Crickets are an essential food for many types of pets. They also make good fish bait. The investment for getting started in the cricket business is small, especially if you want to sell locally. A small operation doesn't require a lot of room since crickets only need about 6 square feet of floor space per container. Use one cricket container for each 800 to 1,000 crickets you want to raise.
A 20-gallon plastic tote cost about $12 as of 2014. They work well for crickets because they're easy to handle and readily available. Use one container for the breeding adults and two more for the young. Cover them tightly with metal screening. A roll that will cover three bins costs less than $10. Put clean, dry, construction sand, about $5 a bag, in the bottom of the bin with empty egg cartons for the crickets to climb. Hang a 100 watt light bulb above the bin and keep the crickets at about 88 degrees.
Food and Water
Feed crickets of all ages chicken laying mash from a feed store, which costs less than 35 cents a pound. A good rule of thumb is about 2 pounds of mash will bring 100 crickets to maturity. Add a shallow water dish, which you can make from a saucer or an old jar lid. Don't use anything too deep as crickets are prone to drowning. They should have food and water available at all times.
Start with at least 20 adults. Keep some of those you raise to add to your breeding population as mature crickets only live a few weeks. New cricket breeders often start with the Brown House Cricket, Acheta Domesticus. Pet shops had those for about 15 cents each as of 2014. Get a batch of half males, with two protrusions on the rear, and half females, which have three. Fill a shallow plastic tray about 3 inches square with slightly damp peat moss or sand and leave it inside the bin for a few days. The females will lay their eggs in the tray, with some producing eggs every day.
Move the egg-filled tray to a nursery container and put a new one in the breeding container. The eggs will hatch into tiny pinhead crickets in about three weeks. If you keep several nursery bins, you can house babies of varying sizes separately, making them easier to sort when you’re ready to sell them. Put cotton balls in their water so they can drink from the damp cotton and not drown.
Check with pet shops, bait shops, herpetology clubs or a nearby zoo for potential buyers. Set up a website and use keywords such as "reptiles," "tarantulas" and other animals that might eat crickets. Price them competitively: crickets sell in bulk, which is anywhere from 100 crickets and up, for around 5 cents each.
- University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension: Rearing Crickets
- University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Educational Outreach: Cricket Rearing
- Texas A&M AgriLife Extension: Raising Crickets for Fish Bait
- Purdue Extension: Raising Insects for Fun or Profit
- Hays Cummins: Breeding and Raising the House Cricket
- The Worm Man: Live Crickets Care, Breeding, and Feeding
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