Cricket Breeding

by Alexis Jefferson

Back to Beardie Menu

Before you get into breeding, make sure you have the basic care of crickets down, which isn't very hard. Also make sure they come from a good source that is parasite free.

Breeding Setup

(the minimalistic, nearly empty set up)

-The Container:
       I used a Rubbermaid tote (size depends on how many you plan on keeping. If there isn't enough space they will eat each other) and poked holes along the top. That wasn't enough ventilation, so I will be getting mesh and cutting a hole out along the top to allow better airflow. Too much humidity can and will have your crickets dropping like flies.

       Basically any food works, but I only use fresh foods. I find that they destroy collard greens and butternut squash compared to other foods. I'm pretty sure they'll eat anything you throw in there. I'm too lazy to take the time to gutload, so I only feed staple foods so gutloading isn't necessary. Only put as much as they can eat in a day.

       Crickets are stupid. Stupid stupid. They drown in a drop of water. To avoid it, I put water saturated Poly-Fil in their water dish then add a bit more. They'll stand on the fiber and drink. It will get pooped in and have eggs laid in, so clean it out daily.

       I use egg crates as the main climbing substrate. It's cheap, and that's the best part. I also use tubes from toilet paper and paper towels. They're great because instead of fighting to gather up crickets, I can just pick up a tube and knock some into the tank. They mold easy, so watch out. Anything with small cracks should be avoided because they will hide in every. crack. ever.

       Room temperature.

-The Breeding

Crickets are pretty savage creatures. They mate and continue with their daily lives eating, drinking, and mating some more. Catching them in the act is hard but definitely worth the humor

They will lay their eggs a few days after breeding, I've found. They will lay bajillions of eggs with the third pokey thing from their butt (ovipositor). They should have a container of at least 2 inches of moist dirt. They will lay in it for as long as you keep it in there. In 48 hours I had hundreds of eggs just on the top of the soil, and I assume there were hundreds more deeper in the dirt. Be careful though, males will dig up eggs and eat them. To battle this, some people put mesh on the top of the container and fill the dirt to the brim. It worked, but it was a hassle.

A male. It only has two things poking out of its butt.

A female. It has three things poking out of it's butt.

Incubation and Egg Care

Once the container of dirt and eggs is removed from the adult tank, put a lid on it and place it on a heat pad. I already had the Rubbermaid tote for my babies, so I put the heating pad inside the tote, put the containers on top, and left them be.

Make sure the dirt stays moist. If the dirt dries out, it's likely your eggs will dry out also. I've noticed eggs in colors from white to yellow to brown. I don't know if the brown eggs were bad or just dirt covered. You will have lots of eggs so a few browns probably won't make a difference.

Incubation can take anywhere from 7-15 days, so don't be discouraged if they don't hatch quickly. Mine were on the longer side at about 14 days, but it was cold in the room they were in even with the heat pad.

Pretty easy, huh?

Baby Cricket Care

I've heard multiple different ways of raising baby crickets. The main difference is whether you put them in with the adults or not. This is my first batch of babies and I have them in their own, separate grow up Rubbermaid. Their care is nearly identical to adults except they don't have dirt to lay in. They have the dirt they hatched in, and that's only because I have a hundred babies in there I can't get out.

       They require a tiny water dish or no water dish at all. I had a 100 die in a couple drops of water that accumulated on the side of the tub. I suggest wetting a paper towel, wringing it out, and placing it in something like a bottle cap. Replace and/or re-wet as needed.

       I feed them nearly the same as adults. I don't have anything that eats pinheads, so they're on a grow up diet of collards, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Fresh so it’s good for them, but not great food that I could be feeding my feeders, breeders, and dragons.

       I've kept them on a heat pad (under the tub) since they've hatched. They tend to hide under the tube that's above the heat pad, so try to have something over the pad. Other than that, they are kept at room temperature.

       The same as adults except I have only one egg crate and it's laying on its side.

Once they reach maybe ¾ of an inch I'll move them to the adult enclosure.