How can I keep my crickets alive longer?

Between the smell, noise, and maintenance required, crickets can be a hassle. Still, they're reasonably nutritious and great to include as part of a varied and balanced diet for most insectivorous reptiles. Follow these tips to get the most out of your cricket order.

Low Humidity

Excessive humidity build-up is the most common cause of untimely cricket deaths. There are several ways to avoid this.

  1. Use a mesh lid. Small ventilation holes aren't going to cut it for most set-ups. A plastic cricket keeper or glass aquarium with a screen lid will do the trick. Otherwise, you'll need to melt or cut large holes into a plastic container and secure pieces of fine screen or mesh to cover those holes.
  2. Use a layer of vermiculite at the bottom of the holding enclosure to absorb excessive moisture.
  3. Periodically replace the cardboard tubes or egg crate flats, especially if they feel flimsy or damp.
  4. Avoid overcrowding. 1 gallon per 100 crickets is the general rule of thumb. Adding more surface area (AKA tubes or egg flats) will also keep the crickets from coming into contact with each other and "sweating," which increases the humidity.
  5. Run a fan or a dehumidifier in the room where the crickets stay to keep the ambient humidity down.

This level of over-crowding could very well result in the premature death of your batch of crickets.

Warm Temperature

Crickets should do alright at room temperature, but providing them with heat will keep them healthier, which may help them live longer. The ideal temperature for crickets is about 80°F. You can use a heating pad, heat lamp, or space heater, as long as you follow proper safety precautions and ensure the temperature doesn't climb above 85°F.

Proper Care

Crickets are high-maintenance feeder insects. They die easily, and even under the right conditions, they don't live very long. That's why most people don't (or can't) breed them at home! To keep your crickets alive for their entire expected lifespan of 2-3 weeks, you'll need to:

  1. Ensure they have constant access to food.
  2. Ensure they have constant access to moisture.
  3. If you use a water dish, use a product or tool to prevent them from drowning in the water.
  4. Supply them with grippable surfaces (like cardboard) because smooth surfaces like glass or plastic will cause them so much stress that they'll die.
  5. Remove dead crickets and old food daily.
  6. Clean out the frass (insect poop) and rinse the container with hot water every 2 weeks.

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