Field crickets as a food source. Why are they not sold?

Tim Benzedrine

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I recently obtained a albino pacman frog, C. cranwelli, and am pondering what I'll feed it as it grows larger. Which led me to wonder-why are field crickets not available? You know the ones I mean, the big black buggers.. It probably takes 3 or four of the domestic crickets used as feeders to make one good sized field cricket. It seems to me that they would make a larger meal, bridging the gap between the standard crickets and roaches. (Roaches, by the way, won't be a feeding option here.) I'll be pretty much stuck with standard domestic crickets, night-crawlers, and very infrequent frozen mice. And maybe the odd guppy once in awhile.

I've been googling both pet food and biological suppliers and I haven't seen them for sale at any of them. Are they difficult to culture, making large scale production impractical? Or is it just a lack of demand? I did read that the eggs of the northern species require a cool period, maybe that is part of the reason they are not raised commercially. Has anyone ever seen them offered for sale?
I'd be afraid to feed wild-caught ones here, though the threat of pesticides would actually be pretty minimal. I'd be more concerned about some kind of parasite making a crossover. I did give one to a Rose-Hair tarantula once. It kept him occupied for quite awhile with no ill effects. But I was nervous about it for several days and decided not to try it again.
 
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Scott C.

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If I ever found enough to try out I would, but I have only ever seen one, or two around here..... Never seen them for sale either.....
 

Tim Benzedrine

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Around here in the fall the adults are pretty easy to find. I don't know if you could find enough to make it a safe, reliable food source, though. Especially for an eating machine like a pacman frog. Gee, maybe I've discovered an untapped business opportunity!;)
 

Scott C.

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I'd buy 'em if they were available.... They are way bigger than the pet shop pests.... and no where near as ugly.
 

AviculariaLover

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There is a grad student at the insect lab here who said he raised those black field crickets for quite a long time, he said they were super easy, didn't smell, and seemed curious as to why I thought it would be a hassle to try to raise crickets. He scoffed when I mentioned breeding roaches. Sadly he no longer has the crickets but I might try to get more information out of him.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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It would be interesting to hear about. If you do get more info, find out how long it takes them to reach maturity. Maybe that is a factor in the commercial viability of raising them.
It couldn't take more than a few months at the longest, so I don't see why that would be a problem, but there has to be some reason the resource has remained untapped.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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Whoops! You would be correct! I retrieved the name from memory, which obviously was faulty. I'll correct it in my post to avoid confusion. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
 

P.jasonius

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I wouldn't mind hearing more about this, as well. I tried my hand at raising the pet shop crickets, and man do they smell. I'm fairly certain the field cricks make better song as well, something that some complain about but I enjoy.
If what your friend says is true, and these don't smell as bad, this may yet prove a lucrative enterprise. I, too, have always wondered about them not being sold. They may actually be more dangerous to your pets. Have you compared their rear legs to those of the brown crickets? More spines, more mass.
 

nickbachman

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i dont know about it being a lucrative enterprise. clearly it's been thought of before, and there has to be a reason they're not being raised for food.
 

Tim Benzedrine

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I had thought about the spurred legs issue and if I was using those kind of crickets, I'd probably amputate them before feeding. But I don't guess they'd be that big a threat to a full grown pacman, on the other hand.

I wasn't really serious about it being a business opportunity for me, by the way. I'd just thought they'd make a more filling meal than the regular crickets we buy.
 

cacoseraph

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the domestica sold in petshops have amazingly fast metabolism and short life cycles and have been selectively bred that way on purpose. from the perspective of the large suppliers they could probably get like, higher order exponential growth/production from the fast domestica vs. the natural living black crickets

it would probably be hard to culture the black fellas anywhere near as fast as the domestica... but they might make a nice side culture as snack food or for breeding projects or something
 

skinheaddave

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it would probably be hard to culture the black fellas anywhere near as fast as the domestica...
Bingo. I've tried and it isn't nearly as easy or fast. It is something I am going to take a shot at again with better setups, but I don't think there is any commercial merit to it -- just another way to fritter away time in as enjoyable a way as possible. :D

Cheers,
Dave
 

Tleilaxu

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I think you maybe able to make a small income from field crickets, I would love to have the larger crick availible. Alas they will never be mainstream BUT I think they could find secure footing on the more smaller scale ops. The ones up here grow huge at least 1-1/2 inch.
 

ScorpDemon

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My cricket supplier told me one time why he didnt breed them, it wasn't the growth rate, I can't remember what it was, but I'll email him and ask him, and post here.
 

Bear Foot Inc

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I think it is because they are native you cant ship them to some states and you might need permits... I"ll look into it too though because I'd like to try breeding/selling them as well.
~Samuel
 

EAD063

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I've *heard* the smell worse compared to domestic ones.
 

ScorpDemon

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It was something about a nutrient in the exoskeleton being toxic to most animals, or a parasite that has to live within them for them to survive if I remember correctly, probably a line of BS to keep me from catching my own feeders. Sounded like BS at the time. Not that I would feed WC feeders anyway.
 
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