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Breeding and Caring for Crickets

Updated on August 18, 2015
Whitney05 profile image

Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

Raising Crickets

Crickets make a great staple diet for reptile species, as they are very nutritious.

But, buying crickets at a local pet store or bait shop on a regular basis can create a damper on one's wallet. So, you may want to consider breeding crickets.

This is really only a benefit if you have an excess number of pet reptiles. So,before making the decision to breed and raise your own crickets take into considerations a few things.

  • Crickets are noisey.
  • They have a tendency to make escapes.
  • Crickets have a very strong odor.

So, if you decide that it is a benefit to you to breed your own crickets, you may want to take those things into consideration as to where you will place you breeding colony. I would suggest in an outdoor padio or some sort. Not your room. ;-)

Materials to Breed Crickets

If you've decided to go ahead and attempt to breed your own crickets, you'll need to get the following items:

Plastic storage containers- Rubbermaid works great Small plastic tubs for nesting Egg cartons/flats Jar lids for food Screening Heat pad or light (optional but they do best in a slightly warmer temperature) Crickets

Basic Cricket Setup

The basic setup of a cricket bin is rather simple. You will want to place plenty of egg cartons, or egg flats, In the plastic storage container. Make sure to leave enough space to place the food bowls.

You do not need any substrate at the bottom of the container, as this will make cleanup much harder, plus you're going to add a laying box for the females.

You may want to put screen on the top of the storage container, to help reduce the smell, although it is optional. You will need some type of lid, though, otherwise you will have a number of escapees.

You can use the lid for the container, if you choose. Just make sure that you drill holes in both the lid and sides of the container to allow air flow.

To lessen the smell, you can leave the lid cracked, which will allow more air flow through the container, this also creates less humidity. The lower the humidity levels means less smell.

Crickets can survive at average house temperatures, but they do prefer high temperatures of 80-90 degrees, so you may want to use a heating pad or lighting to create higher temperatures.

Cricket Diet

Crickets can be fed a variety of food products. Just remember it is very important to gutload them with nutritious foods before feeding them to your reptiles.

You may want to consider fresh fruits and vegetables in order to supplement them with moisture. I would not recommend damp sponges in the tub because they can harbor fungus and mold after left in the for too long. Some people do find it easier to just provide the crickets with a moist sponge, though.

Try: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and apples.

Also, remember that a good grain is great gutload. You can either make your own grain gutload, or purchase commercial gutload from petstores or online websites. It is cheaper to buy in bulk amounts online, versus smaller amounts from petstores, but it all varies from how many crickets you plan on housing and whether or not you plan on breeding.

Breeding Crickets

The most important things to do when breeding crickets is to place a nesting box in your cricket tub, keep the crickets fed, house them at proper temperatures, and make sure to clean the habitats.

Although, crickets will breed in colder temperatures, the best outcome occur in warmer temperatures.

In the nesting box, use damp soil, sand, peat moss, or turf (landscaping material consisting of small clay pellets). You may, also, want to consider Bed-A-Beast, compressed dirt, from your local petstore.

Since no other substrates should be in the tub, this is the best place for the crickets to burrow and nest. Leave the substrate a little loost because the crickets will only use the top half inch or so to lay their eggs, anyway. Try using a 2-3 inch deep container or loose substrate. Check the nest box every few days to mist it. If the material dries out, the eggs will not hatch.

After about 4-7 days, the nesting material should be packed with little white eggs. It should then be removed and incubated. Place a new nest box in the large storage container that the breeding crickets are in, with fresh nesting material.

Keep the eggs in the original Tupperware container, and place the original lid on it. Place a heat pad on top of the breeding container. In about 7-10 days, you should find small pinhead crickets, which should then be moved to a rearing container.

Once the eggs begin to hatch, and you have moved the nesting box into a small sweater box container, treat them as regular crickets. Provide them with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and gutload grain. Also, remember to put small squares of egg carton in the tub.

Do make sure to take special precautions at preventing escapees. Have small holes drilled in the sweater box about one inch apart. If you are worried about losing the pinheads, you can use double adhesive tape; placing the tape around the entire inside rim of the container. But, for the most part the sides of the container will be too slippery for the baby crickets to escape.

Continue to keep the nesting material moistened until all the crickets have hatched, which may take up to a week. Once the crickets have reached about 1/4" long, remove them from the rearing container and place them in the larger, breeding container.

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    • profile image

      tyler 5 years ago

      how long bo cricket breeding how dose it take

    • profile image

      michael 6 years ago

      Can crickits go into a fish tank starter kit

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      I have used a glad container without the lid. Keep the dirt or substrate of choice kept moist, but not soaked.

    • profile image

      curt 6 years ago

      so how do i make a laying egg hide for my crickets what do i need to keep the humidity up?

    • Blazing Blogs profile image

      Blazing Blogs 7 years ago from London

      I found your article when I looing for reports on the sport of Cricket. However I continued to read it as I do have a biology background. very well written article thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Donovan 7 years ago

      okay thanks ill do that thanks for your help take care

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't recommend it, unless you can 100% guarantee that you or no one around you used an pesticides, herbicides, or any other poisons. You would need to put a container with the dirt in it, not the entire tub.

    • profile image

      Donovan 7 years ago

      its dirt from my garden is that okay to use?

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      They don't need sand. They need a laybox of a moist material, usually dirt or topsoil

    • profile image

      Donovan 7 years ago

      Hi, i thought that they needed it should i take it out?

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Why do you have sand in the tank?

    • profile image

      Donovan 7 years ago

      hi there i got a fish tank for my criekets with sand, egg cartiges, lights, and lots of food to eet but they arnt laying eggs what am i doing wrong

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      In actuality, the crickets would start eating the gecko as it would severely stress out the gecko. It would be stupid, not funny.

    • gecko_boy profile image

      gecko_boy 7 years ago from england

      be funnie if u dropped a gecko in there lol thered all go like were gonna die and run every where (well i suppose there doing tht anyway)

    • nicko guzman profile image

      nicko guzman 8 years ago from Los Angeles,CA

      Aside from feeding them to my rats and herps,you can fight them if you get the right species.I love these hubs.Why can't mine be so good.

    • profile image

      Y V 8 years ago

      Alright thanks

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      It will depend on the temperature at various points of the year. You will also need to consider ants getting into the tub, as well as pesticides that you or neighbors may use. As when the pesticides are initially sprayed or thrown out, the wind may carry it.

    • profile image

      Y V 8 years ago

      would leaving them outside in los angeles temperature good?

    • profile image

      $!::Y(silly)*** 8 years ago

      i absoluetly love crickets and i luv this website. in school we're going to raise crickets so this helped a lot. oh and usually how long d crickets live??? one more thing does anyone know about pillbugs we're doing that in school to.(pillbugs are rolly pollys just if any one doesn't knw)

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      Robert 9 years ago

      I'll do that

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      I'd watch the humidity. You don't want it to get too high.

    • profile image

      Robert 9 years ago

      I usually have the air conditioner on in the mornings and at night, the afternoons are usually pretty humid in my room where I keep them.

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      You may want to use crushed corncob on the bottom of the tank, but if the fake green landscape is working, then leave it at that. You should be fine using the 20 gallon tank a uth. you may want to use a mini instead of the smalls, which are sized for 10-20 gallong tanks. It will depend on the temperature in the room, as well as how high you want the tank to be for the crickets. You don't want to fry them

    • profile image

      Robert 9 years ago

      It's a 20 gallon glass tank with fake green landscape on the bottom

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      It will depend on the size of your cricket container. A larger container, depending on the material, will be fine. Remember that it's not recommended to use UTH's with plastic.

    • profile image

      Robert 9 years ago

      Can an UTH be used as a heat source for crickets or will it just kill them?

    • profile image

      ?? 9 years ago

      what happed to the video but gr8 info

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      I depends on the size of the container and how many crickets. You may want to use one full egg carton and break it up into 2 or 3 pieces. They really don't need calcium powder. You can eliminate the blue or yellow gel water buy providing a potatoe and gutload grain. It's a much healthier gutload. Fluker's makes a grain gutload that you can buy, or you can purchase larger amounts from other people online.

    • profile image

      Dan Steinmiller 9 years ago

      should I put a full egg carton in their or continue using half of one?

      I keep them well fed: I usually put that blue or yellow jello stuff(Flukers)in there in the morning and at night, and also pour in some calcium too.

    • Whitney05 profile image
      Author

      Whitney 9 years ago from Georgia

      Too hot. Don't put them on a radiator, you're cooking them. Make sure you have plenty of egg cartons for them to walk on. Food to eat. You may consider using a bedding for them, such as crushed walnut shells. Also make sure that they are getting good ventilation.

    • profile image

      Dan Steinmiller 9 years ago

      How do I keep my crickets from dying?

      I'm not a breeder, I buy my crickets from Pet Supplies Plus(cheapest price hands down)and usually get about 50 crickets for food for my Bearded Dragon. Recently, I decided to get 100 crickets and put them in a square glass tank(just like the one I use for my leopard geckos), which sits on a radiator right next to my bedroom window. Exactly 2 days later, almost half of them were either dead or on the verge of croaking. I live in Ohio and lately its been a little chilly at night so I keep the window either closed halfway or open just a little bit. Could the cold be killing the crickets or is it something else?

    • profile image

      tiffany 9 years ago

      i meant cone not cane!

    • profile image

      Tiffany 9 years ago

      A funny thing happened on Saturday.I went to the pet shop and asked for some crickets and she is the only one there to do it.So she walks over and gets the cane and opens the lid and tries to get them .I said I'll do it but she refused twice.So when she gets TWENTY crickets she drops it because one was on her hand and she starts screaming because a lot of crickets fell on her feet! So at the end I'm the one picking up all the crickets! lol...