Feeding Crickets OK?

JDP5

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
4
This probably sounds absurd and hopefully it is, but I've seen this pop a few times and for my peace of mind I'd like to put this to rest...

Are crickets, bought in the US from established pet stores, okay to feed our animals/arachnids? I ask because of the prevalence of nematodes and other parasites and from what I've read crickets can carry parasites readily. If the T or scorpion eats said cricket can they get the parasites? For the record I have fed all of my T's crickets in the past and lately I've taken care gut load all the animals I feed and at least observe them for 24 hours but this has been bothering me and I'd hate to find out the hard way. Someday in the near future I'd like to start a roach colony but I have to move past some preconceptions about them and convince myself its worth the effort.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or advice on this.
 

TownesVanZandt

Arachnoprince
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,020
This probably sounds absurd and hopefully it is, but I've seen this pop a few times and for my peace of mind I'd like to put this to rest...

Are crickets, bought in the US from established pet stores, okay to feed our animals/arachnids? I ask because of the prevalence of nematodes and other parasites and from what I've read crickets can carry parasites readily. If the T or scorpion eats said cricket can they get the parasites? For the record I have fed all of my T's crickets in the past and lately I've taken care gut load all the animals I feed and at least observe them for 24 hours but this has been bothering me and I'd hate to find out the hard way. Someday in the near future I'd like to start a roach colony but I have to move past some preconceptions about them and convince myself its worth the effort.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or advice on this.
I`m not from the US, but I have used crickets bought from pet stores here in Norway for years with no issues. A bigger problem might be that all stores except grocery stores and pharmacies might be closed for some time due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the US as well, so a dubia colony might be a good idea in these times.
 

Sgt7212

Arachnopeon
Joined
Feb 26, 2020
Messages
10
This probably sounds absurd and hopefully it is, but I've seen this pop a few times and for my peace of mind I'd like to put this to rest...

Are crickets, bought in the US from established pet stores, okay to feed our animals/arachnids? I ask because of the prevalence of nematodes and other parasites and from what I've read crickets can carry parasites readily. If the T or scorpion eats said cricket can they get the parasites? For the record I have fed all of my T's crickets in the past and lately I've taken care gut load all the animals I feed and at least observe them for 24 hours but this has been bothering me and I'd hate to find out the hard way. Someday in the near future I'd like to start a roach colony but I have to move past some preconceptions about them and convince myself its worth the effort.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or advice on this.
Crickets are fine. I fed them to my bearded dragon when he was a baby (he was given 50/50 crickets to dubias). I will occasionally pick up some crickets, horn worms, super worms, wax worms etc... for variety, but not because I need to.

As for Dubias, I will make my case below. Hopefully you find it helpful.

I established a colony when I got my Bearded Dragon, and the maintenance is minimal. They are very convenient and very well worth it.

Advantages of dubias and keeping a colony:
They don’t stink like crickets
They are less likely to have parasites or other disease
They don’t climb smooth surfaces, don’t jump, don’t fly (males have wings but they are only useful for controlled descent in a fall)
Dubias don’t make noise.
They are more nutritious
They are fairly self sustaining once the colony is established. With minimal maintenance.

How to set up a colony:
1) Get a large Sterilite, Rubbermaid or other tote with a secure fitting lid.
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2) Get a few 2.5 inch round screen vents with tabs. I installed 2 vents in the lid and one on the side wall of one end. Do NOT install screen vents on both ends of the tub. ( will be explained below)
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3) Get egg crate flats and use a flat piece of cardboard to separate them so they don’t wedge together. The cardboard also gives the dubias more surface area to move around. The egg crates go towards the end of the tub that does NOT have the screen vents.
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4) Get a good thermostat. I use a Vivarium Electronics, but Herpstat is another good brand. You will also need to order heat tape with crimp connectors. I used 11” wide tape and cut it to cover most of the surface area on the OUTSIDE bottom of the tub. Attach it to the bottom of the tub with heat resistant foil tape and make sure the probe from the thermostat is taped to the tub ( probe should be between the tub and the heat tape and under the area you will be putting the egg crates). Dubias need temps of at least 80-85 degrees in order to reproduce.
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5) Get a mix of adult females and males. I used a ratio of 3-5 females for each male and it worked well for me. As your colony grows, you may find you have too many males. That will stress out the females and production will drop, so if feeding off adults, most of the time feed off the males. Just make sure you don’t thin them out too much.
For food and water, I’ve found the easiest and most effective way is Repashy Bug Burger. It is a powder that you mix in a Rubbermaid tub (8-10 cup size container). When needed I cut off slices and lay them in the tub (See photo above. Repashy slices are to the right of the egg crate flats). Roaches love it and come up to eat with the lights on and while I do tub maintenance. It’s food and water all in one. You can refrigerate for 2 weeks and it keeps well. They say you can pre-make batches and then freeze it for up to 6 months but I’ve never done that.
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6) Female dubias, once they are settled in, husbandry is right etc... will produce 25-35 live nymphs every 30 days or so. If your colony is the right size for your needs, some of those nymphs will be fed off at various stages of their life and others will make it to adulthood and become fresh breeders for your colony. HOWEVER, pay attention to your colony. After a while inbreeding will cause your adults to become smaller and their production will drop off as well. For this reason, every 8-12 months, I order at least 10 females, 5 males and sometimes 100-500 nymphs of varying sizes, just to ensure I keep introducing new blood to the gene pool.

I think I covered everything. Someone let me know if I left out any details.
 

Kaden Bryant

Arachnosquire
Active Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2017
Messages
72
Chains like petsmart/petco have notoriously low quality feeders. There have been cases where certain reptiles have obtained parasites like pinworms from the feeders there. Although I do not know if this is possible with Ts.
 

omni

Arachnobaron
Arachnosupporter
Joined
Apr 30, 2007
Messages
332
I think there is some possibility of parasites in crickets, but for 12 years that's all I fed my PZB and the rest. I never had any issue with mites, nematodes or whatever. Then started a colony of lateralis; I had too many T's to keep buying from LPS, but a cricket colony was too hard to get going. I favor lateralis bcs they breed and grow faster than dubia, but dubia get bigger, easier to catch and more nutritious. they are less creepy too, haha so why don't I have them? IDK. I keep lateralis and P. nivea, but really don't feed the greenies off. I just have them
 

JDP5

Arachnopeon
Joined
Mar 25, 2020
Messages
4
I can't thank everyone enough. The replies are awesome and I can see I made the right choice in joining the board and participating. I personally don't have an issue with keeping dubias as bugs don't really creep me out, but I have a small collection of 7 and justifying the work that goes into it is hard when I can buy a bunch of feeders, gut load them and watch them for 24 hours before feeding to suss out any issues. I haven't had an issue in all these years and than all the sudden I over thought things and boom, now I question my husbandry. LOL. I really do appreciate all the responses though, it encouraging.
 

cold blood

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
11,285
Chains like petsmart/petco have notoriously low quality feeders. There have been cases where certain reptiles have obtained parasites like pinworms from the feeders there. Although I do not know if this is possible with Ts.
its really just a matter of feeding your crickets quality food before feeding your animals.
 
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