shown in the picture
• One shallow plastic container
• Coconut fibers
• Metal mesh and scissors
• Hot glue gun and a cutter

First thing first is to prepare the container, actually the lid, with the help of a small dish or any rounded object about 4 inches wide, lets draw a circle on the plastic lid, use the cutter to cut this circle out, just be careful while using sharp tools. Now we use this extra piece of plastic as a guide to cut the screen mesh, leave and extra half an inch from the edge otherwise we would not be able to glue the mesh to the lid.
In the meantime we turned on our glue gun, lets flip over the lid, squeeze a drop of hot glue on the inner edge of the hole and place in position the screen mesh, at the same time we keep gluing the mesh all around the circle, when the glue turns cold the lid is ready.

To improve aeration we could make two holes on the lid, I prefer this method instead of cutting a big squared hole, during cleanings often I stack more container one on top of each other, if the lid had a hole that covers 80% of its surface it might decrease the stability of the stack, but this is relative to the quality and type of plastic container used.

Now the box is ready to house our crickets, some people add a bedding, like wheat bran or oat meal, I’d rather have no bedding, egg-flats as shelter, a dish with a mix of dry food and another dish for fresh veggies, this is all they need. We introduce the small plastic container with the coconut fiber when adults crickets are presents. Coconut fibers are sold as a compressed brick-like dry fibers, adding water will expand each brick up to 2 gallons, keep that in mind when preparing the bedding for the small container, just take a piece of dry fiber and soak it directly in the container with some water, as expand add more water if necessary, the fiber should be moist not completely wet.


female cricket

Females laying eggs

Adult females will lay eggs in the damp fibers using their long
ovipositorWikipedia as in the picture. Egg look like elongated bean, yellowish/white in color, they can easily be seen on the sides of the plastic container as small clutches of 5 or more eggs. Every week I change this small container with one filled with new moist coconut fiber to avoid adult males to eat the eggs, during the week I make sure that the bedding is its moisture otherwise crickets will try to dig deeper and destroy the already present eggs.

The container is then placed in a dark and worm area and covered with the lid, I don’t close it airtight, just to let some air in and keep it moist. Depending on temperatures egg scan hatch in 1 or 2 weeks, when time is due keep an eye on the containers, as soon as some pinhead crickets emerged from the bedding is time to place the container in a bigger one just as we did for the starting colony.

From pinhead to adults crickets are feed a mix of cat dry food (high in proteins), oatmeal. wheat bran, corn flour and powdered milk, lack of proteins in the diet will lead to cannibalismWikipedia
. Also a fresh source of greens, lettuce, carrots and fruit is essential for cricket’s health, and provides a source of water, vitamins and minerals. Talking about water, fresh vegetables are good but not on a daily basis , leftovers can produce mold and mites, as alternative water crystals can be used, they are a polymer that can absorb and hold water up to 500 times its dry size forming a jelly-like substance. Non toxic, it can be ingested by crickets, thus avoiding pinheads and small nymphs from drowning.

More coming soon…

Tuesday June 27th 2006, 11:57 pm Filed under: Crickets

2 Comments so far
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  • Very cool website, and helpful too!

    We just watched our cricket lays eggs.

    Now to wait…

    Comment by Rosemary 04.25.10 @ 4:13 am

  • […] (Source) […]

    Pingback by Is it possible to breed crickets? | CL-UAT 12.25.14 @ 10:41 am

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