Have you been dreaming on how to start a successful cricket farm? Establishing a cricket farm is ideal to ensure cheap and nutritious food for your pet reptiles, including bearded dragons, lizards, geckos, frogs, fish, and spiders that enjoy eating crickets.
Create a cricket farm by preparing their homes, buying the crickets, feeding them, creating their maternity home, incubating their eggs, raising the infants, then adding them to the main farm. The cricket life cycle from an egg to an adult takes 2-3 months with the adults living for about 6 weeks.
Unlike commercial farming of crickets, small-scale farming of crickets for your pets is an easy task that nourishes them well. These feeder insects are easy to manage and require minimum effort. Among all functions, the regular misting required is the most demanding task in crickets farming.
Why Raise Crickets?
Individuals raise crickets for many reasons. Here are some reasons why people raise crickets:
1. For Consumption
Crickets have high contents of proteins, fat, minerals, fiber, vitamins, and minerals beneficial for your gut health. They have been known to contain more protein per density than chicken or beef can provide per bite. In addition, crickets are considered more environmentally friendly protein sources than other animal-based sources of proteins such as beef or chicken. Together with edible mealworms, insect protein can be easily sourced from crickets.
Not to forget, edible crickets have a unique nutty, slightly smoky essence. They have a pleasant umami flavor that deepens with roasting. There are over 60 species of edible crickets. The most common ones are Brachytrupes membranaceous, Gryllus bimaculatus, Gryllus similis, Acheta domesticus, and Gryllotalpa Orientalis.
2. For Your Birds
As earlier stated, crickets have high nutrient contents helpful for your health. They can provide the same nutritional value to your birds. This makes them an inexpensive source of proteins for your flock, ensuring a healthy breed of birds.
3. For Fishing
Crickets are ideally used as bait for fishing. As a fisherman, you can consider securing them as your bait. Considering that crickets are easy and inexpensive to raise, it is economical in the long run. In addition, raising crickets as bait is convenient as you don’t have to shop for bait before you can fish.
4. For Reptile Pets
Crickets are a good treat for your reptile pets. Any reptile pet owner should consider raising crickets as a high-protein snack for their pets. Like silk-making silkworms, reptile pets like bearded dragons and leopard geckos enjoy worms of various types.
Raising crickets is relatively inexpensive as compared to purchasing. Therefore, taking advantage of this art saves you money.
5. For Commercial Purposes
Cricket farming is ideal for anyone looking for an extra stream of income. It is a considerably cheap business to run that is lucrative due to the high demand for crickets. Therefore, you can consider starting a cricket farming business as an ideal source of income.
How To Start a Cricket Farm
Like starting a worm farm, starting a cricket farm is very simple. They only need a few items following a few steps involved in the preparation such as a cricket farm kit. After understanding everything, you should be ready to find a reliable consumption of the crickets or to start a business.
Here is everything you need to do to raise crickets:
1. Prepare Their Home
Preparing a cricket home requires very little and is very easy. It would be best to have a high 14-gallon bin with smooth sides. The high sides are meant to prevent the crickets from quickly jumping out of the bin. Bins indented on their sides are inefficient as crickets use the indentions to jump out of the bin.
Also, ensure you choose the right bin since your crickets need to be supplied with fresh water regularly. Shallow water dishes or water pads ensure crickets do not drown in the water.
Notably, crickets require fresh air for breathing. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure a well-ventilated bin for their survival.
2. Purchase The Crickets
After their home is ready, you will need to buy the crickets. You can get crickets from a local supplier or a reliable online store. 500 crickets are suitable for a start. A constant temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained in the crickets’ bin.
3. Feed The Crickets
Now that you have crickets in their home, you need to feed them for their survival. Feeding crickets depends on their primary purpose.
If you are growing crickets for consumption, you need to be careful about the feeds you are giving them. This is because crickets taste almost similar to the food they consume. Therefore, you need to select a suitable diet to enhance their flavor.
However, if you are rearing crickets for animals’ consumption, feed them with the most-effective food for you. Plants such as cucumbers, pumpkin, corn, barley, wheat, and vegetables are perfect for crickets.
4. Create a Maternity Area
Crickets need to lay eggs hence the need for a specific area to lay their eggs. Creating such space is quite simple as you only need to fill a small tray with topsoil and then place it inside the bin.
Later, you should often sprinkle water on the tray’s soil to ensure crickets lay their eggs there. Signs of eggs on the soil are noticed with tiny grains of rice that stick up. After such signs are seen, remove the tray and prepare for the next stage.
5. Incubate The Eggs
For cricket eggs to be hatched, they need to be incubated at a warm temperature with a 90% humidity level. You can use a regular incubator or place the eggs under a heating pad or a heat lamp to provide warmth.
Most preferably, an incubator is ideal as it provides an easy route for you to control the humidity level. The eggs are hatched within 7-10 days from incubation.
It is important to note that you should spray water on the soil in the tray on a daily routine during incubation. This is crucial as it ensures that the crickets hatch.
6. Raise The Infants
After the crickets’ eggs have hatched, you need to have a separate area to raise them before they become of size to be mixed with other large crickets on the farm.
You will need to feed the infant crickets with high amounts of proteins at this stage. Small bites of tofu and chicken are good protein sources for their requirements. Infant crickets should spend one month in the infant center growing and maturing.
7. Add Them to The Main Farm
After one month has elapsed and the infant crickets have gained the required size to be integrated into the main farm, you can confidently transfer them.
After a few weeks after transferring them, they will be ready for breeding, joining the cycle of the cricket colony.
Putting these steps in action will ensure crickets are often rotating, growing your cricket farm.
Cricket Farming Precautions
Here are necessary precautions to keep in mind during your cricket farming project:
1. Ensure The Right Humidity During Incubation
A humidity level of 80% should be maintained in the incubation area. This can be achieved by spraying water on the soil daily. Avoid soaking up the soil too much as you may encourage mold growth.
2. Ensure The Right Diet for Your Crickets
If you are breeding crickets for consumption, ensure you wisely choose the crickets’ food. Crickets have a flavor almost similar to the food they have been consuming. In addition, a good diet for your crickets ensures they have a high nutritional value.
3. Ensure The Right Temperature for Incubation
The preferred temperature for crickets’ incubation is 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can be maintained easily with the help of an incubator.
4. Ensure A Clean Farm
Dirty colonies have an awful smell. Maintaining a clean colony ensures that the foul odor is minimized. You can clean the farm every week to ensure that the crickets are in a clean place.
Cricket Farming Pros and Cons
The advantages and disadvantages of cricket farming include the following:
|Quality nutrition||Can escape|
|Easily available||Smelly when dirty|
Cricket farming comes with many advantages that may include:
- Cost-Effective: Compared to purchasing crickets, growing them is relatively cheap as it only requires an average of $50 to start a colony of between 200 and 300 crickets.
- Quality Nutrition: Since you are directly feeding crickets to be fed on by your animals. You can easily ensure high nutritious feeder crickets for your pets through a proper diet.
- Easily Available: With a cricket farm, you have easy access to crickets without any struggle. You don’t need to waste time shopping for crickets for any use.
This makes them some of the best insects to raise on the farm. You easily can raise edible crickets when you adhere to the requirements set by the government and other agencies.
Here are some disadvantages of rearing crickets:
- Noisy: Male crickets are too noisy and it can be a considerable disadvantage to put them in places where noise bothers people.
- Can escape: Crickets will escape when the farm becomes increasingly significant after reproduction. They are challenging to locate and easily chirp into neighboring indoors.
- Smelly When Dirty: An awful smell can be released from the colony if hygiene is not well maintained.
Still, they’re among the best insects to keep in the home. Combined with hornworms for bearded dragons and other pets, crickets can significantly improve the health of your pets.
As you have seen, keeping crickets is an easy task and comes with several benefits. A successful cricket farm supplies you with a nutritious diet for you and your animals’ consumption. In addition, it saves on the cost of purchasing crickets and provides you with quality crickets that you always look for. Most importantly, the colony is easy to manage and can be lucrative. This detailed guide on how to farm crickets provides the needed knowledge to be a success at it.
University of Wisconsin Madison. Six-Legged Livestock Could Solve Food Shortages — Sustainably.
University of Kentucky. REARING CRICKETS.
The Texas A&M University. RAISING CRICKETS FOR FISH BAIT.