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CRICKETS

I have over a thousand crickets in 3 tubs... at all stages of growth. Does any one have a clever idea as to how I can easily remove the adults and leave the young ones in the tub?

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  • Another question please... To harvest crickets I need to get them from their tank to the freezer. Whats the best way to do that without them jumping out all over the place? *-:)

  • I have managed to get 100's of crickets into one container with only 10 or so escapees. Now... how do I separate them from the dirt n muck then get them to the freezer? There has to be an easier way. All the YouTube videos tell you how to breed them, but not a word about this tricky business of getting them to the table!

  • edited April 2014

    ...make that 20-30 escapees - and about an hour of mucking about. there has to be a better way #:-S ... mind you, the dog had a ball chasing the little beggars!

  • I found a very funny recipe... the joke here is that they say "Live Crickets". Can you imagine putting 50 Jumping Jiminys on a tray and asking them politely to stay put while you heat the oven? Is the command, "Sit!" Stay!" ?? (not to mention that to bake even an insect alive would be a tad cruel). However, I do like the idea of making them crunchy then rolling them in your palm to break off legs and antennae. I always joke to people that they come with inbuilt toothpicks. .................... Dry Roasted Crickets

    Served as a snack for any number of persons Ingredients: 25 – 50 live crickets – or however many you wish to cook/serve Directions: Salt, or any preferred seasoning that can be shaken or sprinkled onto crickets after roasting. Next, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Arrange the crickets on a cookie sheet, making sure none of them overlap. Proceed to bake at low temperature for about 60 minutes or until the crickets are completely dry or dry enough for personal taste. Open up oven at the 45-minute mark and test a cricket to see if it’s dry enough by crushing with a spoon against a hard surface or if you prefer, between your fingers. The crickets should crush somewhat easily. If not place them back inside oven until crisp. Once roasted and cooled down, place a few crickets between your palms and carefully roll them breaking off legs and antennae in the process. This ensures clean and crisp crickets without legs or antennae getting in the way of. Season them with salt, Kosher salt, sea salt, smoked salt or whatever sort of seasoning you wish. They are very good and healthy to eat as a roasted snack. Eat them on the spot or place them back into the freezer for future use.

  • I have harvested my young crickets and frozen them ready for cooking. The breeders I placed in a new clean Styrofoam box. Great for retaining heat but also too good for mold. So... I had to open a third of the lid space to allow air. Still, it is good heat wise.

  • @kerri clever using styrofoam, particularly because the crickets don't need the light coming in through a plastic box. We'll have to get some more discussion on harvesting crickets going soon. In larger scale operations they just pick up the egg trays/bottle dividers with all the crickets clinging to them and shake it into a clean new container. we've found that you can sort of "herd" crickets around with airflow (i.e. blowing on them, or using an air mattress pump) - crickets have a "wind evoked response" where they hop when certain pressures of airflow hit them from certain angles. There's lots of interesting literature on the subject. If you have them in a plastic Sterilite type bin, you can shake them off the "furniture", and then tilt the bin to slide them down into a corner where they can be more easily scooped out. You can also freeze them first and then sift the excess dirt/frass out after when they can't hop out.

  • I ended up putting the frozen crickets in a sieve and shaking, rinsing, shaking - not only did they get clean but i got a lot of the legs off too. I had to cook many young with them which teaches me to separate my pinheads more often to new boxes.

  • I just bought 1000 small crickets with the intention of cooking them this weekend. I decided to go for small ones as I figured they might be less tough and it wouldn't be a problem if I kept the legs and antennae on. I haven't tried cooking crickets yet, but finding some way of sorting them by size is definitely on my list of things to do.

  • Hi @Jenny, most people recommend breeding the next generation before eating so that you know what they have been eating (this is most important with snails though) - must admit though, i did get impatient and ate a few of my bought ones... not dead yet.

  • Unfortunately I don't have room to breed them at the moment, as I'm living in my boyfriend's room and haven't told his landlord about my bugs : / A whole load of mealworms escaped through a tiny hole in the bag they came from a few weeks ago...I had to rush home to tidy up and look for escapees yesterday after finding a beetle inside my shoe!

  • I wouldn't tell the landlord... It's not like you're keeping pets, unless you name them all.... then they are pets! Funny about your escapees... I dropped a whole drawer of my mealworms onto the carpet and they dug in to the pile. Was on my hands n knees for ages picking them all out... then the left over ones bred in the carpet and beetles kept appearing. I had to keep checking and putting them back. I could only see them when they turned into beetles and were black. :))

  • Any such thing as a cricket trap, something adults can get into but not get out of once inside? Perhaps put a trap, if it exists or can be made, inside a day before harvest, then empty the next day? What I have in mind is similar to a wasp trap, a funnel leading to sugar water or something crickets like to eat. If they can't get back out after getting in, then harvest would be automatic.

    Barring that, the best I can think of would be a set of long gloves attached to a clear plastic or screen lid, so you can put your hands in the gloves and reach in without removing the lid to grab them and put them into a cup.

  • I like the idea of a cricket trap... will look into it.

  • @William, that's actually a fantastic idea. Maybe something like a lobster pot, where they can enter through a flexible mesh but find it difficult to exit. You could attract them with food, or a light.

  • I'm new to this stuff so I don't know how well it would work for a cricket farm, but I have a Leopard Gecko and I keep his feeder crickets in a bin with black tubes at an angle and a clear plastic cap on the end. The crickets like the dark and crawl up the tube and 9/10 I can just lift it out and cap one end with my thumb and carry the crickets to his tank. Then a simple shake get's them out. I can't imagine why a similar system couldn't be adapted to harvest.

  • Excellent @ChantHurdler, I will try that. It would also get around my last problem where I stacked in egg crates too high and had a mass escape. :-SS

  • Question for the regular cricket-eaters - what size do you recommend harvesting to eat? Do people typically eat adults? (...or would it be better to go with the last stage prior to adulthood, before they get wings? ...another idea would be to eat them after they'd had a few weeks breeding, but that might be harder to manage with a single ongoing breeding container like I've seen documented.)

    Also, for people who keep different ages separate (and use separate egg-laying containers within a breeding colony), what time-length of cohort do you use?

    (From my reading, this would translate to, "how long do you leave an egg-laying container in the breeding colony?", assuming that you then transfer each egg-laying container to a separate rearing container.) Most things I've been reading are suggesting ~4-7 days, but at least one was then suggesting only needing 3 rearing containers. (This source was growing for reptile feeding, so may have only been rearing to a part-grown feed stock...)

    To grow to adulthood with a timespan of ~2months from egg-lay to adult emergence (at ~30degC = 86F), keeping 7-day cohorts would need 8 rearing containers, and 4-day cohorts would need about 15 rearing containers.

    Has anyone tried growing crickets at lower temperatures (eg. at room temperature without supplementary heat?) We're currently planning some renovations with energy efficiency and passive solar heating which should keep our house at 20-25 deg C (=68-77F) year-round - the Fluker's guide suggests that egg incubation will take 26 days at 23 deg C (cf. 13 days at 30 deg C), and that the rest of the life cycle will also take longer (although they don't say by how much), and I've also read somewhere that yields are lower at these temperatures, but again, not by how much... any practical experiences?

    Thanks! :-)

  • http://jn.nutrition.org/content/74/3/265.full.pdf

    On nutrition of crickets... the components of the diets look a bit too "laboratory"-like to be much direct use to most of us, but might be useful for comparing to more commonly available potential feeds.

  • The F.A.O. (UN) link calytrix gives elsewhere in the Forum makes a point that in Laos crickets only boiled or only fried still held residual spore forming bacteria that could potentially, but not under all conditions, still grow. In comparison boiling for 5 minutes inactivated the microbes more than 5 minutes of deep frying/frying does. The document further recommends boiling insects before refrigeration/freezing. As per source's pgs. 29 &30 (of original, 40/41 in pdf); Link = http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3749e.pdf

    Same document says house crickets capable of mating after 7- 14 days & can live for 2 months. The eggs laid take 10-15 days before hatch; gettign from an egg into an adult in 40-45 days.... Pg. 20 advises that once males stridulate for mating provide a egg laying substrate (like sand mixed with burnt hulls of rice) set inside movable containers that are then moved out to an incubation bin withing 24 hours.... Although fed roughly as crickets are growing the Lao breeders switch them to vegetables or squash (pumpking) at least 2 days before culling for taking to market....

    If crunch some numbers from Laos one herder harvests 100 - 120 Kg. crickets monthly from 39 sq. mts. of floor space ( a total of 13 bins each = 2.5x1.2 meter). So, a good 120 kg/month crop works out to harvesting 3 kg of house crickets per 1 sq. mt. area in a month; making a daily yield from each 1 sq. mt. of floor space of 0.1 kg ( =100 mg = 0.22 pounds =3.5 oz.)/day....

    "Table 2" data is for blanched crickets is that for every 100 mg. there is 12.9 grams of protein; which ideally can be reared in 1 sq. mt. every day. If, as per an old FAO methodology, an adult person weighing 100 pounds needs a minimum of 50 grams of protein daily then that person's daily protein need can be reared every day in 3.8 square meter space of crickets. Thus every month a 100 pound adult's minimum daily protein requirement needs can be reared in less than 117 sq. mt. of area - if cricket production is optimal. (Anyone who is interested in a less than optimal reference might reasonably use a comparison calculation based on 100 Kg. harvest/39 sq. mts; which is about 17% less of a cricket yield in the same area or roughly 137 sq. mt. of area dedicated to crickets in order to get 100 poiund person's minimum monthly protein).

  • I invite someone interested in cricket production to please check my calculation from the Lao cricket data on how much area is needed to rear the protein for a month's worth of protein for a 100 pound person. It is late & fairly dark here so possibly I have made some math error(s); which I apologize for not catching before posting.

    If I revisit my math wherein 39 sq. meters produces 120 kg crickets & a 100 pound adult needs 1.5 Kg protein per month then I now get a baseline that 80 adults of 100 pounds weight can get their protein from 39 sq. mt. of crickets. Which would mean a single 100 pound adult person only needs 0.4875 sq. mt. of area to raise their monthly protein in the form of crickets.

    A correction: it is WHO, not FAO as earlier wrote, whose old guideline for estimating minimum daily protein requirement = take human adult weight in pounds, divide that number by half & the resulting figure can be denoted in grams, which is then how much protein that human needs a day.

  • thanks, @gringojay :-)

    With regard to diets for crickets (...I've been trying to find something cheap but of more "known" contents that dried cat food or commercial chick starter feed, since I'm a bit dubious about what might be in those... Patton apparently also found that medications in feed were disadvantageous for rearing crickets - chick starter generally contains drugs to prevent coccidiosis...), this 1991 paper is available free online: Comparison of Diets for Mass-Rearing Acheta dornesticus (Nakagaki & DeFoliart, 1991) http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/insectsasfood/files/2012/09/12_ComparDietsLvstk.pdf

    The study found that the diet developed by Patton (see the 1967 reference below) resulted in the best growth (although not by a significant margin), but that the NRC reference chick diet (mixed from components, and labour costs not included) gave the lowest cost for a given weight gain. Purina rabbit chow and Selph's cricket chow ranked between those for cost to weight gain.

    The paper also references these earlier ones, which are $28 ea from IngentaConnect if you don't have a subscription (eg. through a university).

    Patton, R. L. 1963. Rearing the house cricket Acheta domesticus, on commercial feed. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 56: 25O-25I.

    Patton, R. L. 1967. Oligidic diets tor Acheta domesticus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 60: 1238-1242.

    ...if anyone has access, I'd love to know what the various diets tested by Patton were (even in general terms, but percentages of fat, protein, calcium, metabolisable energy and any other factors identified as important would be fantastic), and how they affected cricket growth and reproduction. (If no-one has the access subscription and the time to report, I may have to buy the papers myself and report back!) :-)

  • This FAO publication http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/i3246e/i3246e.pdf (Six-legged livestock: edible insect farming, collecting and marketing in Thailand) describes similar processes to those quoted by @gringojay from Edible Insects in the Lao PDR: building on tradition to enhance food security (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3749e.pdf).

    The most accessible-looking and comprehensively-described method I've seen for small-scale cricket farming is at http://www.anapsid.org/crickets.html. It uses two 26" long x 14" wide x 16" deep (650mm x 350mm x 400mm) plastic tubs as breeding containers, with 1pint (~500ml) plastic tubs for nesting and food containers, and 16" long x 8" wide x 4" deep (400mm x 200mm x 100mm) plastic boxes for hatching and rearing nymphs (in cohorts with a 4-7 day age variation - ie. changeover of nesting containers in the breeding colony every 4-7 days) to approx 1/2 " (12.5mm) long. (I gather that the author feeds them to reptiles by about this size; growing larger for human consumption would presumably need some larger containers.) Per my comment from 11 July above, the author of this document suggests 3 rearing containers, but my calculations suggest that 8-15 containers would be required to raise the crickets to adulthood in 4-7 day cohorts at ~30 deg C = 86 F.

    In the other raising-crickets thread on this forum ( http://www.openbugfarm.com/forum.html#/discussion/112/crickets-how-to-raise-them ), @kerri suggests mixing saturated water crystals into the laying tubs of soil to help keep it moist enough for the eggs to hatch - sounds like a good idea to incorporate into the method from the above reference. There are lots of other good tips there, too :-)

  • I found over the weekend that one of the universities in Perth has the hard-copy journals with the Patton articles on cricket diets, so I'll pop in and copy them next time I'm over that side of the city... will report back when I've got them :-)

  • I received my first batch of crickets yesterday! They are eating & drinking a lot (as expected) and the temperature is a consistent 86°F. But no chirping. Will it just take more time to get adjusted or will the males only start stridulating when its mating time?

  • Also, on heating... I've found that a 100w ceramic heat light, placed about 5 inches above the screen top, along with a mylar rescue blanket, keep the enclosure right at 86°F, even in my chilly (68°F) basement. We used a $1 rescue blanket, laid out under the bin, then clip up each side. If you want it a bit cooler, just unclip one side. Its kind of like a solar oven:-)

  • @Meghan - the crickets only start chirping when they're ready to mate, and as i recall the males may reach sexual maturity a couple days before the females. You can check them for fully formed wings to see if they've reached adulthood yet, and they also very quickly outgrow the final nymph instar once they reach adulthood.

  • Thank you!

  • Jakob Dzamba, who was finessed out his McGill Hult prize, has posted his do-it-yourself cricket rearing plans as open source technology. The link below can be navigated to "build it yourself".

    Just about 1 month ago he began sellings his "Cricket-Habitat" designed to herd the growing crickets in various forms. Click on "buy" to review his very reasonable products. There's a brief video of an operating unit too. Dzamba's 3MF website has more sections but here's the more practical link = http://www.thirdmillenniumfarming.com/17. Cricket-Reactor Move to Corp/04.-Product.html

  • hi, what is the best substrate for cricket laying eggs.. some people use sand, soil, husk..

  • is this acheta domestica? 20140930_072831

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