Crickets are dying off

Hello - I have started breeding crickets (acheta domestica) and trying to do it in a larger quantity but having some issues.

We keep them in larger totes (30 gallon) and we usually place 20,000 pinheads in each tote. We noticed that as they grew they were dying off so we reduce the number down to 5,000 per tote. Now that we have less in each tote we still don't see them growing much. They tend to get to their 4th instar and then they start dying off.

The are watered using a chick waterer and we use chick starter (ground up). Temps are at or near 27C.

We disinfect each tote after each use with bleach and water.

If anyone can help would greatly appreciate it.

Comments

  • Hi jgonzalez, - Although I don't rear crickets the following may give you some leads while awaiting more expert advice.

    I wonder if the dying ones are mostly females. Looking at the Acheta domesticus body through their 3rd instar it's conformation is like a cylinder.

    Females' in the 4th instar get an oval shaped abdomen, preparatory to developing their ovipositor which then shows in the next instar. Your recognized die off phase coincides with some developmental changes that involve insect hormonal ratio shifts.

    In Clifford & Roe's (1977) "Rearing methods for obtaining house crickets, Acheta domesticus, of know age, sex, and instar", the team reported that (Quote): "... crickets older than the 4th instar are no longer so susceptible to dessication and, in fact, do better if the humidity is not too high ...." Which brings up the question of whether your breed line of females in their 4th instar are coping with a humidity issue.

  • thanks gringojay. i will have to check them cause not sure.

  • Hi jgonzalez - did you manage to solve the problem and if so what was the cause

  • edited October 8

    Thanx for this response, pal!

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