How to breed crickets at home?

The main reason for the motivation to set up a cricket farm at home is to enhance your diet. Beyond the cultural barrier, because it must be agreed that not everyone is able to put an insect in their mouth, they are foods rich in protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals. Besides, they eat anything and are completely harmless. Finally, their breeding is very economical and produces almost no waste. But you may also need to feed amphibians. Whatever your motivation, if you want to embark on the adventure, here is what you need to know for a successful cricket farm at home.

Find a location and equipment

Crickets make a lot of noise. Don’t even imagine being able to endure their din for days on end. You must therefore find a place far from your place of life and that of your neighbors to install the breeding. The area should be quiet, as crickets are sensitive to vibrations, and not exposed to direct sunlight.

To start with, a 50 liter glass aquarium is most suitable for the main tray. You can also use a transparent plastic container of the same capacity. For 300 to 500 crickets, you will need 90 liters (approximately 75 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm). The vivarium must not be hermetically sealed, but simply covered with a wire mesh: sufficient air circulation must be ensured without the crickets being able to escape. In the bottom of the bin, you have the newspaper sheets. From egg cartons cardboard boxes will be arranged tightly to serve as play areas and hiding places for crickets.

As crickets eat their eggs and their young, a second bac, smaller, is required. It is intended to accommodate the nesting boxes during the 2 months following the laying, the time that the little ones are of size to defend themselves against the adults. To make laying nests, you can use small plastic tubs not too high filled with sphagnum moss, heather soil or natural sand, previously sterilized, 5 cm thick. Nest boxes are placed away from egg cartons for easy access.

Start breeding

To start a breeding, it is advisable to acquire 10 males and 10 females. The latter can be recognized by a sharp organ that they have between the rear legs. It is common for females to be already full of eggs when you buy them. They will therefore probably not be long in laying eggs. In captivity, since the temperature is constant, reproduction takes place all year round.

These are one or several hundred eggs that you will see deposited on the nest. You place the latter in the nursery a week later. The temperature is the same as in the main tank. When you remove a nest from the main bin, you replace it with a new one. Remember to indicate the date of installation to find your way in the nursery.

Care should be taken to moisten the nesting boxes regularly until hatching with a spray bottle, without saturating the substrate with water. A protective mesh, metallic mosquito net, placed on the top prevents the females from destroying the eggs of others. The incubation period is between 10 and 13 days. These are very small crickets that you will then see appear. Continue to moisten the other nests.

Babies become adults by 8-10 weeks. At the end of this time, you can place them in the main tray.

The interview

The temperature of the breeding must be constantly understood between 20 ° C and 35 ° C. Check the temperature with a thermometer. Below this thermal range, crickets vegetate and no longer reproduce. A 40 watt incandescent lamp can be used to maintain the temperature and make light for 12 hours. During the other 12 hours, a hot plate maintains the temperature, without producing light.

Make sure your crickets never run out of food otherwise they would eat each other: pieces of fruit or vegetables provided they were cut very thin, cereals and even small pieces of meat could be offered to them. Lettuce or fish glitter will work best for babies. The supply of water is equally important. Check regularly that they have it and renew it every day. You should use a shallow container (such as a bottle cap or small lid) and fill it with gravel so that the insects can rest and drink without drowning.

The central bin should be cleaned at least once a week. This frequency will prevent you from unpleasant odors and mite invasions. On this occasion, you remove the corpses and clean the walls with lemon water. It is preferable to carry out this cleaning outside because escapes of crickets are always possible. You also remove the egg cartons as they get dirty and deteriorate.

Some tips if you want to eat your crickets

Adult house crickets live between 2 and 3 months. You can take it regularly, taking care to always keep about ten breeding pairs.

Crickets intended for human consumption are of the species Acheta domestica, measuring about 1.5 cm and up to 2 cm for females. It is strongly recommended not to eat the first breeding crickets. Purchased from a pet store, you know nothing about their breeding conditions and potentially toxic products for you to which they may have been exposed. We must therefore wait for the appearance of the following generations.

Crickets are only ready to eat after they have been on a diet for 24 to 48 hours, while they clear their digestive system. Then, to kill them, the easiest way is to place them still alive in a box placed in the freezer. They will gradually fall asleep until they die. You have to wait 48 hours to be sure they are.

To accommodate them, you will find recipes based on herbs, garlic, to grill them in the oven, etc.