Are you tired of visiting the pet store, again and again, to buy crickets every week to feed your squirmy, scaly, furry little friend? If you are a true believer in DIY, you might be interested in raising crickets for food. By doing so, you will get a sturdy and free source of crickets within your home’s comfort.
The main sustenance for bearded dragons and various reptiles and amphibians is house crickets. In case you have any of them, you know, having a constant and reliable cricket supplier is necessary.
Additionally, crickets can also be used for fishing, or you can even start a severe crickets farming business and sell the once you raise.
Here comes the question of how to breed crickets? In the article, we have provided in detail the full process of breeding. Read it to know about the crickets breeding process.
Let’s note the few pros and cons of breeding crickets for bearded dragons before we explain how to breed crickets for bearded dragons.
Pros and Cons to Crickets Breeding
Before you take this big step here are a few things you should consider
• You will have a constant and reliable supply of crickets for the breaded dragon. Also, it is cheaper to breed your crickets than to buy them from pet stores.
• It is an excellent opportunity to own some money if you find the right place to sell them in your area.
• Crickets can be noisy, so you should have a place to put them where this won’t become a problem
• Some of the crickets might escape while transferring them from one container to another. So, put some insecticides pallets like those used for killing earwigs in the room. This will ensure they don’t take over the house.
• Breeding crickets can be a bit smelly. However, if the environment is kept clean, the smell can be reduced significantly.
Now, as you know, the pros and cons of reading crickets, let’s move forward to understand crickets breeding setup.
Crickets Breeding Setup
To understand how to breed crickets, you must know everything about setting up a cricket farm. A cricket farm consists of breeding, nesting, and a rearing container.
• The breeding container is where we build a habitat for the crickets to live and breed. Also, these crickets are the ones you will use to feed your bearded dragons or other reptiles.
• The nesting container is where the crickets lay eggs.
• Finally, the rearing container is the place where we place the nesting container for the eggs to hatch. Also, it is the container where crickets stay until they go into the breeding container again or are sold off.
1. Breeding container
For setting up a breeding place, you will need-
• 20 Gallon Rubbermaid tub with cover
• Aluminum mosquito screen
• Hot glue gun
• Egg flats
• Jars for food and water
One of the reasons crickets die on a farm is due to the lack of ventilation. So, you must provide a breeding container with plenty of air.
For a proper ventilation system, we will cut big holes on both the ends of the Rubbermaid tab and on the cover. While cutting the vents, make sure you leave a 3-inch border at the top. This will ensure the crickets don’t climb to the edge and jump out when the container is opened.
Now we will cut a piece of aluminum mosquito screen for both the holes. Keep in mind to cut the screen pieces bigger than the holes so that they can be glued easily. Use the hot glue gun out to fix the screen to the tub.
Once our ventilation system is ready, we will glue 3 or 4 egg flats together
. This will make it easy to handle. Finally, leave the exit in the breeding container.
2. Nesting Container
Fore setting of the nesting container you will need-
• Sandwich tub
• Some kind of substrate like Eco-Earth
• Something to make holes on the sandwich tub cover
A nesting container is more comfortable to set up. All you need to do is fix the substrate inside, leaving about half an inch from the top of the soil to the container’s rim.
Now drill holes into the sandwich top cover.
You will need the following for setting up rearing container-
• Medium sweater box
• Egg flats
• Something to make holes on the sweater box cover.
• Cello-tape or packing tape
• Jar covers for food and water
You need to drill holes on the sweater box cover about 1 inch apart. This will ensure the baby crickets do not escape from the sweater box.
Additionally, to guarantee it doesn’t happen, you can tie a strip of white cello tape of packing tape around the container’s entire rim.
Before we move forward to raising crickets for food, it is essential to know what crickets drink and eat. This is because crickets can die or feed on each other if they don’t get adequate nutrition.
If the quality of food you feed them is not good, then the crickets won’t be good for your bearded dragon or other reptiles.
What do they eat?
There are several commercial products in the market like Nature Zone Crickets Food Bites or Fluker’s High Calcium Crickets Feed. However, if you wish to create a domestic cricket for then, here is a simple recipe for you-
Mix commercial dried cat food in a tub with ten part-skim milk powder with one of the good-quality calcium supplements required by reptiles and amphibians. Now shake it so that the Powder coats the cat food well.
What they drink?
Giving them water can be a problem if you serve them on a jar cover as the crickets can drown. While if you use a ball of damp cotton wool or sponge, bacterial issues can arise, which can be quite messy.
So, the best shot is to buy a commercial product like Fluker’s Crickets Quencher or Nature Zone Crickets Water Bites.
Also, you can make your water gel by mixing water crystals with water.
How many crickets to feed a bearded dragon?
For healthy, adult bearded dragons, you need to feed them around ten crickets a day and around 20 during single breeding. In contrast, a baby juvenile dragon need to feed 30-80 crickets a day.
How many crickets should a baby bearded dragon eat?
You need to feed the extremely young dragons five times a day and eat as much as they want in a 5-10 minutes session.
The older babies must be fed with less protein with more greens to prepare them for their adult diet.
How to breed crickets?
Once our farm is ready, we can start the breeding process. You will need
• 10 to 30 crickets if you want to use them for breeding. on the other side, if you’re going to feed your breaded dragon, you will need 500 to 1000 crickets.
• A heating pad or bulb
The heat pad or a thermometer is used to ensure that the crickets live in the environment with a perfect breeding temperature of 85°F. In case the temperature goes below 70°F, the crickets will breed less, while if the temperature rises above 95°F, they will start to die.
You might be wondering how the crickets breed? Here is the answer to your quest- you need to follow the steps for the breeding process.
• Place the nesting container in the breeding container without the cover. Also, put the jar covers with food and water gel for the crickets.
• Once the crickets breeding setup is ready, put the crickets in the breeding container and close it with the screen cover.
• You will see in 4 to 7 days the female crickets have laid eggs in the nesting container, which is to be removed now. If you wish, you can put another nesting container in the breeding container to keep the crickets breeding.
• Don’t forget to cover the nesting container. Also, remember that it should have holes so that the moisture can get out. Now you need to put the resting container into a rare container at a temperature of about 85°F to 90°F to make sure the substrate keeps moist. If required, you can spray water on it.
• In the next four to five days, the eggs will start hatching. Now it’s time to provide them with some food. You need to remove the sandwich tub cover and put some greens and lettuce.
• Once the babies are ready, put some food and water gel in the rearing container using jar covers.
• Also, put the egg flats inside the rearing container and the toilet paper that goes from the substrate to the bottom of the earring tub. The paper will help the babies get out of the nesting container.
• Once the babies leave the nesting container, remove it from the rearing container.
• When you see the crickets get about ¼” put them in the breeding container to start breeding again.
The process of crickets breeding can be challenging. However, here in the article, we have tried to present in the simplest way possible. The information and the process described above is enough to raise feeder insects for bearded dragons.