Caring for Live Crickets
by Ovipost Team April 10, 2019
1. WHERE SHOULD I KEEP CRICKETS?
Keep crickets in a large plastic storage tub that’s at least 16 inches high. Put a strip of slick packing tape around the top edge of the tub to prevent crickets from crawling out. Alternatively, you can keep a lid on the container. If you choose to use a lid, you must make sure there is plenty of ventilation. Usually, this means cutting a large hole in the center of the lid and affixing a metal screen with staples or Gorilla glue. Do not use a fiberglass screen, since the crickets can and will chew through it.
2. WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN THE TUB?
Crickets are agoraphobic and need tight, dark places to hide. If they don’t have adequate harborage, they will become stressed and sick. The harborage must be made of non-toxic materials and should have a textured surface so it’s easy to climb. Use large cardboard egg flats or paper towel tubes as harborage. Stacking the egg flats vertically allows more frass (a.k.a. cricket poop) to fall to the ground.
This keeps the harborage cleaner and reduces ammonia and bacterial buildup in the harborage. It also reduces your workload since you won’t need to replace the harborage as often. Do not use pine or strong-smelling plastics in your cricket container. You do not need to put any bedding material in the bottom of the tub. In fact, leaving the floor empty will make your cricket container easier to clean.
3. WHAT SHOULD I FEED CRICKETS?
Crickets will eat just about anything, but they do best on a grain-based diet similar to a high-protein chicken feed. You can make your own cricket food by blending 2 cups of chicken scratch with a half cup of dried dog or cat food until it is a fine powder. We also sell cricket food by the pound, which has been tested and optimized for crickets. Crickets will happily eat a range of fresh fruits and vegetables if you choose to supplement their diet.
We still suggest providing dried feed in addition to any fresh vegetables. Too much moisture can cause wet frass, which can lead to excess moisture and bacteria in your rearing habitat. If you choose to add fresh fruits and vegetables, replace the veggies regularly and watch carefully for signs of mold and rot. Do not feed crickets products that contain mangos.
4. HOW DO I PROVIDE WATER TO CRICKETS?Crickets are excellent at drowning in unfathomably small pools of water. Do not put water dishes into your cricket habitat without a good way to absorb excess water.
Here are a few options that work well:
- For large crickets, fill a dish with small pebbles. Add enough water for the pebbles to be wet, but make sure there are no pools of water.
- Fill a small dish with wet paper towels
- Put a wet sponge on a dish
- Place hydrated water crystals on a small plate
Make sure the side of the dish is textured enough for the crickets to crawl into it. Only use filtered water. Replace every two days to prevent bacterial build-up.
5. WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I KEEP MY CRICKETS?
The cricket species that we grow here at Ovipost is called Gryllodes sigillatus, otherwise known as the Banded Cricket. It’s a tropical species and requires warm environments between 75°F - 90°F. If you want your crickets to grow quickly, keep them at the upper temp range. If you want them to last longer, keep them at the lower end of the range. Anything outside of this range will be stressful to the crickets and may result in early death.