Before I started building my own cricket farm, I did a huge research to understand as much as possible about crickets (Acheta Domesticus). One of my main questions was: what do crickets like to eat?
Crickets eat anything what they can find in their surroundings. In the wild, crickets usually eat organic material, such as grass, leaves, fruits, seedlings and even meat. In captivity, crickets should be fed with nutritious organic feed, for example carrots, apples, cabbage, etc. Let’s look into what is the usual crickets’ food ration and how to maintain a proper diet for crickets to stay healthy.
What Kind of Food Crickets Need?
Even crickets are insects, they have many similarities to humans in terms of nutrients required. Same as humans, crickets are omnivorous, which means eating both plants and meat. For both humans and insects to physically flourish – food diet needs to contain essential nutrients which body can’t make or can’t make in sufficient quantity.
Don’t want to get too technical, but according to World Health Organization, protein (meat, fish, eggs), carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit), fats (nuts, seeds), vitamins (fruit, berries) and water are vital for disease prevention, growth and good health. This applies for humans, but in food nutritious perspective, crickets don’t have much different needs than people.
What Do Crickets Eat In The Wild?
In your garden, crickets can eat the stems and seeds of any plant such as corn, grass, barley, fruits, wheat or vegetable. With a heavy infestation, these pests can destroy very many rows of seedlings in one day.
usually organic material, plant decay, grass, fruits, fungi, seedlings, and even meat. These insects need a regular supply of food, otherwise they can consume each other. Some varieties are also known to bite human beings owing to their strong jaws
As crickets eat basically anything, in the wild they have a variety of selection to choose from. In nature, crickets will usually eat:
- Compost is general, etc.
Of course, nature differs depending on the geographical location, hence, sometimes crickets have to take special measures to survive, for example, eat their skeleton. Yes, you heard it right!
Cricket is a type of insect which has exoskeleton and molts when they grow it out. Exoskeleton is a fancy word for external skeleton which supports and protects creature’s body. More animals have exoskeleton, more known are cockroaches, crabs, lobsters.
Within cricket’s lifecycle, crickets increase in size, hence, they need to shed the skeleton. Actually, crickets do it 7 times until they fully mature. Right after shedding, crickets become very vulnerable for about 30mins to 1 hour before the new exoskeleton starts to form. In the meantime, crickets need to eat something nutritious as soon as possible. So, the closest option for freshly shed crickets is their own exoskeleton, which is a delicacy for those insect creatures.
What Do Crickets Eat in The House?
Crickets can appear in the house intentionally or unintentionally.
If it happens that cricket appeared in the house without your permission, it’s a very logical question to ask: what do crickets eat and how they survive?
…crickets basically eat anything what they find in their reachable area.
I own a small commercial cricket farm and have quite some experience with what crickets may eat even it’s not considered as food. As mentioned previously, crickets basically eat anything what they find in their reachable area. These small insects have very strong jaws and teeth, so they can chew even plastic sheet.
Once I left a plastic sheet on a shelf in my farm and it was sticking above the bin full of crickets. During the night they ate huge holes in it. So, as you can assume, plastic is not very nutritious, so crickets won’t live long eating it, but the fact is that they can eat uneatable things, such a plastic sheet or even polyester.
Crickets are very good at finding cracks and getting inside them.
I’m sure if you lift your cabin in the kitchen or a sofa in the living room, you will easily find some cookie crumbs, a grain of rice or some other micro leftovers piled up within a period of time. To us it’s micro and hardly noticeable, but to our little uninvited cricket friends it’s a feast. Without food, crickets can live up to a week or two, so by finding at least some food around, crickets could extend their lives to few weeks or months (depending how much food they can find and what is the microclimate).
So, when next time you will hear uninvited cricket in the house for a week you will probably remember this post and won’t be surprised what do crickets eat in the house and how are they able to survive indoors.
What to feed crickets if you grow them intentionally
You are what you eat. Same applies for the crickets. If you feed your crickets only with apples, after you process them for eating, it will have apple flavor. Disclaimer: we do not recommend to feed crickets only with apples! Apples don’t have enough nutrients to maintain healthy crickets. Read more in above chapter what bouquet of nutrients crickets need.
If You Grow your crickets to feed your Pets
Crickets will love anything what you will have as leftovers after your dinner.
Though, before giving organic leftovers to the crickets think if those leftovers won’t start to smell too fast. I assume you don’t want the area where you keep your crickets to start smelling as well. Also, smell may indicate that the area is not in good hygiene condition which may result in infection to your crickets.
Usually, crickets will appreciate you as an owner, if you will feed them with the below menu.
- Special cricket food
Tip: From time to time circulate the food ration for your crickets. The bigger food variety the better.
By always giving fresh veggies you will also assure sufficient water needs to crickets. Meaning, you don’t need to provide separate water supply to crickets if you provide fresh and watery vegetables and fruit.
If you provide crickets with low water consistency food, for example bread and cereal, then it’s vital to supply crickets with water. Let’s see below how to do it.
If you grow bigger volumes of crickets (small farm)
If you have more than a few bins full of crickets or even own crickets farm, then vegetables and food leftovers won’t be an option to feed your crickets. In theory, you could do it, but it may do more harm than good.
The food rots fast, especially in warm environments which you will need if you grow crickets. If you will try feed a dozen boxes of crickets with veggies you will soon notice that small flies starting to appear. Hence, it is a problem and we don’t want it.
There’s a solution for small and big cricket farms. You can feed your crickets with special crickets’ food. Its consistency looks very similar to chicken feed. Also, such feed has enough nutrients for crickets to thrive.
Crickets’ special food is dry. It means that water supply for crickets is a must. Let’s see how to do it.
Do Crickets Need Water?
Crickets are living creatures, so water is vital to them. If your crickets eat only dry food, e.g. cereal, bread or commercial feed only, then crickets need to have water supply.
The important fact is that crickets are bad swimmers, so when setting up water supply, you need to make sure that they will not have open access to water swamps.
Meaning, if you will fill water in a bowl and put it in crickets’ bin, 100% that crickets will drown. They need to be able to stick onto something, so they could get of water easily if they fall in. For this purpose water crystals work really well.
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