Wet food and moisture must be made available to crickets and cockroaches at all times. If water is not freely available crickets will have no choice but to eat each other to obtain their moisture requirements. Cockroaches will not be able to successfully breed.
Ideally food would be changed daily, however I have found that every second day is adequate if you have a water dispenser. The only exception to this are days of extremely high temperatures or humidity, which cause accelerated fermentation and therefore daily food additions may be preferential. If you choose to use fruit and vegetables as the sole source of water (no water dispensers) they will need to be added daily without failure.
Types of Fruit and Vegetables
Generally speaking vegetables are better than fruits as they don’t ferment as quickly (high water content and sugars in fruits). I would recommend using apples and oranges which tend to ferment more slowly than other fruits.
Most vegetables can be used including, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower (and leaves), and beans. Root vegetables are superior to green vegetables as they contain a high nutrient/energy ratio and will generally last longer. The standard vegetable mixture I use are equal quantities of carrot and sweet potato due to their longevity, price and availability. I supplement this mix with other household leftovers. Vegetables to avoid include apple cores (seeds contain cyanide), avocado and citrus.
Many supermarkets are potentially a free source of wet foods as they throw away large quantities of produce on a daily basis. Most of the produce discarded is unsold produce, unsightly seconds, or off cuts (i.e. dirty outer folds of lettuce etc.). Staff tend to discard this material first thing in the morning and place them in small wheelie bins at the end of each aisle. This produce cannot be stockpiled out back due to legal reasons so you will need to pick up this material first thing in the morning.
What not to do!
Be cautious when using vegetables that are grown above ground as they are often sprayed with pesticides, which may kill your crickets if not washed. If vegetable scraps from the kitchen are used, it is advisable to wash the vegetables prior to putting them in the fridge using a water mixture containing 1 or 2 teaspoon of white vinegar per 2 litres (0.53 gallons). This is a good practice for yourself and your crickets as the acidic vinegar helps remove pesticides from the vegetables. Some vegetables such as broccoli, silver beet and cabbage contain high levels of oxalic acid, and their use should be minimised as they can cause health issues in reptiles and amphibians.
Small cricket colonies can be sustained by kitchen scraps alone, however larger colonies will need additional supplementation. As a general guide 1.5- 2 carrots will feed a standard 70 L container (500-700 large crickets) every second day. This however will vary greatly depending on numbers and lifecycle stage.
Need More Information…
Below is a summary of the “Food and Water Requirements” sections of our Cricket Breeding Manual:
- 4 different food/water dispensers to choose from which covers small and large scale production.
- 18 pages detailing how to build a food try with removes all wet/dry food and water together for quick and easy maintenance.
- Our automated feeding/watering dispensers, allows you to feed crickets for over 2 weeks unattended if necessary (i.e. good for going away on holidays). They are inexpensive to build, durable and designed not to spill. They dispense food at a controlled rate which saves money, reduces the frequency for refilling and improves hygiene.
- 7 different methods/tools to feed crickets to your animals quickly and easily (and filter them to the right size).
- Learn essential nutrients for cricket development, how to purchase food in bulk and store/process them properly to save wastage and money. Food recipes for standard and fast growth, gut loading and dusting.
- Tables outlining the nutritional content of key food groups such as dog, cat and chicken layer dry foods.
- Detailed instructions and photos how to build containers.
© Zega Enterprises 2013 , © Photographs, diagrams and tables by Glenn Kvassay or as credited 2013