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Thread: Preparing for the cricket plague...

  1. #1
    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Preparing for the cricket plague...

    I am preparing for the possibly imminent cricket plague, (i.e. virus), and I'd like to settle on a nutritious alternative to feed my big eyed tree frogs and leopard geckos, just in case it becomes difficult to obtain live crickets.

    My big eyes will eat anything, but my leopard geckos ignored mealworms, so I'm more concerned about their finicky-ness. (I would have put this on a reptile forum, but this place seems to have more people who are more likely to know nutritional info and other good little factoids than the reptile forums I poke around on occasion, so I thought I would try here first.)

    Mealworms -- ruled out because leos won't eat them. I might try again when they're really hungry, but they were so disintrested that I'm not holding out much hope.

    Superworms -- not size appropriate for leos. (at least, the ones they sell nearby are massive)

    Roaches -- they sound like perfect feeders... but I grew up in a first-floor NYC apartment with SERIOUS roach problems. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say that the only living things that I am irrationally afraid of are roaches. I cannot share my home with anything that looks like a roach. I tried to talk myself into it. I looked up each feeder species to see how "roach-ey" it actually looked. I just can't do it.

    Hornworms -- not size appropriate for leos. (at least, the ones they sell nearby are massive)

    Waxworms -- too fatty.

    Ok. Tat's everything my local reptile shop carries, so I'm about to venture back into the world of online feeders. I really just want to try a few things out, see if my geckos like anything, and know that I can order it in bulk if it becomes difficult to pick up crickets at the shop because they're becoming decimated by plague.

    Before I start dropping loads of money on things my leopard geckos might not eat, I thought I'd get your own experiences with the following feeders -- pros, cons, etc. I've read up on them online, but commercial websites are a little biased toward making every feeder sound great, practical, convenient, and nutritious, so I'd like your take on:

    Butterworms (I feel a little guilty about wild-caught, international insects, and aren't they pretty fatty?); Silkworms (seem expensive); Pheoenix worms; and hornworms (if I can buy the smaller sizes; I've read they grow very quickly and are less likely to survive when small, so I'm not sure if that would work).

    Any advice, before I go spend my money to try them out?

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Quote Originally Posted by adawinters View Post
    I am preparing for the possibly imminent cricket plague, (i.e. virus), and I'd like to settle on a nutritious alternative to feed my big eyed tree frogs and leopard geckos, just in case it becomes difficult to obtain live crickets.
    Is this likely to happen? (not that a backup plan is ever bad a idea)

    Quote Originally Posted by adawinters View Post
    Mealworms -- ruled out because leos won't eat them. I might try again when they're really hungry, but they were so disintrested that I'm not holding out much hope.
    Is the adult beetle form of the mealworm a possibility? They move faster than the larvae. I'm not sure how they rate nutritionally though.

    Quote Originally Posted by adawinters View Post
    Roaches -- they sound like perfect feeders... but I grew up in a first-floor NYC apartment with SERIOUS roach problems. I'll spare you the details, but let's just say that the only living things that I am irrationally afraid of are roaches. I cannot share my home with anything that looks like a roach. I tried to talk myself into it. I looked up each feeder species to see how "roach-ey" it actually looked. I just can't do it.
    They do sound like great feeders. Having lived in an infested apartment building myself, I don't blame you.

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    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Quote Originally Posted by UncleChester View Post
    Is this likely to happen? (not that a backup plan is ever bad a idea)

    I don't know how much of a problem it is, but I've read a few threads about cricket virus on other forums. I can't find them all, but here are two threads that mention it:

    Cricket Virus in the USA - www.ReptileForums.com

    I guess I don't understand cricket care...need help - talk to the frog

  5. #4
    Tropicok
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Feeding, a never-ending dilema delimma, dilemna, whatever. Is there a spelling ap on this forum? I'm trying the "hatching cricket eggs" again. Since I usually buy two different small and 1/4 sizes and the d**n things grow I am always confused. Doesn't take much. Wax worms are not available at pet shops here and earthworms are few and far between in my yard. The lb. of red wigglers I had sent have disappeared into and under the compost pile. I can buy nightcrawlers at the bait shop but it's 12 for $3 and the redfoot tortoises get them first. No point to this paragraph, just wanted to share.

  6. #5
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    After going to the sites hyperlinked, I believe there is no virus. Just poor husbandry of crickets. Either they are being kept too cool, or they are over crowded, whatever. I have a tendency to think its an over crowding issue, considering its only effecting adult crickets. A thousand adult crickets take up more room than a thousand juveniles.

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    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    It's almost scarier if there is no virus, because that means the rumormill is really getting misinfo around quickly. I've seen mention of it on a number of forums, and my local store seemed to have heard about it, when I voiced my concerns. I'm not complaining, of course, since no virus = endless crickets.

    Still, I'm curious to know what input, if any, people have on the above feeders.

  8. #7
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt View Post
    After going to the sites hyperlinked, I believe there is no virus. Just poor husbandry of crickets. Either they are being kept too cool, or they are over crowded, whatever. I have a tendency to think its an over crowding issue, considering its only effecting adult crickets. A thousand adult crickets take up more room than a thousand juveniles.
    After lots of research I tend to believe this as well. The only believable thing I could find is a reference to a form of Parvo that crickets can get but even that was obscure. I'm going with poor husbandry.

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    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    That's a relief... and I feel a little guilty, now, for (inadvertently) spreading misinformation!

    In defense of my misinformation, at the time that I first started seeing posts about it, my cricket store was out of all but the smallest crickets (which according to the myth o' virus were less affected), thus my readily belief in "lore." Sigh. I feel a bit sheepish now.

  10. #9
    Kurt
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    I wouldn't believe any rumor until its in print in a reputable publication or web site, and a forum like ours and anybody elses does not count, as anyone can post it.

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    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    I'm aware of that; Thing is that I spend 9 months of the year being a responsible researcher, of sorts, so the 3 months when I have more leisure time to poke around online and chat about animals, I am a little less thorough. (Sigh -- the burnout from a PhD program. I'm also studying for comprehensive finals in August, so I feel obligated to have any formal reading I do function as prep for that fun ol' test. I should also mention that this is all in the humanities, so my work-life-research and my play-life-research don't really overlap).

    Admittedly, I fell for the myth simply because it was widespread. It's a good think y'all are around to keep the myths in line. I knew this was the right place to ask.

  12. #11
    Paul Rust
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    I think it is great that you brought it up here because as you said it is widespread and people are freaking out about it. The good thing about this forum is we are not inclined to make knee jerk statements and we are careful that good information is passed on. I didn't really think you stated anything in panic mode, you were just looking for alternatives whitch is always a good idea. Even though it is probably a husbandry issue, the result may be the same, a cricket shortage may be on the horizon because of it.

  13. #12

    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Mealworms and superworms are high in something called chittin, which is like gum to reptiles. They cant fully digest it. I wouldnt feed them mealies all the time. Waxworms are good. Red wrigglers are by far best high protein, low fat. I myself bought some pheonix worms at an expo. There is a place online that sells feeder insects. Personally since I own turtles, I can opt for dead insects. :P Lol e.i. they arent too picky. Roaches are good as well high in protein. If I were you, dont breed them. Just buy them and pop em in. I know what you're going through. In puertorico these mofo roaches were HUGGGE the size of a freaking rat, and worse part was THEY FLEW! I would get my bat whack them, light em on fire. If they were in the kitchen, my parents knew I wouldnt eat ifI saw one crawl around. So they had to heavily spray, and buy new foods because I would have rather starved myself than eat in a house thats infested. I was like 10, so yeah. xD I was extremely finicky. Iam not afraid an ymore but I dislike them. If I see one I still burn them. Or put them in hot boiling water, or acid. Yeah yeah thats cruel to roaches, but if you had a flying roach fly up to you and land on your face when your 10years old. Lol

  14. #13
    100+ Post Member adawinters's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preparing for the cricket plague...

    Well, since you were brave enough to share your roach story, Deku, I will share mine. As I mentioned, I lived in NYC on the first floor of an apartment building. (For those of you not in the know, 1st floor = above the trash compactor/basement area i.e. right above where roaches love to hide and play). We had those regular little roaches, and what we call waterbugs, the big 1.5-2 inch, flying yuckies. (I think in the south the terms are reversed? I've also heard the biggies referred to as palmetto bugs.)

    Ok. So... roaches love kitchens. On more than one occasion, I would get a drink of water in the middle of the night, and wake up a moment later with a waterbug (i.e. big freakin thing) on me. (Once, I woke up with one in my cleavage.) Mind you, this all was during my ever so impressionable childhood. I eventually learned to turn the light on and count to ten before entering the kitchen, and over time, the neighborhood got classier, and the new management started some manner of annual pest control, because it's nowhere near as bad now when I go visit my father in that same apartment. In fact, I don't think I've seen any roaches there in the last few years.

    So... roaches are seriously out of the question for me. Put me in the middle of a swarm of spiders, bees, rats... you name it, and I'm fine. One roach will give me insomnia for nights.

    On that note, back to the original question: who's got dirt on silkworms, butterworms, or phoenix worms?

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