Cricket Keeping

Bjorgly

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
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Aug 7, 2002
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729
Hi all, I was wondering how all of you keep your crickets?

Now i dont mean you guys who have thousands at a time but for those who only have a few spiders or so. I keep mine in a small tupperware container, about 4X4 inches. I only keep between 12 and 20 or so at a time so it works pretty well with holes punched in the lid for air. However, i have not encountered a creature in my life that stinks so much. They reak! I dont know how to give them water because a seperate dish in there would surely tip over whenever i pick it up. Anyways, i have cricket feed in there at all times and sometimes i drop some water in. However, the water makes the smell 10 times worse. IT clumps cricket crap, cricket food, and dead crickets into a ball and creates a stench unbelieveabaly worse than anything you have ever smelt.

Anyways, anyone have any ideas of how i can better keep my crickets? keep in mind i dont have too many at one point only 12-20 or so as i only have 2 spiders. Ideas on how i can keep the smell down as well as give them water would be appreciated as i have got to the point where i dont even give them water anymore because they stink so bad. And i cant leave them outside because they will die in the cold nights. Or perhaps i am being unreasonable of one of the necessities of tarantula keeping - crickets.

All help is appreciated, thanks!

Mark
 

Mendi

Arachnowolf
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Jul 19, 2002
Messages
1,387
Might I suggest you start a colony of feeder roaches? They have hardly no smell, they are quiet, and they won't attack your T if it gets left in too long and the T decides to molt. After the colony gets going good you won't even need to bother with crickets anymore unless you just want your Ts to have something different. And if you get B.discoidalis or B.dubia roaches they can't climb smooth surfaces, so the threat of escape doesn't need to be a consideration... inless they were to fall from your tongs ;)

But if you must keep the crickets, you may want to go into the fishing area of a store and get one of the screen cricket holders. This will cut down on the odors by having more airflow. And look for this polymer that you'll find in gardening sections or stores that will absorb water and become a gel. Then put this in a small pet dish in with the crickets so they'll have water that isn't messy, or just keep them using potato quarter as both water and food supply.
 

jwb121377

Arachnoangel
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Aug 20, 2002
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907
I also do like Mendi said to give the crickets water and food I just trow in either half a potato or an apple. It works very well for all size crickets, as long as you change it every two days or so.
 
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Botar

Arachnoprince
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Aug 27, 2002
Messages
1,442
I keep mine in a rubbermaid shoe box and use the polymer crystals mentioned earlier for water needs. For food, I've got some left over turtle food from a previously owned aquatic turtle that they seem to love. I'll throw other stuff in for variety. As for the smell, I go through a daily routine of "bringing out the dead". That seems to help a great deal. Someone had mentioned in another post that a substrate also helps tremendously in this area. The type mentioned was peat moss, but I'm sure any of the normal T subs would work. I have a few meal worm cultures going as well. Easy care and no smell. The tiny ones work great for slings, but I have no info or experience as to whether or not they can be dangerous, as can crickets. I'm currently working on the roach colony approach.

Botar
 

Rookie

Arachnoknight
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Aug 16, 2002
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283
Is anyone paying attention anymore?

This was a thread back in august, but I hope I can grab someone's attention to it.
I'm getting my VERY FIRST t this week. a g. pulchra s'ling. i'm very nervous right now about housing, and feeding. i've been getting a lot of suggestions for housing him, but i want to go over food some more.
do any of you use pinheads? are they appropriate for s'lings? how do pins differ from normal crix? some people say i can just use 'small' normal crickets for my sling, but i want to make sure the t will be safe!
and if botar is around, could you tell me a little about the mealworms. are they hard to find compared to crix? most pet stores i go to have crix and that's it. can you get MW at pet stores? anymore food suggestions/cricket tips for s'lings would be greatly appreciated.
i'm very excited, but i want to be sure that i'm prepared to receive my first T!
Thanks,
The Rookie
 

Code Monkey

Arachnoemperor
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Jul 22, 2002
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3,786
Re: Is anyone paying attention anymore?

Originally posted by Rookie
do any of you use pinheads? are they appropriate for s'lings? how do pins differ from normal crix? some people say i can just use 'small' normal crickets for my sling, but i want to make sure the t will be safe!
True pinheads are more of a pain in the ass than is worth it in my experience. They're only about 1/8" or so and you still pay the same amount per cricket as you do with the larger sizes. They're hard to catch without killing, really prone to rapid die off if conditions get out of balance, and, to be honest, are too small to be practical except for the tiniest of slings.

A hungry sling can attack and subdue any cricket it's body length or shorter. Furthermore, slings have zero issues about taking dead prey. So you can pay $0.75 for 8 pinheads, or you can pay $0.09 for one medium cricket and cut it up into 8 pieces (which will still probably be larger than a pinhead). In your case with just one sling, you can stretch that medium cricket by freezing it and cutting off little bits at a time. Similar dismemberment works well for meal worms. Flightless fruit flies are another good way to provide food that can't fight back to a tiny sling, although not very cost effective if you only have one sling.

The key thing is to calm down. Tarantulas *are* the predator. Yes, crickets have been known to injure or kill Ts, but in the grand scheme of things it's no more common than the family dog killing a person. The typical "cricket killed the T" scenario usually involves a moulting T which gets nibbled on and subsequently dies of blood loss. An active, moving T is not under any significant danger from a cricket so long as its size does not exceed the body length of the T.
 

atavuss

Arachnoprince
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Aug 16, 2002
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1,034
Originally posted by Botar
I I have a few meal worm cultures going as well. Easy care and no smell. The tiny ones work great for slings, but I have no info or experience as to whether or not they can be dangerous, as can crickets. I'm currently working on the roach colony approach.

Botar
what kind of mealworms are you raising? what are you using for substrate, food, water, etc. temps you are keeping them at? any and all husbandry tips are appreciated as I am always looking to expand my food raising capabilities for my herps/inverts. TIA
Ed
 

Botar

Arachnoprince
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Aug 27, 2002
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To Rookie and Avatuss

I've got cultures going of the common mealworm. (what I find in pet stores). They are the larval stage of the darkling beetle. (I'm no expert, corrections from the insect gods are welcomed) I keep them in rubbermaid food storage tubs. The ones that could hold like 3 sandwiches stacked up. I don't even use the tops, as the larval nor adult stages can climb. I keep them in about 2 - 1/2 inches of oat bran flakes that I buy in the baking section of the grocery store. Once or twice a week, I put in a slice of potato or lettuce for their moisture requirements. Keep an eye on the greens though, from what I've read, mold is a killer for the culture.

This is how I did it and I've got a variety of sizes now. I bought the meal worms and kept them at room temp in the previously mentioned set up. They will molt into pupae and then into the adult beetles. After about 2 weeks, I move the adult beetles into a new set up. After 2 weeks I move the adult beetles again. By moving the adult beetles, they lay eggs in each set up and you have cultures about 2 weeks apart. The mealworms are super tiny and I find it easiest to pull out some of the substrate with a spoon and slowly search through it pushing out the "non-mealworm" pieces. When done, you'll have a mealworm or two in the spoon and can dump it right into the T's enclosure. I've had the most luck with dumping it right near the sling or in it's webbing. That doesn't give the mealworm time to dive into the substrate. I've noticed that the T will dig it out though, even if the mealworm dives. So far, it has worked great. I've got 4 "cultures" going with enough mealworms to more than fit my sling needs. I use them as a variation on the diet for the T's. I still use crickets and I'm getting ready to start a roach colony.

With the pinheads, I keep them in a small deli dish type container. To get them out, I tilt it to one side. A few of the pinheads will start toward the edge. I just move them along with a fan-tail type artist's paintbrush and push them over the edge into a small pill vial. I can them dump them into the T's enclosure from the pill vial.

If any of this is not clear, let me know. I can also send/post pictures if you think it will help.

Botar

PS - To raise pinheads, just put a bottle cap or milk jug cap of moist potting soil, vermiculite, or peat moss in with your adult crickets for a week or so. They will lay their eggs in the cap and then you can move the cap to a small container that will make it easier for you to tilt it and push the little guys out with the paint brush.
 
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GQ.

Arachnodemon
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 12, 2002
Messages
767
Bjorgly,

I keep my crickets in a large rubbermaid container. I don't put any substrate in it at all. I put egg crate pieces in for the crickets to hide on. I offer food on small dishes (actually plastic peanut butter lids). In one lid I place ground up rodent chow. I bought a blender at a garage sale specifically to grind up the rodent chow. In a second dish I keep sliced oranges, potatoes, or oranges. This satisfies all of their water needs. If I want pin head crickets I just put a small deli cup with moist vermiculite in with the crickets. Adult females begin to depsit their eggs in the vermiculite almost immediately. I then move the deli cup into another large rubbermaid container. Soon there are pin head crickets all over the new rubbermaid. This has worked well for me. Not having any substrate makes clean up very easy. Just make sure you use the tall rubbermaid containers so the adult crickets cannot jump out.

Here are some tips on raising mealworms too. I buy a bag of cornmeal which I use for substrate. I generally heat up the cornmeal in the oven for a few minutes at around 100 degrees F to kill any mites that may be in the corn meal. I then fill a shoebox sized rubbermaid about a few inches deep with the corn meal. I place a few slices of potato and apple on the surface for their moisture needs. I also dump some oatmeal in there if I have any on hand. I drop a container of 100 meal worms in and let them be. Soon you will see pupae and then soon after that you will see beetles. The beetles lay eggs and soon enough you will see tiny mealworms crawling on the potato/apple pieces. That's about it. They multiply like crazy. I don't worry too much about temperature. I just keep them in my reptile room which stays slightly above room temperature. If you want them to multiply you should NOT place them in the refrigerator.
 
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