Cricket Care and Feeding
Crickets have long been the symbol of good luck in many
By following the following easy instructions, you will have good
luck keeping your crickets alive and healthy.
Your first task is to set up a housing container for them.
Suitable containers include glass aquariums (the 10 gallon size
works well), wide-mouth glass jars, large plastic containers or
5-gallon buckets. Large garbage cans have been found successful
for larger colonies. You will need an aluminum screen cover for
the container. Don't use fiberglass, as the crickets will chew
through it. Your container should be of a size to provide
adequate space for your crickets to spread out comfortably. Do
not overcrowd them, as overcrowding is the major cause of
excessive death in crickets. They will be fine if they aren't
required to be "stacked up" in their new home. Each cricket
needs to be able to sit directly on some surface rather than on
We recommend that you place no bedding in your cricket container
as it becomes much more difficult to keep the crickets clean.
You will find that using no bedding reduces the possibility of
offensive odors considerably. However, if you wish to use a
bedding, then sand, wood shavings (available in most pet
stores), coconut fiber, sold in pet shops as reptile bedding, or
peat moss all make a suitable substrate.
Feed and Feeding
House crickets will eat most edible foods such as stale bread,
poultry mash, cornmeal, powdered dog or cat food, tropical fish
flakes, pond fish pellets, rabbit chow and many other similar
foods. Feeding crickets correctly is
important because they require a high protein diet to keep them
healthy. Without an adequate diet, they will prey upon each
other. Also, if you are using them as live food for your herps,
the nutrition from the crickets will be passed on to your
reptiles or amphibians, thus making it extremely important to
keep them healthy. To provide a balanced diet, supplement the
dry food with raw vegetable or fruit scraps such as slices of
apple, banana or orange, plus greens such as lettuce or cabbage.
The food should be placed in a small, shallow plastic container,
periodically discarding any uneaten portions on a regular basis
to insure cleanliness and freedom from mold. If desired,
crickets can be "gut-loaded" with a higher protein food several
days prior to their being fed to your herps, however we do not
consider this a necessity. If you would like to make your own
cricket food, we recommend the following recipe. It is
inexpensive and several dollars worth will last several months
or more, depending on the number of crickets you are feeding.
This food is used for all sizes of crickets. It is based on
commercial dried cat food. In addition provide a supplement of
10 parts skim milk powder (by volume) to 1 part of a good
quality calcium supplement intended for reptiles or amphibians.
The cat food is shaken in this mixture until coated and then fed
to the crickets. More supplements can be sprinkled onto the food
as the crickets eat it. To provide a balanced diet, this food is
supplemented with alfalfa pellets (commercial rabbit food) and,
whenever available, raw vegetable or fruit scraps. Do not forget
to supply your crickets with water! One method is to place
cotton or pieces of sponge in a shallow dish and moisten it.
Make sure there is no standing water in your water holder, as
small crickets can easily drown in even the smallest amount of
standing water. Be sure to wash the water holder and wash or
replace the sponges at least once a week (twice is better).
Unwashed water holders are one of the leading causes of
offensive odors in your cricket house. A much easier and more
convenient method of watering crickets is to use the water gel
crystals. Crickets cannot drown in them and it solves the
problem of having to replace cotton or wash sponges using the
method mentioned above. Crickets are clean insects and must be
kept clean and dry. Your success with them will be reflected by
the care you have given them. We suggest that once a week you
scrape or sweep your container/s. regardless of the number of
crickets in your container/s, you will find it simple to clean
Crickets thrive at temperatures higher than those in the average
house. They prefer 80-90 degrees F. (26-32 degrees C.), however
they seem to live longer at somewhat lower temperatures -
something to keep in mind if you want to keep an excess of
crickets alive as long as possible. Smaller crickets require
warmer temperatures. Pinheads do best at 88-92 degrees F., with
1/2 to 3/4 inch doing best at 80-92 degrees F. and adults at
75-85 degrees F. Cricket nymphs (smaller than pinheads) held at
80 degrees F. require up to 60-65 days to mature, while those
kept at 90 degrees F. require only 30-35 days to complete their
A "Handy" Cricket Feeder
A square 1-gallon milk or water jug works well as a cricket
collector and feeder. Cut the bottom from the jug, keeping the
screw or snap-on top. You now have a large funnel. Use duct tape
on the inside to cover the openings into the handle, as crickets
will hide there. Holding the feeder over your cricket container,
remove one of the small pieces of egg crate and shake it into
the feeder. Sprinkle the crickets with calcium and/or vitamin
supplements as required and shake gently to coat the crickets.
To feed, tip the funnel into the herps cage and gently shake.
Caution! Crickets are very susceptible to insecticides!
Avoid any type of insecticides such as sprays, "no-pest strips"
or anything that might give off fumes - even if not in the same
General Cricket Information
Crickets begin life as eggs, hatch into nymphs which mature into
adults. When the nymphs grow too large for their exoskeletons
which are made of chitin, they molt a series of 5 times. After
the final molt, the wings are released and the male can then
"chirp". Crickets chirp by rubbing their two upper wings
together, but only the male has the special rough vein on its
wing that makes the sound louder when the other wing is rubbed
against it. Male crickets grow to approximately 1 inch long and
females are even larger.
Keeps crickets hydrated for longer life
Replace an open water dish (which commonly drowns crickets) with
the convenient water supply from a Water Pillow. The advanced
polymer within a Water Pillow steadily provides moisture,
lasting days after a paper towel or sponge would dry out.
Simply moisten and set inside your reptile's enclosure.
Completely reptile safe, and keeps crickets alive longer.