Are your crickets dying soon after you get them?

Does it seem like no matter what you do, they won’t stay alive?

This is a  frequent problem that  new cricket owners face and it can be very discouraging when you realize that your crickets are dying before you can use them.  It’s especially difficult when you need the crickets to feed your reptile pet.  The good news is that you can quickly correct this problem and keep your crickets alive.  First you must identify what you are doing wrong.

There are 4 main reasons that crickets die prematurely:

1.) Insufficient Ventilation  -  What type of container are you keeping your crickets in?   Crickets need a roomy enclosure with plenty of air holes.  It’s actually best to have a screen top for the smoothest air circulation.  Sure, you can get away with poking holes into a plastic top, but there will have to be many of them in order to ensure that your crickets get enough air.   There also needs to be enough space in the container for the amount of crickets you are housing.  If the tank is too small,  crickets will trample and injure each other. This can be prevented by using the right size container and plenty of egg cartons.

2.)  Drowning - What are you using as a water source?  Crickets are susceptible to drowning.  If you are using a regular water dish, this is more than likely the reason that they are dying.   To prevent your crickets from drowning, you can use fresh fruit as the water source.  Oranges or apples work perfect.   If you want to, you can still use a small water dish.  Just make sure that the dish is only filled with about 1/4 inch of water.  You should also place a sponge inside the dish so that the crickets can climb out easily.   Another alternative idea would be to just use a little wet sponge as the water source.

3.) Poor Sanitary Conditions – How are you maintaining the enclosure?   Not only do crickets need proper nutrition and air flow,  but it is crucial that they have clean living quarters.    If one cricket dies, you need to remove the carcass as soon as possible.   Also, if you give your crickets any fresh food, you must remove any uneaten portions before they go bad.   If you have cleaned the tank,  what did you use?    It is best practice to stay away from harsh chemicals.  Be sure to check out my tips for cleaning cricket cages.

4.) Inadequate Temperature – Are you regulating the inside temperature of the cricket tank?   Are you using a heating lamp with the proper wattage?   Temperature is crucial.  Crickets need their habitat to be 75 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit in order to stay alive and healthy.  Anything colder than 75°F will cause death and cannibalism.  Also, the hotter the temperature, the shorter the lifespan of the crickets.

Some other things to keep in mind:   Crickets only have a lifespan of about 8-10 weeks.
Do you know how old your crickets were when you got them?    You should make sure that you buy them young so that they don’t die of old age before you can feed them to your pet.  If the death rate seems unusually high even after you take action to improve all of the above factors, it is possible that the cricket virus may be the culprit.

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