House cricket (Acheta domesticus)


Crickets have been reared by Asian cultures for hundreds of years for their "singing" and for use in cricket fights. These insects are easy to rear on items found around your household.  The female cricket is easily distiniguished from the male by a long, needlelike ovipositor which extends posteriorly from the body.  Male crickets will also sing.  Adult females may lay up to 2600 eggs during their lifetime, but in captivity adults may cannibalize the eggs.  The development of a cricket from nymph to adult depends on a number of factors: food, temperature, moisture, disease, and population.  Nymphs held at 90 degrees F usually require only 30 to 35 days to mature, while those held at 80 degrees F may take twice as long.  The adult usually lives about 90 days when reared at 80 degrees F.

Availability: Crickets are available now. Contact Liz (eegraham@life.uiuc.edu) to schedule a pickup time (right after class is convenient). We will provide a few crickets in a small plastic container with a small amount of food - just enough to get you home. Make sure that your cricket cage is set up and that you have necessary supplies BEFORE you pick up your cricket.

Housing: Use any clean container with about 1-1/2 inches of clean sand covering the bottom as a cage. Keep the sand dry but provide a moisture source, such as slices of fresh fruits or vegetables. It is a good idea to use a cloth or wire cover for the top of the cage to prevent escape, since crickets can be pests in the household. Secure the cloth with a large rubber band for easy access. Crickets like to hide from view, so provide hiding places such as cardboard containers, egg cartons, or flower pots..

Food: Crickets eat a wide variety of food, including almost anything in your kitchen. Dry dog food provides protein, which lessens cannibalism. Fresh fruits such as apples and pears provide necessary moisture. Fresh leaves of lettuce are also a good source of moisture, but replace them frequently.

Notes: Look for eggs if you have both sexes (females have ovipositors and males do not) . Eggs are small, banana shaped objects that are white or yellow. They are not laid in clusters but singly. At room temperature, the eggs can hatch in 3 to 4 weeks. It is hard to see a newly hatched nymph as it is not much bigger than the egg it hatched from. Crickets mature fastest at temperatures of about 80 degrees F.