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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to
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.