Cricket, Locust, Grasshopper Breeding

Category : PET Releated Hobby

Name : Cricket Breeding

Description : Alive crickets, grasshopers has good market possibilities. Especially as pet supply or even for human consumption. In pet stores, you may find as live for lizards, reptiles, frogs, some kind of fishes and birds. Especially in Asia and Africa they are an excellent option for consumption. They are good for health but also for the ecology and also they are rich in protein.

You may easily breed for small scales for your own demand or may produce on large scales for sale. Sales price will change according to the size of crickets, starting from 20-25 $/1000 of them.

Productivity : Each female cricket can lay 1000-3000 eggs per lifetime. Within 40-45 days, they will be ready for selling.

Living Conditions : Temperature 28-35 C, about 40 percent relative humidity. Artificial lightening to keep days longer.

Keeping-Small Scale :  You may use two 50 lt plastic container or glass aquarium with air ventilation holes on top. This size will be enough for approximately 500 crickets. Second container will be for babies. In a overcrowded container, crickets way start to eat each other. Top must be closed to protect from escapes and must have enough ventilation holes. You must cover the ventilation hole with metal mosquito screen. Inside must put sufficient cardboard or egg crates to climb on.

You may cover the ground with vermiculite as 5-7 cm (you must clean every 5-6 months) or can keep clean without any ground material (must clean every month).

Place a removable plastic-metal container filled with very damp loose topsoil. This will be for egg laying, keep it just slightly higher than the vermiculite so the crickets can get in the container. Make sure your topsoil is fertilizer, chemical and pesticide free.

Keeping-Large Scale : Normal size could be 38 cm length, 38 cm width and 50 cm height. Sides must be from metal mosquito mesh, front glass sliding-opening doors. Glass doors must be possible watch inside and must open to clean. Bottom must be 15 cm higher than ground level for cleaning and air circulation. Ground must be galvanized metal sheet with maximum 2 mm in diameter holes. Top can be from wood, mdf or plywood, it must be detachable for easy cleaning. Also to add a small door to the top board for daily food changing, water changing, etc activities could be better. You may add a lamp 7-8 cm from roof and on the back side of box for heating and lightening.

Inside must put sufficient cardboard, dry wooden branches or egg crates to hide and climb on .

On such as box you may keep around 200 adults.  On the ground, closer to front must have 4-5 holes to keep egg laying tubes.

Keeping-Big Containers : Especially for hot climate, big open top, pool shaped concreate container are also used. You may consider like small scale-plastic containers but much bigger in size. 50-60 cm deep, 1-1.5 meter wide and 3-10 mt long pools can be used. You may make from concreate, plywood or other similar panels. Bottom of the pool must be higher than ground (40-50 cm) to allow easy working inside the pool. Stack a bunch of cardboard egg flats or trays, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, or crumpled cardboard over 2/3 of a tank. These will be the hiding places for the insects. Shallow plates for water and food must be added. Covering top with mosquito mesh could be better.

Food : They can be fed by green leaves of corn, grass, cauliflower, oat, fruit, potato slices, etc. They can eat almost all kind of plants, vegetables and even barks of trees. Also, at your home you may use tropical fish flakes, pond fish pellets, rabbit food, dry cat food,  corn flakes, wheat flakes, etc. Daily change the food and keep it fresh and clean.

Food and clean water always must be available. Otherwise they can start to eat each other.

Breeding: Must keep enough egg laying tubes inside. Tubes can be 2.5 cm in diameter and 8-12 cm long, from glass or aluminum. They must be sterilized and filled with a damp substrate for egg laying. Suitable substrate can be sand, peat moss, etc. If there is possibility to sterilize the tubes and substrate could protect from possible losses. Mix the substrate with 15% (as volume) water and fill the tubes with that.

Keep the tubes inside the cage and check for every morning.

Eggs will be inside the egg-sack which is around 2.5-3.5 cm long and 3-8 mm wide. And inside will be 10-30 eggs per sacks. Each egg will be approximately 1 mm wide and 3.5 mm long. Eggs mainly will stay on the bottom half of egg sacks.

1.5-2 cm from the top of the substrate must be removed on the collected egg laying tubes in order to check eggs. If after removing top layer of substrate, egg sack will be visible, we will understand that the tube is ready. Sometimes can be more than one egg sacks on the same tube. We will cover the tube with plastic protection to keep humidity and carry them to incubator. Do not move the eggs out of tube, move them with their own tube to the incubator.

Incubator temperature must be 32 C and you must keep the humidity of substrate. Instead of more eggs on the same tube, we must try to keep one sack for each tube for better hatching results by adding more tubes to cage. 32 C is optimum temperature for breeding. For higher temperature incubation time will be less but egg lost will be more. For lower temperatures incubation time will be longer.

After about two weeks baby cricket will start to come out. 1-2 days before you may open the top plastic protector and can move them to their cage for growing. New babies will be around the size of egg.

Cleaning : Everyday you must clean the cage. Remaining food, crap and dead crickets must be removed. Every two months, cages must be cleaned with few drops of Dettol added hot water and must be dried.

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