Breeding crickets 101

First of all, you will need adult crickets for breeding.

How to sex them.

A female cricket will have a long tube attached to the abdomen as shown in picture #1.

This is how she will deposit the eggs into the soil. The male will not have this long tube, but more of a "V", what would look like a tail, shown in the photo #2

The female will also have this "V", but with a long tube also. As shown in the photo, is a female after a fresh shed, she will be all white in color, and will change to a darker color after a few hours.

What to keep them in.

I keep my breeders in a sweater box type rubbermaid container, as shown, with no substrate, and should be cleaned as needed, on a regular basis.

I have a higher female to male ratio, due to the fact that the males that will raid the nest and eat the eggs. For example, in one rubbermaid container I will add 20 females, and 8-10 males, this will keep the males busy mating the females, and out of the eggs. Next I add a sandwich container, {again, rubbermaids work well}, with a mix of soil, and a little sand, I find this mix to work very well from others I have used for egg laying. Make sure the mix is loosely packed, and is 1 1/2 to 2" thick. Next add a little water to mix so it feels moist, but not wet. What works well for me in the success of breeding is to check the mix every day, and lightly mist when needed. If the soil happens to become dry, chances are the eggs will most certainly not hatch. Next I put a few pin holes in the lid top for air, and cut a small hole either on top of the lid, or on the front of the container, as shown in the photo.

Next add a piece of card board, a piece of egg carton, etc, for the females to climb into the container through the hole that was cut, to lay the eggs. Next add a few egg cartons or paper towel rolls for hiding places so breeding can take place. Add food which can consist of cricket gut load, sliced apples, greens, etc, crickets will eat just about anything, but make sure it is nutritious to ensure a healthy batch of hatchlings.

 

Next you will need a heat source. I find a spot lamp, with a dark bulb, like black, works well, as crickets do best if they are kept in a dark place, or you may also use a heating pad. Hatchlings will hatch at room temps, but will take longer. I keep the temps between 80-90 degrees. If you choose to use a heat lamp, it   should be placed on the opposite side of the rubbermaid, to keep a little humidity, but far enough away from the soil, to prevent the soil from drying out.

 


One female can lay up to 500 eggs in the soil, so be prepaired to transfer the hatchlings to a larger enclosure when they hatch.
Now that your breeder set up is ready, after a few days you will see the female’s abdomen start to swell from filling up with eggs, which at this time, you may see her digging in the soil and depositing the eggs. After 5-7 days, I remove the soil of eggs, and replace it with another, to keep the breeding process going. I take the soil with the eggs and place it in another rubbermaid container, add a heat lamp, again on the opposite side of the container keeping the temps between 80-90 degrees. No substrate is necessary, but keep an eye out for to much condensation, which may drown the hatchlings once they have hatched. After about 7-10 days, you will see tiny hatchlings, no bigger than the tip of a pen, emerge from the soil, and at this point is very important to offer fresh greens or fruit, because at this size, they will dry up very quickly. You would be surprised how quickly those little hatchlings will devour a full leaf of greens. For any reason you would like the hatchlings to grow faster, leave the heat sorce for them. At room temps they will grow much slower.
In the photos, these tiny hatchlings are only a few hours old.

 

 

There you have it, cricket breeding is very easy to do, and I have always had success just remember to keep that soil moist! Good luck everyone, and happy cricket breeding!

Nancy McBride.

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Ann-Maree | Reply 14.05.2013 21.51

Thanks Nancy!! xxxxxxx

michelle | Reply 17.01.2011 11.35

do the crickets not escape?

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