4 advice to improve your crickets farm
In this article, I won’t explain you how to install a cricket farm, because there’s already a lot online, like the method from Fluckerfarms or Melissa Kaplan. I’d rather give you some advice I got from people I met and from my own experience ; indeed I raised crickets in Vietnam.
First advice : crickets vs humidity
It is very important not to let the humidity increase in the crickets tray, I mean REALLY important. Why ? Because adults crickets need 50% of humidity, which is quite low (contrary to the eggs that need almost 100% of humidity). If the humidity is too high, some virus will appear and moisture will develop on their feed.
How to keep the humidity low ?
- Never let feed in decomposition at the bottom of the tray, and don’t put anything to create a floor, crickets don’t need one. Moisture could appear because of the excretions on the floor, even if it’s sand.
- Change the dry feed (seeds, flours) and wash the feed container (or change it) once a week. Indeed crickets humidify their food by pooping while eating.
- Don’t let vegetables more than 24h inside the tray.
- Change the water point every day or two days.
Second advice : How to feed the crickets ?
Crickets are omnivorous so it’s easy to feed them, even if their small mouth doesn’t bite everything. They will not eat the leaf veins for example, or fruit hard peels ! The trick is to grind the driest food, and give them small doses of soft plants as a complement.
Here is a list of feed that crickets love:
- Chinese cabbage
- Carrots (also peel and leaves)
- Apples (also peel)
- Radish (also peel)
- Green banana leaves
Feed rich in protein
- Crushed cereals (Most of people use the feed preparation for chickens)
- Crushed dried fruits
- Crushed fried fish
- Crushed fried leguminous plants
- Perennial peanuts
- Soy sprouts or germinated seeds (alfalfa)
Plants must be ORGANIC or at least free of pesticides !
To increase the protein content of crickets, you can give them a protein concentrate three days before harvesting them 😉
Third advice: water, a critical point
Do rickets need to drink water? YES !
Could they just use the water inside the plants they’re eating ? NO ! Not in a farm at optimal temperature, so between 25°C and 30°C and plus, they don’t eat enough plants to get the water they need in an industrial crickets farm!
How to give them water to drink?
Some people will use a piece of cotton soaked with water. However this method has a real harm : cotton rot quickly, and a putrid smell can emanate from it. Plus, a moldy cotton is for sure a source of diseases ! Others regularly spray crickets with water, but it increases the humidity, which can lead to diseases.
I’ll give you an other method I learned from crickets farms:
- a material which can be soaked by water (sponge paper)
- A plastic tray two centimeters deep
After washing the stones, fill the tray with water, wrap it with the sponge paper and put it on the stones. That’s it ! Don’t forget to change water, and wash frequently the paper. As you can see on the picture, it doesn’t escape from crickets excretions !
Fourth advice: Egg boxes, right or wrong ?
Cardboard egg boxes can be perfect to raise crickets for several reasons :
- It offers them a big surface to move.
- It creates some shadow areas where they can hide.
- By tying boxes together, you can shake them off and collect the crickets once matures.
- It is easy to find and quite cheap!
Unfortunately, after few months raising insects on cardboard egg boxes, one can notice some complications:
- Crickets bite the cardboard or even eat it. This is not supposed to be for animals or humans consumption and some chemicals molecules may therefore get into the crickets!
- This kind of cardboard gets wet very quickly and if you put fresh vegetables on it, it increases the risk of moisture developments.
- Once the boxes get bitten by crickets and soaked by their feed and excretions, it becomes harder to handle while harvesting.
- Egg boxes must be thrown out after each crickets generation and therefore it increases the costs.
What should we do then? Here are some ideas to replace cardboard egg boxes:
- Use egg boxes in plastic, a bit more expensive but washable and reusable ! But beware, crickets can’t grab onto plastic, so you have to “sand” it to make the surface rougher.
- In China, cockroach breeders use curved rubber surfaces. Is it really rubber ? The information must be verified…
- A Mexican company, GriYUM, uses some thicker cardboard to create a 3D area. This picks up the idea of egg boxes but crickets can’t bite in it, and it doesn’t get wet by their excretions !
- In Asia, cricket breeders use dried banana leaves, I used this method myself. Those are at least edible, and really easy to find !