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Thread: Crickets

  1. #1
    Kurt
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    Default Crickets

    I finally managed to purposely culture crickets. I have had crickets lay eggs in some of my enclosures in the past and the eggs have hatched out, but it was always in a cage that housed large frogs that just ignore something as small as a pin-head cricket. Whenever I tried to culture them on purpose I had always failed. This time I tried something different.

    I took some small Ziploc storage containers and filled them with moist coconut bedding and placed them in the adult cricket bin. A few days later I took them out and capped them, periodically opening them up to let some fresh air in and remove any mold that had formed. After about a week or two, I took the covers off permanently and placed them in a large critter keeper with a paper towel in between the top and the rest of the enclosure. That was about a week or two ago. I am not sure on the elapsed time as I did not write anything down. I should've, but didn't.

    Well, last night, much to my delight, I discovered that the eggs had finally hatched! There were thousands of them. I first noticed a bunch of them on the bare plastic bottom of the keeper, then upon opening it up I saw many, many more in the Ziploc containers. The surface of the coconut bedding was literally alive with crickets, I could not actually see the bedding at all.

    This came at a perfect time, as my fruit flies cultures aren't producing yet. My bean weevil cultures are exploding at the moment, which is a mixed blessing. I like to use them as a supplement to the diets and not as a staple. Last night I was forced to use them as a staple (I hadn't discovered the pin-heads until after I was done feeding) and I am not really comfortable with the that. Beetles and their larva are high in chitin, which can cause impaction, and bean weevils are a type of beetle.

    So now I have pin-heads and the fruit flies should start to emerge any day now. My little guys should be well fed for the forseeable future.

    Now I am just waiting on the waxworm cultures, I am hoping for some success before Christmas.

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Crickets

    Nice Kurt!

    If your fruit flies don't start producing I have lots of extras if you need any.

  4. #3
    100+ Post Member Ebony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Very cool Kurt, You wont have to buy Crickets any more. I always get excited when my baby Locust hatch.

  5. #4
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Oh, I wouldn't say that just yet, I am still going to have to keep buying them, for at least the forseeable future.
    Emily, the fruit flies are definitely producing at the moment and I am up to my *** in bean weevils. So along with the pinhead crickets I am doing well in that department, but thanks anyway.

  6. #5
    Founder John's Avatar
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
    Beetles and their larva are high in chitin, which can cause impaction
    My mind always boggles at this. All the hard structures in an insect's body are made out of chitin, including the entire outside of its body (its exoskeleton). I can imagine a small frog eating an insect with a large piece of chitin in it causing a problem for the frog in question but that's the closest I can come to thinking that one of the main components of an insect causing dietary problems for an insectivorous predator.
    Founder of Frogforum.net (2008) and Caudata.org (2001)

  7. #6

    Default Re: Crickets

    There is a high degree of variability in the digestibility of chitin (in insectivores) ranging from 2 to 85 percent, so to label it as indigestible is not correct until the level of digestibility for that species is determined. Even for animals with low digestibility percentages, the undigested portion of chitin serves the same purpose as fiber in supporting gut motility.

    Also, larger invertebrates will often have a lower total percentage of chitin, as there is disproportionately less chitin when compared to the total volume of the insect. Its digestibility also is influenced by the presence of certain symbiotic bacteria and protozoa, whose populations can fluctuate (with the use of antibiotics, change in stress levels ect), so even within the same species the digestibility has the potential to fluctuate over time.

    Some literature...

    http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110003372739/en/
    http://www.jhc.org/cgi/reprint/50/8/1081.pdf

  8. #7
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Crickets

    I have been using bean weevils more than I used to, mainly because I have so many of them. Certain frogs, such as my rubber frogs and Colorado River toad, I am comfortable feeding these insects too. Others, like my one surviving dart frog and baby red-eyes, I am not so comfortable feeding bean weevils to.

    In the past week I had no choice but to feed out weevils. The fruit fly and cricket cultures had not produced anything at that time (they are now!) Long story short, everything is A-OK. No one died!

    I guess my paranoia stems from last spring when I first got the weevil cultures. I fed a bunch out to one of my blue darts (I had two at the time, both house seperately). He went nuts eating them. After that he sat in his water bowl for about 24 hours or so, then died. I just assumed the cause of death was impaction from eating so many bean weevils, as he had been fine up untill that point.

    So since then, I have only used them in combination with other feeder insects, except for recently when I had no other choice.

  9. #8
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Ok Kurt, I just put 2 coco fibre filled containers in my adult cricket bin. I hope I get the same results. Any advice?

  10. #9
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Not really, I am still working out the bugs (no pun intended). This time I took a critter keeper and put in a substrate of coconut bedding and placed several adult crickets. They have laid eggs, but nothing has hatchet out yet. Also the enclosure has good ventilation so I am misty daily. We will see if this works.

    The last two times I was successful in producing crickets, but I was unsuccessful in raising them up. I did manage to feed some of the pinheads out to the frogs before they all died, so it wasn't a total waste. I think the reason they all died was because the humidty in the critter keeper was too low. I am hoping this approach proves to be more successful.

    If this is unsuccessful, I will use a Rubbermaid box the next time.

  11. #10
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Right behind you Kurt. Substrate has been in the cricket bin for 1.5 days, got lots of eggs. I will leave for a full 2 days and remove them tomorrow.

  12. #11
    Julia
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
    The last two times I was successful in producing crickets, but I was unsuccessful in raising them up.

    I managed to breed some brown crickets. They are about 5mm long and 4 weeks old. I can keep them alive but I cant make them grow.

    Now all I need is a frog that can see/eat crickets that small so I can call myself a successful cricket breeder!

  13. #12
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by Julia View Post
    I managed to breed some brown crickets. They are about 5mm long and 4 weeks old. I can keep them alive but I cant make them grow.

    Now all I need is a frog that can see/eat crickets that small so I can call myself a successful cricket breeder!
    After they hatch how high do you keep the humidity in the grow out container to keep them alive?

  14. #13

    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Amphibian Rescue View Post
    After they hatch how high do you keep the humidity in the grow out container to keep them alive?
    I'm on my first ever hatching of crickets, but I've yet to find a single dead one (apart from a few accidental squishings, and those that "won" the selection process to be frog food). I don't do anything for the humidity, in fact I just checked it for the first time to be 50%. Their water sources are a dish with those water absorbing crystals that I mist once or twice a day to keep them moist, and some kale or swiss chard.

    They are on a heating pad that's on a timer, on 30 minutes, then off for an hour, repeat. This keeps them between 17C and 26C or so.

    I removed the cocofibre filled tupperware from the breeding chamber on Feb.1, and they started to hatch Feb. 13th. There's a 3 to 4 hundred I think, and at least two that are now a molt or two from being full adults. This is good, I had started with about 9 male and 9 female in my breeder bin, and am now down to 6 females and 1 male with a missing hind leg, so they need replacing.

    My problem now is the large variation in sizes of crickets in my big bin. They range from nearly grown to pinhead. Makes it hard to pick out suitable sized ones for food. Also, they seem to be more athletic than the store bought ones. I used to use a 500ml yogurt container for dusting them. The store ones couldn't escape with the lid off. This new generation can jump clear out. Bigger, faster, stronger? I'm thinking of replacing the organic kale with potato chips.

  15. #14
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Good information, thanks. Somewhere in all of this we should be able to get it down to a science and then Kurt and John can make a Cricket Breeding Article for future generations of froggers.

  16. #15
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Crickets

    You know other can write articles too. We actually encourage it.

  17. #16
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Crickets

    As soon as we get it right i will compile a draft for you to look over. I sounded pretty smart there for a second huh?

  18. #17
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Crickets

    It be ok

  19. #18
    Julia
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    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Amphibian Rescue View Post
    After they hatch how high do you keep the humidity in the grow out container to keep them alive?
    Humidity is 50-60% (I mist them well once a day.) Temps are in the low 80's. Im thinking its too cold for them to grow properly. I guess I will have to wait for summer to try again.

  20. #19

    Default Re: Crickets

    Quote Originally Posted by Julia View Post
    Humidity is 50-60% (I mist them well once a day.) Temps are in the low 80's. Im thinking its too cold for them to grow properly. I guess I will have to wait for summer to try again.
    My temps translate to about 62F to 78F, and I have a few nearly full sized ones after about 6.5 weeks.

    What kind of diet are you using? Mine have some oatmeal and bran whizzed up in a food processor (this is primarily for the mealworms, but the crickets get some), kale, swiss chard, and higher-end cat food ground up into a powder with some skim milk powder mixed in. They get the cat food remnants that I sweep up after the felines have made a mess.

  21. #20
    Julia
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    Default Re: Crickets

    I feed them dry cricket commercial diet, and oatmeal. For wet food I give them whatever my Bearded Dragons are having. Things like Kale, Romaine, Carrot, Green pepper, Squash etc. I am shocked to learn that my temps are not the problem.

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