Increasing numbers of people attempt to breed crickets today, perhaps to feed a pet reptile… or simply to consume it themselves. Yes! You heard correctly: in some parts of the world, such as Madagascar, crickets are a common staple food; you can even find cricket lollipops there! However, despite the fact that crickets are small and do not require much care once breeding has begun, it is extremely difficult to keep them alive in the beginning if you are unaware of certain fundamentals. Here are some care instructions for live crickets.
Careful Handling of Live Crickets
If you intend to raise your own crickets, whether to feed reptiles, for personal consumption, or as pets, you must understand that they are extremely fragile.
Those who have attempted this will tell you how difficult it is to keep them alive long enough to return home from the store. In fact, the majority of them are frequently dead upon arrival or shortly thereafter. Crickets are typically packaged in perforated containers so they can breathe properly during shipping and upon return.
Due to the fragility of these insects, however, you must remove them from the box as soon as possible upon entering your home, which can be challenging. This is likely the most prudent step in launching a cricket breeding program.
Obviously, their container must be completely prepared if you don’t want them to jump around and run freely throughout your home. Yes, crickets can be kept as pets, but they must remain in their cage, right?
We recommend that you develop your own technique for this step, as you will need to repeat it each time you clean your container.
Which type of container should I employ?
Plastic and glass are both acceptable materials for the storage container, as long as the surface is smooth enough to prevent crickets from jumping out.
Regarding size, it is generally recommended to allocate 1 gallon per 100 crickets. Therefore, a quantity of 1,000 or more crickets requires at least a 10-gallon container, etc.
If there isn’t any, you will also need to cut some holes in the tank to ensure that the little creatures have adequate oxygen. Then, cover the holes with a very fine wire mesh, at least fine enough to prevent crickets from passing through it.
Avoid experienced cricket keepers
Also, specific cricket keepers are available at some exotic pet stores, but we do not recommend them because they frequently include tubes that crickets can climb up. It may seem convenient at first, but if the tank is too crowded, crickets at the end of a tube are likely to be squashed, lack oxygen, or be unable to access food or nutrition, resulting in their death.
Even the largest enclosures, which are designed to hold 200 crickets, are typically overcrowded. If you intend to breed more than 100 healthy crickets, you would be better off creating your own container.
What Conditions Do They Require?
Crickets favor dim environments
When preparing your aquarium to house live crickets, you must keep in mind that they will always seek out dark areas. Therefore, you must essentially provide enough so that they are not all vying for the same limited spaces.
Keeping the egg crates that came in the shipping boxes is optimal for this purpose, also because it will help them recognize a part of their environment and survive the transition. You may also use toilet paper or paper towel rolls, as well as any other material that they can hide in.
Temperature and phase of dormancy
Additionally, you must be aware that crickets can withstand heat quite well but are more sensitive to cold temperatures.
Be reassured, however, if your shipment of winter crickets appears lifeless: these fascinating little insects can enter a state of hibernation and become dormant, which means that after a couple hours of acclimating to room temperature, they will typically perk up. Don’t be too quick to judge their condition!
Once back on their feet, the optimal temperature range for the metabolism and immune system of your live crickets should be between 22°C (70° – 75° F). Additionally, avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, high humidity, and cold drafts, as they are extremely sensitive to these conditions.
Clean is healthy
We often say that a clean and orderly environment helps humans maintain a healthy body and spirit. Likewise, this holds true for crickets (although we might leave the spirit side apart as we are not yet sure they do have one).
It seems obvious that you should always keep your cricket keeper clean to ensure their health and longevity. The most important thing is to keep your container devoid of dead crickets and waste.
Do not use chemicals!
NEVER use pesticides or chemical cleaning solutions to clean your little beasts’ tank, as they are extremely sensitive to these substances as well. Simply rinse the container with hot soapy water or a VERY MILD bleach solution, and ensure that it is completely dry before placing the crickets back inside. Crickets can drown in very little water!
What Should My Crickets Eat?
Once their container and environment are prepared and they are contentedly frolicking in it, keeping them alive requires minimal effort. They only require some basic food and water from separate sources in order to survive.
Always feed your crickets dry foods like oats or cornmeal. Some pet stores may also carry dry cricket food, such as chicken mash or chick starter. Remember to replace the food as needed or at most once per week, and avoid getting it wet or moldy.
Similarly to humans, the quickest way to cause crickets to perish is to remove them from their water source; therefore, it is essential that water is always accessible. Again, keep in mind that crickets can drown very quickly; therefore, we recommend using something as simple as a damp sponge on a shallow plate as opposed to a pool of water. However, it must be checked daily to ensure that it remains moist.
You can also find “water bites” in specialty stores, some of which contain both water and nutrients for your small creatures. These may already be familiar to you, as they are typically utilized in cricket shipment boxes.
In fact, potatoes can serve as both food and water for crickets. Occasionally, they are also sent with a potato chunk. Do not use it as a daily food source, as it can cause a dampening of the environment and the growth of mold, both of which are extremely harmful to live crickets. If you choose to use potato, use it sparingly and don’t store it for more than a couple of days.
We hope that you are now fully prepared to breed your own crickets and that they live a very long and happy life. We wish you the very best of luck with your tiny insects!
How long can crickets survive without water or food?
If you are keeping crickets for a gecko or small reptile, you may wonder how long they can survive without food or water. How long do crickets live? is the first question we will answer. Adult crickets have an average lifespan of 8 to 10 weeks if they have sufficient food and water. Without food or water, crickets can live for two weeks longer. Then, they will die of starvation.