How To Raise Crickets: Complete Step By Step Guide

Arpitha Rajendra
Jan 30, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Oct 29, 2021
Edited by Jade Scott
Black cricket in a natural enviroment.

Crickets are an egg-laying species and breeding crickets is relatively easy to do.

You can choose containers with the substrate as per the number of crickets you want to raise. You will also need to provide ample food and water to both young and adult crickets.

Crickets of the order orthoptera are relatives of bush crickets. Their bodies are cylindrical-shaped with long antennae on their round heads.

The largest crickets within the family are bull crickets which can grow up to 2 in (5 cm). They prefer habitats like bushes, grasslands, marshes, forests, caves, and beaches. Crickets are famous around the world for their persistent and long chirping sound produced by males at night to attract females.

However, some cricket species are mute. Species that produce the sound have good hearing through their tympana on the front legs' tibiae.

From Europe to China, crickets are kept as pets and are seldom used for cricket fighting. In southeast Asia, crickets are used for human consumption as they can convert food into body mass. They are also used as feed for zoo animals.

It is considered to be good luck to keep crickets as pets in a few countries. It was a common practice in Japan and gained popularity in the 19th century.

Crickets have several natural enemies like parasites and pathogens. They are also eaten by many invertebrates and vertebrates. Entomopathogenic fungus targets and kills crickets and is sometimes used as pest control.

Cricket paralysis virus impacts these insects, causing high fatality levels in cricket breeding facilities. Three more viruses as a result of Rickettsia bacteria have also been noticed within breeding facilities. Diseases will spread fast if crickets become cannibalistic.

If you enjoyed reading these facts about how to raise crickets, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about how to raise a duck and how to raise a chick here at Kidadl.

What is cricket farming?

Cricket farming is the process of raising crickets, and they can be raised both indoors and outdoors as a business.

Crickets are common snacks in southern Asia including in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia where they deep fry the cleaned and soaked insects. There are 20,000 cricket farmers in Thailand.

To improve both cricket farming and food security, the FAO of the United Nations has enforced a project in Laos. As cricket farming is to breed crickets and raise adult crickets on a cricket farm, let's learn about the reproduction cycle. The breeding cycle includes male adult crickets trying to establish dominance over each other.

The adult crickets lash out using antennae and flaring mandibles. If neither stands down then they grapple while emitting sounds.

The cricket that gains dominance will then sing loudly and the other remains silent. Females are usually attracted to the loud calls of the male.

The pair then connect their antennae during the courtship phase when the call changes. Females mate with several males. Females then lay their eggs inside a plant's stem or soil.

A female has an ovipositor, which is a saber-like or needle-like egg-laying organ, allowing her to lay eggs. The life stages of cricket include an egg stage, a nymph or larval stage (as a nymph grows, it resembles the adults), and an adult stage.

Instead of buying crickets from your local pet store, you can make your farm for personal use or the commercial market. You can either use low maintenance and small scale breeding or large scale breeding of crickets.

Low maintenance cricket breeding does not need active management or waste collection and needs only one container. Food and water dispensers require emptying after 7-14 days, and the setup only needs maintenance every 7-14 days.

You will only need 20 gal (70 l) container, and that can produce one whole container of local pet store crickets per week. If you are a small family, then you will produce enough food waste to feed almost four breeding containers.

The conventional large-scale cricket farm allows females to lay eggs on breeding trays.

This container also has water and food bowls and crates for crickets. The collected cricket eggs are placed in an incubation space with adequate heat and temperature, and after the eggs hatch, baby crickets are moved to containers.

This method needs seven containers with no substrate. This setup needs active management and maintenance.

Why should you raise crickets?

You should raise crickets as food for yourself, birds, monkeys, and reptiles, as baits and as a business.

The cricket is a delicious, edible insect, and is also sustainable and healthy. Cricket farming is a profitable business. When compared to pork, sheep, or beef foods, crickets are better for the environment.

Crickets have high protein and, depending on the breed, the average protein is 20g per 100g, but dried crickets have way more protein. Both locusts and crickets have around half the calories found in beef.

They also have omega-3 which is good for heart health, with a fat content of around 25-30%, including saturated and monosaturated fat. The fat content in crickets differs with the type of foods they eat. A lot of people agree that crickets are the future source of protein for mankind.

Research also states that the global market of edible insects is increasing by 23.8% per year. You can eat crickets by cooking them in various tasty ways. Your pet also can feed on these insects for added health benefits to their diet.

Animals, like us, need protein, and crickets are a great source of protein in their diet. Birds eat these insects while molting.

You can raise crickets for fishing and fish food. More than 450 mammals eat these insects. You can build a small-scale or commercial-scale business by raising crickets.

People commonly raise the banded cricket breed (Gryllodes sigillatus), the black field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus), and the house cricket (Acheta domestic). Crickets have a savory and nutty taste. The taste is described as a combination of nut, Parmigiano, and mushrooms. Products like protein powder and cricket flour are getting famous.

Compared to pigs and livestock, crickets emit far fewer greenhouse gases. Cricket droppings look like poppy seeds as they are black, small, and round. These are great soil fertilizers. The bugs' droppings are called cricket frass.


How To Start A Cricket Farm

You can start cricket farming by getting live crickets, small and medium-sized containers with lids, two storage bins with lids, a sponge or cloth, a lamp, a thermometer, and window sealing. You will need to be able to create a hiding spot for the crickets using an egg carton or shallow dish.

You will also need fruits, vegetables, greens, duct tape, and vermiculite, coconut fibers, or perlite.

Crickets do not need a lot of investment. All they need is a small shelter with the right humidity, temperature, adequate food, and water.

You can get started with all the required materials mentioned above. Make an aluminum window by cutting half the lid of the breeding container.

You can make a hiding spot by placing an egg carton in the setup. In another small container (the egg-laying container), cut out another large hole for another window.

Place a warm heat lamp on top of the big container, closer to the window The temperature must be around 85-90 F (29.4-32.2 C) but it should not fall below 80 F (26.7 C) or rise above 95 F (35 C).

Humidity must be below 50% in the breeding container, between 80-90% in the rearing container, and the humidity should almost be 100% in the egg-laying container.

You must provide water and food in a shallow dish all the time to avoid cannibalism. You need to soak a clean cloth before placing it in the plastic lid. This cloth must be changed every three days to prevent fungi or bacteria build-up.

You can feed fruits, veggies, meat leftovers, or leafy greens. Feeding your crickets a variety of food will give you the best results.

To clean the container, you can move all the contents to another plastic bin once a week. When you get started it is better to keep males and females separate.

Females and males are very different. Females have the ovipositor to lay eggs.

You can prepare the egg-laying bin by placing coco fibers inside and closing it with a lid. The window will protect the babies after they hatch from their eggs. Whenever the fiber gets dry, you will need to spray it with water.

Crickets will hatch after one to two weeks. The egg-laying container must be placed in the breeding container with the lid partially open.

The newborn babies will be able to feed freely. You can harvest crickets by placing plastic bins and moving as many crickets as you need into the next bin. It is easier to lift the egg cartons and shake them to move into the next one.

How To Raise Crickets For Food

You can raise crickets for a bearded dragon, ducks, pigs, or turkeys by making an enclosure for crickets, buying them, providing care, incubating baby crickets, and harvesting.

When you are raising crickets for the first time, make sure to just get fifty crickets from your local pet store. If you are experienced then you can get more than 500.

Raising crickets for chickens, pigs, or ducks can be done by letting crickets grow in wet, dark, and warm environments. You can cut out small holes on the lids of the tote for ventilation.

A small metal window can be stuck to the holes. You can spread a 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) layer of vermiculite on the bottom of the tote.

You can use damp potting soil to fill up a plastic container and place it in the large tote. This soil must be free of pesticides or fertilizers as females will lay their eggs here.

To prevent the crickets from burrowing into the soil to eat eggs you can place a window screen. To maintain the humidity of the space, you can place two plastic containers in the tote with a damp sponge in each.

Place another container in proximity to hold food. Huddle the containers into the perlite so that the rims are only just above the perlite.

You can then fill the extra space with cardboard egg cartons placed on top of each other. A heat lamp can be suspended above the holes for adequate temperature.

You can feed your crickets some commercially produced food, however, many agree that crickets taste better if fed vegetables, nuts, grains, and fruits. You can also feed them organic scraps.

Make sure to remove all the uneaten food. You can provide them water through sponges, which will prevent your crickets from drowning. The height of the lamp must be adjusted to provide the appropriate temperature.

When a male chirps it is a sign of mating and the potting soil will be filled with eggs after 7-10 days. Place this container in the second tote for humidity and warmth.

Nymphs will hatch after a week and they will need the same setup as adults. You can harvest crickets after two months. When they are transferred to the freezer, they go into hibernation.

You can later scrape the frozen dead crickets into a bag. These can be seasoned, roasted, or eaten whole, and they can also be ground into flour.

Once the harvest is done, get rid of the potting soil and perlite and then disinfect the tote. When the baby crickets start to chirp, place potting soil in the setup for them to lay their eggs in. The cycle then continues.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for how to raise crickets, then why not take a look at how to raise a kitten or cricket facts?

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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