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Incubating Crickets

So I'm trying to get started breeding my own crickets. Right now I'm just experimenting with breeding rates/and amounts for documentation purposes, but eventually want to grow into a full fledged farm. I'm currently breeding Gryllodes sigillatus (banded crickets) and I'm seemingly having trouble with incubation. My process so far is to listen for lots of chirping, which from everything I've read is the indication they are breeding, then introduce moist vermiculite in a tupperware for them to lay in. I witness females laying eggs in the vermiculite, so I know they are actually laying eggs. I give it a minimum of 2 days and then remove the vermiculite. I immediately cover 2/3 of the container with a paper towel and put the original tupperware lid on the container and then introduce to my incubator. My incubator is a vertical cooler that I have adapted for the purpose. The humidity is kept at around 70-75% in the incubator, and the temp is between 90-91 degrees FH. I have yet to have any eggs hatch, this is my third time trying, and I started the current batch on Dec 28th. From everything I've read, I should start to see pinheads in 7-10 days, but as of yet, not even so much as one hatched in the container. Am I doing something wrong or just not waiting long enough? What is the deal here? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • Hi Cirickets2019, - I don't rear crickets so am responding somewhat unqualified.

    If you are closing lid shut on the egg tub from air circulation this may be stopping egg's own gas exchange. The egg is metabolically changing inside.

    It is possible for G. sigillatus females to lay eggs without mating (see citation below). You may have a colony founding population with some unforseen issues.

    G. sigilllatus males copulate & leave the female with a composite sperm ampule plus spermato-phylax (popularly called "nuptual gift").The female can eat the spermato-phylax & if eats enough to actually eat the sperm ampule then fertilization of her eggs will occur.

    Females can reject the spermato-phylax entirely & remove it, or even stop consuming before ingesting the actual sperm ampule. If this is occuring in your case I can not say, but I'll relay a tactical protocol.

    If you want to perform an intervention with your colony founding population to get their breeding going you can look for an actual copulation event, remove the female with the spermato-phylax the male gave her & isolate the female. Put mated female in a 1x1x4 cm vial (she won't be able to get rid of spermato-phylax/sperm ampule) for 1 hour; after that refractory hour tweeze off anything left. Free that female near where you prepared for eggs to be laid & incubate eggs at around 30°C with 70-78% relative humidity. As per free full (1998) text available on-line: "Effects of the consumption of male spermatophylax on the oviposition schedule of females in the decorated cricket, Gryllodes sigillatus."

  • Thanks! I'll check that out, I'm not sure how to look for a copulation event, but I guess I'll just keep introducing new bedding for them to lay in, I'd say odds are that sooner or later I'll get a few females that are actually bred. I didn't think about the air exchange issue, so I'll try keeping the lid cracked just a bit. I did read a little bit that the food they are being fed might have a rather large effect on the breeding cycle too. I've been feeding fresh fruits (changed daily), oats, and plenty of water crystals soaked in calcium suppliment water. Today I added some crushed kitten food to try and boost their protein to at least 40% of their diet. So far they seem to be enjoying it, but I'm a little worried that it's too late in their development to try and adjust their diet now. The other thing I read was that their normal incubation time is a minimum of 13 days, which seems to conflict with the 7-10 day window that I've been hearing from a lot of YouTube stuff, but who knows. Thanks for the reply!

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