Dendroboard banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About 7-8 months ago, I decided to start a cricket culture. I have red eyed tree frogs and hate wasting so much money on crickets at pet stores. My first culture went great. I cleaned it out and fed off the last of the crickets about a month and a half ago. It honestly never really smelled over the 6 months I had it. If you literally put your head in it, it kinda smelled like a hamster cage. But it wasn't disgusting. So I cleaned out the tub and started a new culture (started with 500 1/4inch just like the first time) a Month and a half ago. Within 2 weeks, it started smelling bad. It got so bad, that I had to remove all the crickets, vermiculite, egg cartons, & paper tubes & clean it again. There were a significant amount of dead ones under all the egg cartons, and I noticed small worms along the edges. I figured they might be cricket larvae? Anyways, I put the same crickets back in (only the living ones) but with everything else new. It was fine for a week...now it's gotten really smelly again.

The only thing I can think that would be making it smell so unbelievably bad are the massive amount of dead crickets and their gross rotting bodies. Yes their waste smells, but I hadn't had that problem in my last culture. Why does it smell so bad?? Why are so many dying? Has anyone else had these issues? Could they have a virus or disease they are all catching or something?

I don't have a garage or basement...the crickets kinda have to be in the main part of my house. If I can't get the smell under control, they have to go..and maybe the tree frogs too:(

More information on my culture (if this helps):
20ish gallon tub
2-3 inches of plain vermiculite in bottom of tub
2 large holes cut in lid with metal screening over the holes
4-5 large pieces of egg carton
5-6 paper towel tubes
2 large water/gel crystal bowls (I try to keep their water out of the vermiculite so mold doesn't start)
Plenty of dry cricket food
Some pieces of potato, lettuce, carrots (not so much that it's rotting tho)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
347 Posts
I only breed them during summer when I can keep them in garage. Have always smelled bad. I thought my FF cultures were bad but crickets are worse. As far as them dying I have no idea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AZimm

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,076 Posts
This is just a guess...probably fly larva...I had lots of tree frogs and the cricket thing..used to clean the tub every week.. I never used vermiculite..and perhaps that is an issue. I did everything you mentioned but also used big Rubbermaid tubs and kept them in the bathroom with the paper rolls from paper towels...that was all. Would feed occasional veggies, bug burger and just water crystals... I loved my tree frogs, but decided seeing frogs in the day was better than watching them sleep.......
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
I breed crickets year round for my collection of various animals. Some suggestions I can make:

Make sure your dry cricket food is not calcium based - if it is, use it only for 24-48 hours as a gutload. There's several studies about increased cricket mortality associated with growing crickets and high calcium diets.

There shouldn't be any larva associated with the crickets, as they hatch out as miniature versions of the adults, so I suspect you have/had an infestation of phorid flies - you were right to clean out the container.

I keep mine in a bare bottom rubbermaid tub with plenty of vertical eggcrates so there is lots of standing room and frass falls to the bottom. I provide a dampened tray of coconut fiber as egg laying substrate, which I rotate out of the bin weekly to a "nursery" container to hatch.

Once weekly I shopvac out any shed exoskeletons, spilled food, frass, and dead crickets so that no phorids, etc. are attracted. I think it's important to keep them clean and dry. The only moisture I provide is the damp nesting tray and a petri dish of water crystals.

Hope this helps! You can also try culturing Dubia. They're less finicky about conditions, noise-free, and don't smell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,076 Posts
I've raised both...and you are right, the dubias are much easier to raise...but having the right critters to eat them is more difficult...I wish I had arranged for buyers before the 6 I started with became umpteen in much less than a year...and it was tricky to choose the boys to feed out until they got kinda big...but they sure are easy to raise....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't think my feed is calcium based...but I'll have to check with my supplier. He just sells zip locks full for $5. I will definitely keep that in mind, thanks! And the Dubia roaches.....I did try those once. But I was actually more grossed out by them than the crickets:( A few got out and I found them occasionally running around my house for months after. Mainly when it was hot & humid during the summer. Haven't seen any lately. But, it's true, they really didn't smell. Thanks for the advice, all:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,322 Posts
What species of cricket are you trying to raise? If its the typical brown house cricket (Acheta domesticus) and the crickets are dying before they become adults then your probably dealing with Acheta domesticus densovirus. It kills over 95% of the infected crickets. If your containers or the source of the crickets (like a pet store bin) had been previously exposed then that could be the source of the infection.

As noted above the maggots are most likely to be phorid flies growing in the carcasses of the dead crickets. You can help prevent them from establishing in the cultures by using a finer mesh screen on the containers and making sure that the lids meet tightly enough to exclude them.

You can try an alternate cricket that isn't susceptiable to the virus like the banded cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus) which is available from some dealers.

Some comments

Ed
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top