Crickets Achetus domesticus (house cricket)

Breeding Instructions Click images to enlarge

This method provides a removable nesting container allowing easy separation of the eggs and adults which raises yields and provides crickets of various sizes.

Difficulty level - Moderate

Time Table - 3 months from egg to adult cricket depending on temperature

Food - Almost anything but consider nutritional value and mold control

Water - Provide apple, potato, or "orange cube"

Temperature - 80 - 90F works best. Lower temperatures slow down the cycle.

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Cricket gutload recipe

 

Water supplies - click for more info 66 Quart Colony Container - click for more info Egg Crates - click for more info 1 Pint Nesting Container - click for more info 12 Quart Rearing Container - click for more info

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Colony Supplies Click on a title in the supply list for enlarged pictures and more info

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Breeding Colony Assembly

Cut out a section of the lid and glue a piece of screen over it. This allows air in and keeps moisture down to prevent mold. Add egg crate to 4" from the top of colony, your moisture source, and your food dish (1 pint tub). Stock the colony with at least 200 adult crickets. If the crickets are not chirping, then they are not mature enough to breed. NO SUBSTRATE IS USED. If a heat pad is used, put it on top of the colony and you can put the nesting container on top of the heat pad.

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I like the Fluker's Orange Cubes. They are gel cubes that contain nutritious kelp, spiruluna, brewer's yeast, and more which helps gutload feeder insects and they are less susceptible to mold. Cricket Quencher is purely moisture with no nutritional value, but has the advantage of being in gel form to reduce accidental drowning and is less susceptible to mold than fruits and vegetables. If you use potato or apple, make sure to change it regularly.  Crickets drown easily so you need to prevent "puddles" of water from forming if you use a chick waterer. This is accomplished by using the scouring pads or quilt batting to fill the trough.

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Add nesting containers

Cut out a section of the lid on the 1 pint plastic nesting containers. Glue screen in its place. Fill the container with damp vermiculite and place the lid on it. Put this in your colony. You should soon see female crickets climbing on the top and depositing their eggs in the vermiculite through the screen. The screen keeps them from kicking the vermiculite out and losing the eggs.      

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Move the Nesting Container to the Rearing Container

After a 4 to 7 days, replace the nesting container with a fresh one and place the full one in a 12 quart rearing container. The rearing container is set up much like the colony container, but on a smaller scale for the newly hatching crickets. This method helps you to "sort" the crickets. The new babies are not hatching in the same container as the adults. Keep the vermiculite damp and the rearing container warm. Leave the nesting containers in the rearing container for a couple of weeks to ensure all eggs hatch. Eggs hatch in 7 - 10 days. When all have hatched, discard the vermiculite in the nesting container to prevent mold and mite problems. The hatchlings can be kept in the rearing container until they are about 1/2 inch long. Then they should be moved to the colony. You can feed out from the rearing container if that size is what you need, but be sure to replenish the breeding colony with 50 or so when they are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long to keep the colony productive.

 

Maintenance

Maintenance of the breeding colony consists of filling the food, keeping the nesting material damp and replenishing the moisture source.  Every 2 months or so the entire colony and fixtures should be moved to the second container. The cricket waste, cricket shedding, and dead crickets can then be dumped out of the first container and it can be washed. Cricket droppings will accumulate on the egg cartons and the cartons will need replacing.

An escapee being eaten by a spider. Click the picture for more pictures & info  

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Feeding the crickets out to your pets

An easy way to get the crickets out and transferred to your pet's enclosure is to use a combination of an empty toilet tissue roll or paper towel roll and a 2 liter soda bottle with the lid still on and cut the bottom 3/4 off of it. Leave the cardboard roll in the colony for a few minutes and the crickets will crawl in it. Shake them into the soda bottle then dump them in the enclosure with your pet. You may also dust them if you choose to while they are in the soda bottle.  There are many methods to offer the crickets to your pet. You can free roam them which is just letting them go in the enclosure with your pet. This method allows hunters to hunt their food and gives them some exercise. You can bowl feed them, which is putting the crickets in a bowl for your pet to eat from like you do a dog or cat. This helps control escapees and allows close monitoring of what your animal eats, but it does remove the natural hunting from the environment. You can also feed them by hand using your fingers or tweezers. The method you use depends on your preference and needs. See Feeding for more info.

 

 

Facts and Info

Nutritional Content
Moisture % 68.96
Minerals % 1.52
Protein % 20.72
Fat % 5.74
Carbohydrates % 3.06
Calcium mg/100g 21.53

Vit. C mg/kg

105.90

Dietetic fiber

2.80

Calories / fat

51.66

For more see  Nutritional Values

 

 

Some different looks

 

The house cricket Achetus domesticus is a staple and nutritious food for many insectivores.

Cricket colonies will develop an offensive odor if not cleaned regularly.

Crickets can be purchased in nearly all pet stores or online.

They are not difficult to breed.

Breeding your own allows you to select the best size for your pet.

They can be "gut loaded" to enhance their nutritional value. Click here for a gutload recipe

 

Crickets will bite so feeding them out should be monitored and uneaten insects should be removed to be fed at a later time. Do not leave them in the enclosure with your animal for extended periods of time.

 

Cannibalism and mold are common problems for cricket colonies.

 

Females lay up to 700 eggs.

 

Average size of the adult cricket is 3/4 to 7/8 inch long.

 

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