Buying Live Crickets Made Easy

Written by Samantha Miller | 5/8/20

Crickets are a staple diet for many reptiles. So where is the best place to buy them?

If you don’t have aspirations of becoming a cricket hunter, Well except for finding Houdini who managed to escape. That will leave you buying locally, online, or breeding your own.

Crickets are sold at most pet stores. Check your local PetCo, PetSmart, or mom and pop pet shops. Also, reptile shows usually have a vendor selling crickets.

While pet stores are great for buying a few crickets. It tends to get expensive if you are buying larger quantities. Honestly, if you are buying a few hundred at a time you would be better off buying in bulk online.

Amazon

Almost anything can be bought and sold on amazon. So it should come as no surprise that they also sell live insects, including crickets.

While there are many retailers online, Amazon stands out from the others as the mega marketplace for live insects. Most popular brands you can find with a quick search such as Josh’s frog, UGFeeders, and BASSETT’S CRICKET RANCH. Often times breeders will be competing for the lowest price. Got to love price wars.

I have personally had good luck buying from Josh’s Frog. They are quick to answer questions and resolve complaints. Also, a quick search will come up with plenty of breeders to choose from.

Consider Vendors Location

Receiving a box of dead crickets can happen. The less your crickets have to travel the higher chance of survival. Inadequate temperature, poor sanitary conditions, and insufficient ventilation are the main causes of death. All can easily occur during shipping.

Occasionally some of the crickets will die during shipment. I don’t recommend using the dead ones as food. They rot very quickly after death and that means a lot of bacteria build up.

Consider venders location when ordering live insects.

Keeping Your Crickets Alive

While most people will recommend kricket keeper for housing your crickets, a Rubbermaid tub, or a gallon ice cream container will also work.

Line the container floor with uncooked oatmeal. Next, add fish flakes on top of the oatmeal – it will up their nutritional value (food that is healthy is… healthy food). Every cricket needs easily accessible food at all times or they will become cannibals.

Cover 2/3 of the floor With egg Protectors. The egg protectors will give your Crickets a place to hide.

Avoid having a dish with water in their cage. If crickets can find a way to drown themself, they will. Fluker’s Cricket Quencher makes a gel and eliminates the possibility of drowning. Alternatively, a damp paper towel inside a lid will work. You will need to change the paper towel regularly.

Make sure to remove any dead guys daily as you’ll go from 2 dead crickets to 200 dead crickets overnight. Their decaying corpses create ammonia which is toxic to the other crickets.

How Many Crickets Do I Buy at a Time?

Crickets have a life span of roughly 4½ weeks. When you purchase them they will have about 2 weeks of life left. Therefore only buy what would be consumed in a week as a general rule. Also, it helps to buy small/medium size crickets, as they tend to have a longer life span. When I bought large Crickets in the past they would often die within the week.

Also, keep in mind the males are generally more aggressive. While selecting crickets to become your bearded dragons’ next meal, the male crickets become first choice. The fewer males the less fighting and cannibalism.

How Do I Breed Crickets?

Before I get into how to breed crickets, I’ll warn you so you know what you are getting into. While having 1000’s of crickets might seem like a good idea. They will be loud, they will smell, and yes they will take up lots of space. If that doesn’t sound like fun for you I suggest skip breeding crickets. An alternative would be dubia, or super worms. Although super worms will have a bit of a smell, it’s not nearly as pungent as the smell of 1000’s of crickets.

Still want to breed crickets? Great, lets get started.

The three key factors for keeping the smell to a minimum.

  • Great ventilation
  • Removal of dead crickets
  • Dry environment

Have a abundance of female crickets

As mentioned earlier, male crickets should be the first to be fed to your reptile. As males tend to be the aggressive cannibals. Fortunately, this will leave you with an abundance of female crickets.

Steps for breeding

  • Place a shallow container on the bottom of your cricket cage (containing a mixture of 2½ cups of vermiculite and ¾ cups water).
  • Leave in your cricket cage for seven days, giving your crickets plenty of time to lay their eggs. Check the container daily to make sure the soil is moist.
  • After the end of seven days remove the container and place it in a tub to hatch.
  • Heating the tub might be necessary if your room temperature is too low. The ideal temperature is 89F.
  • Within, two weeks you should have baby crickets.
  • You must keep them separate until they’re about half an inch long before mixing with your other crickets.

The soil should be tossed after each use. While you can reuse the soil again, it’s best to start fresh. The old soil can harbor bacteria and contain mold.

Conclusion

Crickets the staple food for many reptiles. Whether we buy them online or the local pet store, there one item we don’t put much thought into. And on that note let us all get back to what we love, our reptiles.

I would love to hear your thoughts, questions in the comments below.

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