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Ok, I know this has been covered in here before, but I would like to get some fresh ideas going. So,

What do you need to breed crickets? How do you set it up? What temps do you keep it at? Humidity? When to look for eggs? Any help would be greatly appreciated. THe only crickets I have breed are the ones that my veiled chameleon hadn't eaten that were in her cage. I now have zillions of pinheads in there, with no way to catch them. THey look like a very good food for darts and mantellas. SO, someone please help me out.

Ed parker
 

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LONG POST!!!

Breeding crix (if you are not allergic and have other herps to eat adults) is a GREAT way to add variation to a dart's diet with easily gutloaded animals. I learned my main large-scale way via NAIB with slight variations from others I've talked to.

Quick summary - you need adult winged males and females, and a place to lay. Set up in a dry container, no bedding or anything (as described below), eggcrate/crumpled newspaper/paper towel tubes etc., food and water source. Lost of ventilation for moderate (room) humidity (high humidity and it starts reeking and getting moldy). Don't need to really look for eggs, just pull your egg cotnainer out a couple days after introduction and wait two weeks. If you are willing to wait a bit before feeing your chameleon, you can breed those crix and then feed them, it just requires some planning.

I usually buy 500-1000 "prewing" crix (lg size at your local petco/petsmart) as feeders for leo gex and my bearded dragon. This can easily be done ona smaller scale with a critter keeper and a few dozen adults. I recomend prewing vs. adult due to the fact that "adults" have usually already laid eggs and are past their breeding prime when you get them, and tend to die quickly in my experience since they are at the end of their lifecycle. "Prewing" crix are usually one to two sheds from being "adult" winged animals ready to breed (usually within a week the crix are mostly breeding winged adults). At the winged stage the adult males chirp like crazy trying to get the girls in the mood.

I keep adults in large sweater boxes (18 inches deep sterilites) to large trashcans with lots of eggcrates/cardboard. These must have a METAL (not fiberglass) window screening top, smooth packing tape ring around the inside near the top (to keep them from climbing out, this only works with containers too deep for them to jump out of from the highest inner surface) or both, high ventalation being key. The eggcrate is important as the animals are territorial, and this added surface space/hiding places allow you to keep a higher population going. Water sources and food should be present at all times. This can be cricket water gel, water pillows, water/food gel, commercial crix dry food, and veggies. I personally use water pillows, dry commerical diet (mixed brands from various places), and lots of healthy veggies (with a basis of dark leafy romaine lettuce and sweet potatoes).

Keep these containers CLEAN or the bugs will reek! Clean every day to every other day depending on how many you have. Replace food daily, and water sources as they dry out/get dirty. Usually sweeping out the dead adults and poop is enough for the few weeks the adults are in there, and then giving the container a good cleaning in between batches. After the initial laying period I usually feed off the crickets. While you will continue to get eggs, the yeild is much lower, and you start seeing a higher die-off rate.

I usually wait til a couple days after most of the crix are winged adults before putting containers in the tubs for them to lay in. At this point you should see a lot of fat females roaming about. The substrate can be peat, expanded coco brick (bed-a-beast), vermiculite, or plain old dirt, moist but not wet. The containers I use are gladware with a hole cut in the lid covered with the FF mesh stuff (super fine). The unlidded container(s) are put in with the adults and the females should go crazy laying in them. Usually after a couple days you can take out the containers, add the lid, and sit them in a warm area (or on heat tape). Around two weeks later you should see pinheads swarming.

If you use small gladware containers, you can stick them right in a tank with a bunch of frogs and let the frogs have a good time. Otherwise, they can go in a similar container as adults, with smaller screening on the lid. You can't use the same water sources for pinheads (they stick to it) so fresh cut sweet potatoes and romaine lettuce acts as a water source and food source. Apples, etc also work well, althought I find they stick to citrus fruits as well.
 

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If you want to transfer those pin heads... just throw in an egg crate (not the one people use for false bottom, the real one for holding eggs)... wait a while for them to crawl up and tranfer it to a bucket/fish tank etc.

Hope that helps, I didn't see this post until now.

SB
 

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Crickets are easy, even I can do it. :wink: I just got 20 adults from the pet store, put them in a 10 gallon tank with a metal screen lid and paper towels as substrate (they tend to shed stuff, die, etc. and get it all stuck to the bottom of the tank, very gross when you have to wash it out, and it smells) as well as some paper towel tubes and two plastic pots that plants come in from home depot or some place like that, filled with expanded bed-a-beast....stuff. :D After a week or so, I just removed the pots and put them in a seperate container for the baby crickets to hatch out. As far as adult crickets, I don't really have anything to feed them to, so I just let them go in my yard, because in tight spots, I just catch small crickets from outside anyway. :)
 

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I wouldn't recomend releasing them outside, they are not a native species (they are actually domestic house crickets, its like releasing your dog because you are tired of it). I'd freeze them and throw them out in the trash.

I honestly don't see how paying $10+ for mail order "pinheads" is cheaper. I can spend $5 on large crickets at a pet store and get more pinheads for half the price and a little effort. Plus day old pinheads are smaller than the "pinheads" you get shipped (which are more like week-olds, there is a significant size difference) which is better for smaller froglets. You also get to gutload them more and don't have the die off you normally get with mail-order "pinheads" due to the time they don't get fed.
 
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