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Re: NFC: raising crickets

Hey Chuck, I've commented as I quoted.   See below.

Joshua L. Wiegert
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On Tue, 24 Oct 2000 IndyEsox at aol_com wrote:

> Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 12:11:30 EDT
> From: IndyEsox at aol_com
> Reply-To: nfc at actwin_com
> To: nfc at actwin_com
> Subject: NFC: raising crickets
> I still have time to collect wild crickets and start a culture.  I've heard a 
> few things, which I will relate.  Please correct or expand on items and throw 
> me any other tips you know.  
> - Life span of crickets is about three weeks. In order to have an ongoing 
> culture, I need to breed them.  I read once you put shallow containers of 
> sand for them to lay eggs in. Due adult crickets need to be removed to 
> another container once babies hatch?  
Crickets are omnivores, and opportunistic predators.  They'll eat anything
that can stuff into their mouth.  This includes babies, and each other.
Canibalism is not uncommon.  Like feeder guppies, the best solution is to
make sure there are lots of hiding spots.
> - They need heat, particularly in a cold house during winter.  In the bait 
> shops, I typically see low wattage light bulbs left on 24/7.
> Someone just gave me a large electric "hot rock" normally used for lizards 
> and snakes.  Would this work instead of light bulb?
Hot rock is a bad idea.  Try a heating pad underneat the tank.   The hot
rock will heat just one area, leaving cold and hot spots in the tank.

> - Water:  I've heard that if you use open containers of water, they will 
> drown.  A sponge in water is what I typical see.  
Crickets just ain't bright. :)  They will drown fairly easily.  You can
overcome this by using very shallow dishes.  Unfortunately, these empty
quickly.  There is a cricket drinker available, which is a big water
bottle, inverted, into a small dish with a grate.  The water fills,
leaving a small area for them to drink.

> - Food:  I think the bait shops use commercial cricket food. In the garden I 
> see them eating bread I throw out to the birds and sometimes tomatoes on the 
> ground that have broken open.  I can't imagine white bread being very 
> nutritious.  Anyone have a good source of cricket food or other easily 
> obtainable stuff they will eat?
Potatoes.  Thats what we use in the store, assuming Jorge doesn't find
it first, and what most people use.  
> - Containers:  I have some cracked aquariums with screen tops.  Planning on 
> filling them with empty 12-pack egg containers. Any other suggestions?  
Egg cartens are great, they have lots of hiding spots.  They also make it
easy to collect them.

> - Personally, I like to listen to crickets.  But the odor they generate will 
> probably get them confined to the basement.  The other reason for raising 
> them is food for native fish.  
That'll change -- you'll get sick and tired of hearing that endless
chirping pretty darn quick, methinks. :)  The smell is not caused by the
crickets, but by their food and feces.   You can overcome this by cleaning
the bottom regularly.  

Personally, I wouldn't bother culturing crickets.  If you have a need for
lots and lots of crickets, your LFS can probably work something out.  They
order them regularly, and they get boxes of a thousand, sometimes boxes of
only a few hundred.  If this isx the number you're going to be regularly
needing, talk to the manager of your LFS, and see about purchasing the
boxes from him, ahead of time.   You can keep them just as I've described.
You'll have a ready supply, without trying to culture them.  It'll be
cleaner, better smelling, and more productive, not to mention a whole lot
easier. :)  

Good luck, Chuck.!

 > All help appreciated.
> Chuck Church
> Indianapolis, Indiana USA

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