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Small scale cricket breeding

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I am attempting to start a small scale cricket colony for my pets and at the same time, get the cricket basics down so I can care for and breed some the the giant field crix we have up here. I designed the cage to gi Anyways the materials I used were an old 10 gallon tank with its gravel and the plastic aquarium plants it had. I also used two dishies one for the food and water and theother for breeding material. For food I am feeding turtle pellets(two types) Special cricket food(Bu8g Bites) and waxworms. Also I am using "cricket Quencher and "water Bites" for their water. Crix and standing water DO NOT MIX! A note to others, crickets are one of the dimmest bulbs on the invert tree, bear this in mind when caring for them.

Here is the Main tank before the additions

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3590.jpg

The breeding dish

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3591.jpg

I had to pile up gravel around it as the females had issues accessing it.

Here is the food dish

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3595.jpg

I have also placed large rocks in there so they can climb in and out easier.

Crickets exploring

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3599.jpg

A single female laying eggs

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3601.jpg

A prime example of cricket "stupidity"

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3604.jpg

Its not going to work there sweetie...

A massive egglaying fest!

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3609.jpg

Sometimes crickets do things that can endear them to their owners or at least illicit a chuckle

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3646.jpg

Here a cricket carries its pellet to a safe hiding place.

Here are some pics of certain crix that are due to be fed off. And thus do not get to enjoy the main cage. Though I do spare unusually large ones.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3641.jpg

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh195/P...es/000_3644.jpg

A seconday goal of all this is to see if I can grow bigger and healthier crickets and possibley attempt to line breed a larger feeder cricket.

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For breeding crickets I used plain potting soil that is always moist, but not too wet, and kept warm.

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For breeding crickets I used plain potting soil that is always moist, but not too wet, and kept warm.

Yup. The gravel will begin to stink. The ornaments will get covered in feces, then soon phorid flies will set in and never leave.....

I used a glass tank that had 3-4 inches of this mix: mulch, potting soil, sand (even amounts, but maybe light on the sand). Egg cartons in there to climb on, and watered the soil on only one half of the cage at any given time. They eat anything. I had crix coming out of my ears.... I eventually grew to hate them and destroyed them all in favor of roaches.

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I have successfully raised Gryllus veletus (spring field cricket) to a couple generations before I couldn't stand the smell any more (but that was my fault - keep reading). Most likely the ones that you're talking about are either those or Gryllus pennsylvanicus (fall field cricket). G pennyslvanicus supposedly need to have their eggs go through a dormancy period in cold temperatures to hatch - at least 3 months or so. G. veletus overwinter as juveniles and lay eggs in the spring that don't need to go through that period, so, in my experience, can be raised indoors. I just started out and caught 10 small-to-medium-sized wild juveniles in the fall (that's how I knew they were G. veletus, as G. pennsylvanicus are adults at that time). If you're going to catch some G. veletus, I'd suggest catching full grown adults or very large juveniles in the next month or two, small juveniles will most likely be G. pennsylvanicus, and the eggs they lay (once reaching adult-hood) probably won't hatch.

I just kept mine in a rubbermaid container with a good portion of the top cut out and aluminum screening glued in (they can chew through the plastic screening, or so I hear). They WILL jump all the way (about 6 inches from the top of the egg cartons) to the lid and cling to the screen, so just beware. They just had 12"x12" egg flats to hide in, and I kept a moist container of coconut bedding for them to lay the eggs in (with a "bridge" for them to be able to get into it). They do tend to dig up the coco bedding and it gets all over the bottom of the bin they were in. Fed them oranges, apples, oatmeal, monkey chow (very similar to dog food, but in larger 'biscuits' with eggs as protein source instead of meat), and just about anything that you'd think would be good for them. Water: misted sides of enclosure and water crystals. I'm still not certain how they got the water out of the water crystals, because I never ever did see any of them actually trying to chew the pieces of gel, they always just sat there sucking on them it looked like - that's why I misted the sides of the enclosure, I was always afraid that they weren't going to get enough moisture from the water crystals. The secret it seems to keep them laying eggs, is to keep their enclosure heated (but not enough to bake them, obviously!). They seem to lose interest in laying eggs if they're not warm enough. If you do catch some, and they're not laying eggs, just try raising the temperature bit by bit and seeing if that helps.

I removed the container of eggs and hatched the pinheads (they look like 'little black ants' with a white stripe between thorax and abdomen) in a seperate container, and then transferred them to the large bin when they were large enough not to be eaten very easily. One thing I noticed about these crickets vs Acheta domestica (pet store variety that you have in the pics), is that the eggs seemed to be a *bit* more forgiving of drying out then the pet store variety. You will want to try and keep the container with eggs in it damp. I let mine completely dry out for about 3 days, and I mean BONE dry, before wetting it again, and the eggs still hatched (I don't know if all of them did, but a lot sure did!) - but that's just my experience...everything else I've read always says that will kill the eggs.

They are so much better looking then the pet store variety cricket, and they are definitely much plumper and generally larger than them too. However, they chirp much louder as well. They are also more agressive (I just mean aggressive for a cricket - which isn't too much) and therefore, much more interesting to watch then pet store ones. If you like watching the pet store variety, you'll REALLY enjoy watching the ones you raise from wild stock. I don't think they're stinky like the pet store ones, but if you don't keep up on cleaning the enclosure (as I obviously didn't!) the dead ones will begin to make whatever room you keep them in smell rotten! I don't know if it was the monkey chow that I was feeding them, but their poops were light tan dry little pellets, and the enclosure itself didn't smell, nor did the crickets, but when they died, they'd rot and stink up the place, just FYI.

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I know tons of people hate crickets, but I've always liked them. I have a variety of species in a vivarium (Gryllus sp., Acheta domestica, Nemobius sp.) and have always liked them as pets. Breeding is just a bonus for me, but really pretty easy. The tiny nymphs need really high humidity.

Crepsis- Try cooked broccoli. It smells after a little while, but crickets seem to love it.

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I know tons of people hate crickets, but I've always liked them. I have a variety of species in a vivarium (Gryllus sp., Acheta domestica, Nemobius sp.) and have always liked them as pets. Breeding is just a bonus for me, but really pretty easy. The tiny nymphs need really high humidity.

Crepsis- Try cooked broccoli. It smells after a little while, but crickets seem to love it.

I know they loved raw broccoli...unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it!) I fed the last of my crickets to my pet toad. The experience of catching them, raising them, and then breeding them was educational, fun, and exciting at times! I almost miss them, until I think why I decided to feed the last of them off in the first place.

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