Help with Cricket Setup

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Looking for help from the pro's

So, I had to hurry up and switch gears to crickets since currently that is the only thing my 4 1/2 month old panther will eat.

I ordered 250 1/2" banded crickets from Josh's Frogs.

I bought two of the following plastic totes and cut out the top of it and hot glued screen over the hole.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sterilite-80-Qt-Gasket-Box-19384304/308820138

I also bought 10 egg crates and currently have 5 of them standing up in the tub offsetting each other so that they wont collapse into each other.

Currently feeding them with the same gut load that I'm giving to the Dubia's. Arcadia insect fuel, bug burger, and bee pollen.

How often should I clean the enclosure? Do I just switch everything from one bin to the other?

Should I buy dermestid beetle's for the cricket enclosure?

My garage is semi heated/cooled. Right now it is around 70 degrees but will get down to the low 50's in the wintertime when the outside temps are in the 20-30's. What temps do I need a heater? Do I just slap on of those heating pads to the side of the plastic tote with a regulator?

Do I need a water source, and if so what is the best to use?

Thanks,

Tony
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
To clean, I move the egg crates with crickets to 5 gallon bucket while I clean and disinfect their bin with StarSans. How often will probably depend on how many you have. They get nasty fast because crickets are nasty.

I don’t like dermestid because the beetles fly. I think I have buffalo beetles in mine? I can remember.

You want crickets warm so they gutload properly, I have found they don’t eat enough if kept room temp or colder. I have CHE on mine, with a temp gradient, hottest being around 85 I think. I’m not home so can’t check right now.

For water source I use fresh orange slices. If you are using gelled bug burger (instead of dry), that will be a moisture source as well.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I am using gelled gut load kept in 1/2" ice cube tray in the refrigerator.
That might be enough? I'm not sure since I always throw orange slices in as well. Maybe someone else will chime in. crickets are stupid and will drown in any amount of water so you cant have a water dish, but you could have a water dish with a sponge and they'd drink the water from the sponge. But of course it gets gross real fast. Crickets just make everything nasty.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree, I hate having them. But Peri is too young to do the force feeder migration over to Dubia's.
 

mkeBob

Avid Member
The banded crickets from Josh's Frogs aren't as dirty or noisy as other crickets. Your 20 gallon containers are a good size for the amount of crickets you bought. If you cut the egg crate into smaller pieces and lay them down spread out on the bottom you won't even need to cover your bin until they're almost full grown and it will be much easier to transfer to a smaller container for in the house or for dusting. Remember those crickets will be growing faster then your chameleon so when they get to 3/4" cut back a bit on the quantity you feed him. When they get full grown, about 1"+, cut back a bit again. And don't worry, your chameleon will be able to eat full grown crickets by then. Also I would buy water crystals and use four low containers, two for water crystals and two for food put in opposite corners of the bin.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
I agree, I hate having them. But Peri is too young to do the force feeder migration over to Dubia's.
Oh yeah, definitely. My cham is 11 months and still loves them too. He is hit or miss with roaches. Sometimes he goes for them no problem, sometimes he wont touch them. I have other herps that eat crickets too so they are just part of my rotation on feeders. I'm waiting to really do tough love until he is 100% feeling better. (We are still dealing with a mild RI so he's being a picky eater right now: "Roaches, no. Crickets, no. BSFL, no. Silkworms, eh. Grasshoppers, hell yeah!")
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
The banded crickets from Josh's Frogs aren't as dirty or noisy as other crickets. Your 20 gallon containers are a good size for the amount of crickets you bought. If you cut the egg crate into smaller pieces and lay them down spread out on the bottom you won't even need to cover your bin until they're almost full grown and it will be much easier to transfer to a smaller container for in the house or for dusting. Remember those crickets will be growing faster then your chameleon so when they get to 3/4" cut back a bit on the quantity you feed him. When they get full grown, about 1"+, cut back a bit again. And don't worry, your chameleon will be able to eat full grown crickets by then. Also I would buy water crystals and use four low containers, two for water crystals and two for food put in opposite corners of the bin.
I thought I read someplace to have the egg crates standing up so that the cricket poop won't collect on them?

Can you link the low containers you are talking about?

I did buy the insect watering gel from Josh's Frogs, but just have it laying on the bottom on the tote in one corner and the gut load in the other corner. (I figured it would tie me over until I knew for sure if I need water for them or not)

https://www.joshsfrogs.com/josh-s-frogs-insect-watering-gel-16-oz.html
 

mkeBob

Avid Member
I use a petri dish. I put my dry food in the low half and use the deeper side for the water crystals. The smaller container would be like a cricket keeper. Smaller but with good air exchange.
 

Brentholey

Established Member
I’m no expert by any means but I’ve just started keeping crickets, I got them from Josh’s frogs. and I’m using bug burger gel form and I find that the crickets still take advantage of the water crystals. Idk if they’re necessary or not but I know they like them. I also give fresh carrots and fresh kale. They love the kale!... easy low dish: I cut the bottom off of a plastic water bottle 3/4”-1” tall and use that for the crystals the crickets poop a lot and that keeps the portions small so there is less waste.( cause I change them a lot)
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
To clean, I move the egg crates with crickets to 5 gallon bucket while I clean and disinfect their bin with StarSans. How often will probably depend on how many you have. They get nasty fast because crickets are nasty.

I don’t like dermestid because the beetles fly. I think I have buffalo beetles in mine? I can remember.

You want crickets warm so they gutload properly, I have found they don’t eat enough if kept room temp or colder. I have CHE on mine, with a temp gradient, hottest being around 85 I think. I’m not home so can’t check right now.

For water source I use fresh orange slices. If you are using gelled bug burger (instead of dry), that will be a moisture source as well.
@Rst_Cham

Can you post a picture of your setup with the CHE? I'm going to have to go this route since the garage gets cold in the winter and I don't want a light on 24 hours a day.

What kind of buffalo beetles do you have? Do they just eat the dead crickets and shed skins or do they also help out with the poop?
 

Brentholey

Established Member
Rainbow mealworms sells buffalo beetles lesser mealworms I put some in my cricket bins and in my roach bins. The ones in the roach bins have multiplied like crazy in just 2 weeks or so. The ones in the cricket bins have not done much at all. I’m guessing the difference is the surplus of dry dubia food and frass gives them a place to breed and hide. the cricket bins are more bare bottom and less extra food floating around.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
@Rst_Cham

Can you post a picture of your setup with the CHE? I'm going to have to go this route since the garage gets cold in the winter and I don't want a light on 24 hours a day.

What kind of buffalo beetles do you have? Do they just eat the dead crickets and shed skins or do they also help out with the poop?
Hi, sorry, I'm currently out of town for the next week but I basically have a sterilite bin like you do and I just hang my CHE fixture above by about 4 inches or so. @snitz427 had a nice set up for her bugs where she uses metal vent grates to place the lamps right on top so you wouldn't have to bother with hanging. The hanging does make the bins easily accessible though.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi, sorry, I'm currently out of town for the next week but I basically have a sterilite bin like you do and I just hang my CHE fixture above by about 4 inches or so. @snitz427 had a nice set up for her bugs where she uses metal vent grates to place the lamps right on top so you wouldn't have to bother with hanging. The hanging does make the bins easily accessible though.

Yes, i have to move the lights around carefully when dealing with the bugs. If I were in the enclosures more than weekly I would hang them, or make sure there is adequate space to put the light when in the container. It gets very hot. The perk of having it so close is that the temps are higher. I also use the radiant heat directly above the lights for my roaches
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
3CACFE58-778C-4869-A534-6967D6A2078E.jpeg
 

kinyonga

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm "lazy"... I have two big plastic containers for the crickets so to clean the cage they're in I simply put fresh chunks of egg carton in the clean container and then transfer the crickets to the clean bin. That leaves the dirty one free to clean.
 

Tony_S

Chameleon Enthusiast
Ok,

Now that the outside temps are getting colder. I need to move the cricket tote inside my house and out of my garage.

The temps in my downstairs is usually 66-68 degrees in the winter time. This is the same area that my chameleon is in so I'm looking to use a ceramic heat emitter instead of a light bulb for the heat since I need it dark for Peri to sleep.

Any brand name better than others? Also what wattage do you suggest I get to keep the tote around 80 degrees? Currently I have most of the lid cut out and replaced with vinyl screen, is the vinyl fine to use with the CHE is it is not touching it? Should I replace this lid with one with a smaller section cut out or do I still need most of the lid cut out for ventilation?

Or is it better to get a heating pad and have the tote sit on top of it?

Thanks,

Tony
 
Top Bottom