US reptile owners face the additional task of caring for crickets to feed our Bearded Dragons and Anoles.
Feeder crickets are great nutritional sources for reptiles and are traditionally considered a staple diet for them.
However, crickets aren’t easy animals to keep alive. They are quite weak and will die easily if not taken care of properly.
In this article, I will explain the best ways to help you keep them alive for longer.
How Do You Keep Crickets Alive?
To keep crickets alive, you need to offer them roomy accommodation, hot and humid temperatures around 75 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 – 25 degrees Celsius), daily nutrition-dense food, a clean supply of water, and sanitary conditions. You will also need to place a damp, wet sponge in the tank every day. This will act as the water source.
The 5 Tips to Keep Crickets Alive
Be well-prepared and keep aside enough time to take care of them before placing an order for live crickets.
Here are some tips to help.
Once you receive your delivery, you will need a safe space to store them.
The two things you have to look out for are breathability and ensuring they stay inside the storage unit you put them in.
A clear container is what I normally use to store my crickets. This allows you to see the inside without opening it up constantly.
Be sure to purchase one deep and large enough to hold the number of crickets you purchased. A good rule of thumb that I personally follow is to buy a 50-gallon container right off the bat.
You can usually store 1000 crickets inside of a 10-gallon container, but the more humane way is to give them some space to move around.
Their chances of survival are also improved if they have enough room.
Don’t forget to punch holes in the container’s top part as well. What works for me is drilling around eight holes, which I then cover up with a small mesh to prevent them from getting out.
You shouldn’t poke too many holes because crickets prefer to stay inside dark spaces.
Since I live in an area with a warm climate, I don’t have to worry about maintaining the temperature inside the storage unit.
Crickets usually flourish and breed in hotter and more humid temperatures. As long as the room they are stored in is around 75 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 – 25 degrees Celsius), they will remain healthy.
When temperatures are cold, crickets will go into their slumbering phase. So don’t panic if your crickets look like they are dead.
Just warm the room up with your thermostat, and they will awaken in a few hours.
Like most other critters, crickets require sufficient nutrition to stay alive. I have experimented with different foods to identify which ones they prefer.
The good news is, crickets don’t need a specific set diet for them to stay alive. You simply need to feed them dried foods packed full of nutrients.
Here’s a list of some of the best foods I have tried so far:
- Insect larvae
- Fruits (Bananas, Apples, Oranges)
- Veggies (Potatoes, Squash, Leafy Greens)
- Seeds (Sunflower, Pumpkin)
- Grains (Oats, cornflakes, barley)
You can keep whole fruits and vegetables inside the storage unit or slice all the food up into small portions.
If you’re keeping whole foods, clean them out every couple of days to avoid a build-up of bacteria that can kill your crickets.
A clean water source is vital for a living creature’s survival. However, simply placing a plate or cup of water inside the container won’t work.
Crickets are known to drown easily, and in my experience, this is very likely to happen.
There are 2 methods I use as I prefer them:
1. Use something to soak up the water and place it in the container. I’ve found that either a sponge or cotton ball does the trick.
Simply dampen the item, place it on a plate, and leave that in the container. Make sure you change this out every 3 to 4 days.
2. Using water storing crystals. These are made using synthetic polymers and are typically used for plants.
However, they can hold a large amount of water, so they will serve your purposes just fine.
In the same way that a sanitary environment works wonders for our health, crickets also require a clean space to remain healthy.
With so many crickets living together, there will be excrement and even dead crickets littering the container every few weeks.
Crickets can die even with adequate conditions, so don’t be surprised if you find a few dead bodies.
Make sure you remove any dead crickets as bacteria will form on them. Speaking from experience, this can develop into diseases that will kill the remaining crickets.
Excrement also contains these bacteria, so it needs to be cleaned regularly.
I typically clean out the container once a week and do a full cleaning once a month.
A full cleaning involves moving the crickets to another container and washing the old one with boiling water.
Cleaning liquids can kill your crickets, so only use hot water.
Why You Should Only Feed Live Crickets to Reptiles
Rather than keeping crickets alive, wouldn’t it be much easier just to keep a stock of dead crickets?
I’ve also questioned this in the past, but I learned that live crickets are more beneficial:
1. Dead crickets don’t provide any nutrients to your reptiles. Even recently-dead crickets quickly lose any nutrition in its body.
2. Alive and healthy crickets are much more nutritious with all the supplements your reptiles need.
Frequently Asked Questions about How Long Can You Keep Crickets Alive
Should I keep any vegetation inside the storage unit?
Keeping anything other than food or water inside the container isn’t advisable. Vegetation will rot soon and form bacteria. It also raises the humidity levels inside the container, which can be lethal.
What’s the recommended frequency for cleaning a cricket box?
Ideally, you should clean out the crickets’ accommodation once or twice a month.
Is pet food a viable food source for crickets?
Most types of dry pet foods are perfectly fine for crickets to consume. You can even find food made specifically for crickets at local pet stores.
Conclusion About How Do You Keep Crickets Alive
Keeping crickets alive seems like double the work. But, if you want what’s best for your reptiles, live crickets are the way to go.
Also, keep note that crickets will cannibalize themselves if left unmaintained. Buckle up and put in the effort to keep your crickets alive!