First attempt at breeding crickets (VERY small scale)

So, I've decided to breed my own crickets small scale (literally like 5 Females and 3 Males are in this 3 gallon container).

My cham is still so tiny, so I still have to purchase the small crickets...until I get mine going.

I can't bring myself to just leave them in an empty barren space...like on the youtube videos...I know it makes them easier to maintain...but I figured...since I'm going such small scale....why not make a terrarium like set up? Of course the eggs would be incubated separately....so, here's my experiment/attempt at small scale breeding crickets...without bulky tubs, or smell (I use activated charcoal for fishtanks mixed in with the sand on the bottom of container) its working so far, on keeping smell down. The crickets seem happy. I hear them sing alllllll night, and alllll day.

I'm still a little freaked out by how big these ones are 0.0 and don't like grabbing them...I can cup them just fine, but i can't grab them to hand feed the cham, tooo freaky.

I used:

2 cut water bottles made into dirt cups for the females to lay eggs

Sand from my yard (Florida)

Calcite crystals and concretions I've found, the crickets eat the calcium (i think) off of them, or maybe the limestone? Either way, they are happily eating SOMETHING off it, even after a thorough washing of my fossils 🤦‍♀️

2 single egg carton pieces. (Where one egg would sit)

Spanish moss for a little cover, and helps keep humidity nice.

The container is an old cheese puff container but the sides are tall and slippery, I use a single sheet of paper as a "lid" just in case...but they never have tried to get out (YET)

Some questions I have for the fellow crickets breeders:

1. How will I know when to take out the dirt cups for incubation, if a female lays 5-10 eggs a day, and holds multiple males supermarket for an extended time....should I rotate a series of dirt cups ones a week?

2. What are the odd of the 3 males eating the eggs? I heard the females will "push" them away from the dirt cups...but how long would she keep that up?

3. Can eggs hatch at a steady 78° once I move them to the incubation tub?

4. When the pinheads do hatch, how would you suggest giving them water if they drown easy?

5. Has anyone fed their breeder crickets "fish food" before? I own a 30+ gal with cichlids and mosquito fish, I feed them this flake food that has all natural ingredients (mainly algae, and dried veggies, spiralina, bee pollen, and added vitamin A).
 

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Oh…you’ve given them a fancy little set up. I just put a little cup of lightly moistened soil with a screen top (to prevent them from eating the eggs) in my big bin of crickets. I figure when the females need to lay some eggs, they can and will. Although I order medium crickets, I get 500 at a time so thrown in are some full sized as well. I’m not really intentionally breeding them - just thought it nice to give the females somewhere to lay their eggs, and then may as well hatch them. I replace the soil cup about every 2 weeks or so. I’ll put the soil cup in a bare container so I can see when they’ve hatched. Then I just give the pinheads small pieces of food - greens, veggies, bug burger, etc. I don’t give any of my bugs water or water crystals most of the time as they can get their fluid needs met thru their food. Only when it’s crazy hot will I give them some water crystals.
I don’t keep track of incubation temp, but I’d say they’ve been hatching at temps in the mid 70’s. I do try to keep the soil cup slightly moist which is pretty much the only thing I do for them. I wouldn’t give them fish food for fear that it may promote gout in my chameleon.
Honestly, I haven’t found it worth breeding my own crickets. It doesn’t provide enough babies and then for some reason they take forever to grow big enough. Granted, I’m not putting more than minimal effort into them, but I would think that it wouldn’t take over a month for the babies to grow 1/2”.
 
Thank you for the feedback. It's sort of an experiment. My daughter LOVES them, and imitates their movements and constantly dances to their chirps. It's the cutest. She wont even look at the chameleon. Probly because of all the brown anoles around.
I took out the water dish and replaced it with a food bowl containing some fresh greens and strawberries, as well as a raisin or two.

As for the mesh over the dirt, would you suggest like soft screen? Or like the thin small holes metal screen (often used for enclosures). The females are able to get those probes through the holes?? That's crazy!! But will be upgrading the cups now.

Do you mist the dirt cups? I slightly do just to keep the soil moist.

I can't help but to dive into rabbit holes of research on anything that seems interesting. Right now, crickets are so fascinating to me. My husband isn't a fan of the chirping. I just tell him it adds class to the atmosphere.
 
10 eggs a day LOLOLOLOLOL

Look if you have like 3-6 females, and even 1-2 get knocked up, you will have a living sea of nymphs on first batch.

Nobody is going to be eating the eggs.

Ive have very good luck using coco fiber vs dirt

Finally, calcium is poison to insects, so i would not be raising them on it. Calcium is just for the gut load as the final or semi final meal.
 
10 eggs a day LOLOLOLOLOL

Look if you have like 3-6 females, and even 1-2 get knocked up, you will have a living sea of nymphs on first batch.

Nobody is going to be eating the eggs.

Ive have very good luck using coco fiber vs dirt

Finally, calcium is poison to insects, so i would not be raising them on it. Calcium is just for the gut load as the final or semi final meal.
The calcium in question is naturally formed with the calcite crystals on the fossils I have in there, i dont think they can overload on it unless they can chew through rocks...🤦‍♀️🤣😅 but maybe it's something else in the crystal/limestone like fossils...it's almost like a salt rock to them...idk.


it maaayyy be a LAUGHING moment...BUTTTT I'm new to crickets. (Atleast the breeding part, I've fed my fair share to tarantulas I've kept.) Lmfao..and the info online says 5-10 eggs a day....obviously misleading info.....


Hints why I came here, for experienced advice.
But thanks for the quick response. I will look into coco fiber, and try it on the next cups. And definitely upgrade the incubator tub I planned on using...if there will be a "sea" of babies 🤔😅
 
Thank you for the feedback. It's sort of an experiment. My daughter LOVES them, and imitates their movements and constantly dances to their chirps. It's the cutest. She wont even look at the chameleon. Probly because of all the brown anoles around.
I took out the water dish and replaced it with a food bowl containing some fresh greens and strawberries, as well as a raisin or two.

As for the mesh over the dirt, would you suggest like soft screen? Or like the thin small holes metal screen (often used for enclosures). The females are able to get those probes through the holes?? That's crazy!! But will be upgrading the cups now.

Do you mist the dirt cups? I slightly do just to keep the soil moist.

I can't help but to dive into rabbit holes of research on anything that seems interesting. Right now, crickets are so fascinating to me. My husband isn't a fan of the chirping. I just tell him it adds class to the atmosphere.
Aww…your daughter sounds so adorable! 🤗 I use aluminum window type screening. I have scraps left over from other projects. I once tried a plastic mesh and they ate thru it. I initially make sure the soil is moist thru out and then as needed give it a mist of water. The adult females have no problem getting their freakishly long ovipositors their the screen and into the soil. I do make sure the screen is level to the soil though.
 
Aww…your daughter sounds so adorable! 🤗 I use aluminum window type screening. I have scraps left over from other projects. I once tried a plastic mesh and they ate thru it. I initially make sure the soil is moist thru out and then as needed give it a mist of water. The adult females have no problem getting their freakishly long ovipositors their the screen and into the soil. I do make sure the screen is level to the soil though.
That's how I tell the males from females correct? The long ovipositor, as you call it? I assumed the males didn't have them so I picked them out that way. Did you secure the screen with a rubber band?
 
That's how I tell the males from females correct? The long ovipositor, as you call it? I assumed the males didn't have them so I picked them out that way. Did you secure the screen with a rubber band?
I had cut the screen to fit the cup and then just tucked the edges down best I could. The other day I tried different with a rubber band and gave up and just hot glued it to the rim.
 
Yes, they can. They are super tiny. I say to use a clean bare container to put the cup in so that you’ll see them when they hatch. They look like bits of moving soil.
Yessss thank you so much. Excited to see the little guys, and get them growing for the cham, eventually. Knowing I'll be able to feed cricket to him that I bred, is super cool to me. 😅
 
I use an sandwich size disposable tuperware. Put 2 cup soil and 2/3 cup water. Mix good and set at botton of cricket container. The females will lay there. The soil must be at least one inch thick. After your batch of large crickets are gone, take one paper towel and drape it taunt over the tuperware then put the lid on tight. Incubate them at 80 degrees or higher and let them hatch once the papertowrl is covered with pinheads put the whole thing in a large tote. I use the 28 gal with the folding top. Pinheads cannot walk on plastic so i put one inch of vermeculite on the bottom with plenty of containers and silicone pillows soaked in wAter. Anything bigger then the pillow, they will drown. Get flat tops to jars and fill with corn meal or other types of fine grains/meal and fresh vegs on a piece of foil. Once they start jumping i like to make parsley trees using thw smallest waterbottles i can find.. They will eat the leaves which last since they are in water. replenish as needed. After that they should be big enough to feed to you cham. The minute you hear the adult males chirp put the lay bin in again for the next batch. They live a 90 day cycle and once the males start chirping they only have 2-3 weeks to live and mate befire they die. The female can only lay eggs once the center spike is an inch long.
 
Oh btw, if the soil is dried out wet the papertowel and proceed.
Thank you! That's some great info! Based on what you've said, I presume my males (the ones in the breeding tub) are too young to chirp...or already have...my other tub of them sings all night and all day...I'm wondering if I grabbed young males....their wings don't seem to be used yet, but they are DEFF male compared to the alienlike tube of the females. Would the females I pulled from the larger tub to breed...store sperm from the males from the large bin? Didn't take this into consideration.


Haven't heard singing from the breeding bucket yet... have seen females in the dirt cups though! I'll be picking up vermiculite and some lovely dark soil (time to restock for my plant addiction anyways).


If the males in the breeder are a little too young to sing...how long until they do?
 
Thank you! That's some great info! Based on what you've said, I presume my males (the ones in the breeding tub) are too young to chirp...or already have...my other tub of them sings all night and all day...I'm wondering if I grabbed young males....their wings don't seem to be used yet, but they are DEFF male compared to the alienlike tube of the females. Would the females I pulled from the larger tub to breed...store sperm from the males from the large bin? Didn't take this into consideration.


Haven't heard singing from the breeding bucket yet... have seen females in the dirt cups though! I'll be picking up vermiculite and some lovely dark soil (time to restock for my plant addiction anyways).


If the males in the breeder are a little too young to sing...how long until they do?
No storage lifespan too short. They only live 90 days. I have timed the singing thing. Once they all die off, papertowel then civer the containers. I like to place them on heTing paD on low heat with a towel on top of the heating pAD so it doesnt get too hot. oeak in every coupke of weeks until the papertowel is covered with black specs. Then put the container in the nursery with the top removed let the papwrtowel stay halfway on and off the soilbin The wRmth will help them grow. Make sure to keep water pullows for them a fine ground grains like wheatgerm. On flat lids. Once they get a bit bigger and startt hopping around intro fresh stuff. Like paRsely. I think you are on thw right track. Good luck. Remember the morw room crickets have the better they do. Overcrowding is litterally a killer!
 
No storage lifespan too short. They only live 90 days. I have timed the singing thing. Once they all die off, papertowel then civer the containers. I like to place them on heTing paD on low heat with a towel on top of the heating pAD so it doesnt get too hot. oeak in every coupke of weeks until the papertowel is covered with black specs. Then put the container in the nursery with the top removed let the papwrtowel stay halfway on and off the soilbin The wRmth will help them grow. Make sure to keep water pullows for them a fine ground grains like wheatgerm. On flat lids. Once they get a bit bigger and startt hopping around intro fresh stuff. Like paRsely. I think you are on thw right track. Good luck. Remember the morw room crickets have the better they do. Overcrowding is litterally a killer!
Thank you! They have stopped singing ingested! So I guess it's time for incubation. I have a small reptile heating pad for my baby ball pythons when I breed them...is that suffice?
 
I have noticed that if males and females are in close proximaty the males dont sing. If you think about it, its a call that goes out at night acroiss long distances. They may not need to exude that energy if they dont have to. Have niticed when i put them in the cage, they start singing. Just an observation.
 
Yes heating pad good. Just make sure its a steady warm. If the soil gets too hot, you will kill the eggs. Setup the nursery now. There is a shortage on vermiculite. You will have to order it online, not in stores. The pinheads cant walk on plastic which is why you neef a substrate. The small pic is !y nursrey the large is my adult holding and breeding bin
 

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