Before I started raising house crickets commercially, I wanted to learn more about crickets’ lifespan. After some research I found out that cricket’s lifespan depends on cricket type, climate, food and habitat (variety of predators).
Let’s start with cricket types:
|Cricket Type||Cricket In Latin||Average Cricket Lifespan||Max Known Lifespan Of a Cricket|
|Jerusalem cricket||Stenopelmatus fuscus||7 months||4 years|
|Cave cricket (camel cricket)||Ceuthophilus spp.||1-2 years||+2 years|
|Tropical house cricket (banded cricket)||Gryllodes sigillatus||2-3 months||+4 months|
|House cricket||Acheta Domesticus||8-10 weeks||8 months|
Different cricket types have very different lifespan. Also, depending on various circumstances the average cricket lifespan can be different from what’s provided in the table. Let’s explore what usually can affect cricket’s lifetime.
Cricket Farmer’s Experience About Cricket’s Lifespan
I personally grow house crickets (Acheta Domesticus). I harvest crickets after they fully mature and females finish laying eggs for the next generation. In perfect conditions after hatching It takes:
- ~ 6 weeks for crickets to fully mature.
- ~1 week for eggs laying
- ~1-2 extra days to keeps crickets without food for them to clear their digest system.
Meaning it takes over 7 weeks (more than 40 days) until crickets are harvested. Within this period of time all of the crickets are still going strong. I mean, I have never seen any indication of crickets “getting old” or increased volume of died crickets during the harvesting.
So, if you grow your own crickets for your bearded dragon or other pet, you shouldn’t worry about that after 40 days of keeping the crickets they will start dying off. If you maintain their hygiene, crickets’ life expectancy will easily increase to more than 2 months.
How to increase Cricket’s Lifespan: Study Research
According to Journal of Insect Physiology (1965) an experiment was made for house crickets to identify survival patterns with three different setups.
- Crickets held in groups (both sexes together)
- Crickets held in groups (sexes segregated)
- Crickets held individually
The study showed that adult house crickets’ lifespan was longer when crickets lived in groups.
Other study performed in Exeter university states that crickets which exert a lot energy during their lives have been found to die earlier. It all comes down to metabolism rates.
Metabolism is like a fuel for a body. If male cricket makes a lot mating calls (i.e. chirping) by rubbing wings one against each other it releases a lot energy which is finite. Basically, the more cricket chirps the faster it may die.
Though, when crickets live in groups (in captivity), they don’t need to chirp as loud, because females are nearby. Meaning, when crickets are in groups, they need to release less energy comparing when crickets live “one-by-one” in nature.
So, if you decide to grow your own crickets, you shouldn’t separate them. Make sure that you have both sexes in the group if you want to increase life expectancy of a cricket
Crickets In Natural Habitat
Lifespan of a cricket can be different if it lives in nature or in captivity.
In nature crickets can live in almost any environment if the temperature is appropriate (humidity also pays a role, but I’ll mention it later).
In nature crickets can be found in:
- Bushes, etc.
Crickets eat basically anything what they can find in their way. Though, if they find nutritious food, they for sure will live longer than average lifespan mentioned in the table above.
Check out my post What Do Crickets Eat if you’re interested to know what food keeps crickets healthy. Note: food directly correlates with cricket’s life expectancy.
Perfect Climate for Crickets
Crickets will live the longest in geographical locations where there’s warn enough weather with no seasons. Crickets feel comfortable in temperature above 80 °F (27 °C) up until 91 °F (33 °C). More than that may not kill your crickets, but it will not be healthy for them, which may result in decreased chances of optimal cricket lifespan.
Locations with seasons and winters will shorten, or in other words – will limit cricket’s lifespan. Generally, if cricket stays in low enough temperature for long enough it will not recover and will die.
I didn’t find exactly what temperature makes crickets to die, but according to this paper in Journal of Experimental Biology, a research was done for a fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) which is an insect with similar metabolism as a cricket. It was found that if fruit fly is kept for 2 hours below 23 °F (-5 °C) it will die and won’t recover.
From my experience – before I put crickets’ harvest to a freezer, I always keep them for at least 30 minutes in cool room with ~50 °F (10 °C), so crickets give away their bodies’ warmth to the atmosphere. They slow down and then I put them in a freezer with -6 °F (-21 °C) for at least 6 hours to make sure they will not recover when I take them out of the freezer.
What Animals Eat Crickets: Pets List
In nature cricket’s primary lifespan limitation happens due to predators. Climate and nutritious food play secondary role.
In homes people keep various pets which love to eat crickets. Crickets are small insects, which don’t have many defend options except jumping away from the predator. Though, if cricket is added in terrarium, it’s only a matter of minutes/hours when cricket’s lifespan will end.
Crickets are nutritious and in very high demand by these main pets/predators:
Very limited count of birds are herbivores. I’m sure that the pet bird you own will eat crickets.
Reptiles, especially bearded dragons love to eat live crickets. Iguanas, lizards or tortoises will eat crickets as well with no hesitation.
For smaller spiders pets it could be a challenge to take down cricket as a prey. Fully grown cricket is ~1 inch (~2.5 cm). Though, any tarantula or black widow spider will start catching a live cricket the second it’s in your pet’s terrarium.
Crickets in Captivity
If you grow your feeder crickets in an incubator (aka plastic box or similar container) for your pets, their life expectancy may increase as well comparing to natural habitat. This will happen because most probably you will want to grow your crickets properly and will make sure that micro climate is adequate to your crickets.
- Temperature for crickets thrive: ~85-90 °F (i.e. 29-30 °C)
- Humidity for crickets thrive: ~40-50%
For crickets to decrease the chance of catching a decease while in captivity is to keep humidity as low as 40-50%. It will help to prevent bacteria to produce itself. Humidity is very important if you want to increase crickets’ lifespan. If crickets will be raised in captivity with higher than suggested humidity it will most probably eventually kill your crickets.