Has anyone heard of the cricket virus?

lunashimmer

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I've had 3 crickets die on me from the last batch I bought at my LPS on Monday. I'm not sure if it's because of this virus. :?


Here's the article I found. Scary!!!

From: http://www.titag.org/newsletter/issue1.html


Cricket Virus Wipes Out Growers in UK & Europe
by Jon Coote

Cricket Growers in Europe and the UK have been seriously impacted by a species-specific parvovirus, presumed to be a densovirus. Commonly known in the UK as ‘cricket paralysis virus’ first appearance in the UK from mainland Europe was in early 2002. All five major commercial cricket growers in the UK were infected before the end of 2002. This virus specifically attacks only the Common Brown or House cricket (Acheta domesticus), previously the core species in European trade, and the only species in trade in the USA.

In Europe, commercial growers regularly raise three alternative species of cricket, Banded cricket, also known as the Tropical House cricket (Gryllodes sigillatus), African Black Field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus), and Silent Brown cricket, also known as Jamaican
Field cricket (Gryllus similis), so the impact of loosing the Brown House cricket is not as serious as it would currently be in the USA.

Infected crickets die without any visible symptoms and at all stages of development, but death rates are heaviest at the pre-wing stage just before adult size. The effect is also cumulative. At first death rates are tolerable and many growers believe that they simply have a husbandry problem. Within as little as six weeks death rates become catastrophic and all viable commercial production is lost. Though a few adults may still survive, they are in too low numbers to support continued commercial production.

There is no known treatment and, being a virus, probably none will be found. Prevention is the only viable solution at this time. Experiments are being conducted to try to establish the vectors of this virus. I’ve arranged for one UK grower to conduct an experiment to see if the Dermestes beetles (commonly called Fuzzy Bugs) that infest most growers’ colonies are primary vectors of this virus. Other UK growers are trying to determine if any individuals can be found that are resistant to this virus. Imported crickets from the USA have proved to be particularly susceptible.

Where this virus came from is open to speculation, but it apparently first appeared in Germany, were commercial production of this species has now effectively ended. It may ultimately prove to have mutated from a similar virus that infects Wax Moth larvae (Galeria mellonella). These larvae are routinely used in research establishments to maintain a wide variety of insect viruses injected into them that researchers want to study. So this insect species is clearly especially adept at carrying insect viruses of many types and maintaining them in a viable form. It is possible that a mutation could have occurred in this way to ultimately infect Brown House crickets.

My position in both the UK and USA reptile industry, working with T-Rex Products, provides me with a unique opportunity to be able to talk candidly to both reptile breeders and insect growers, as our products complement theirs rather than compete. As a result I was able to call a meeting of all interested parties, including most of the largest US cricket growers, last August, at Wayne Hill’s Reptile Expo in Daytona Beach. Also present was one of the principal US reptile vets and a UK cricket grower, who was able to share his direct experiences with this virus. From that meeting I’ve continued an e-mail correspondence with the group to enable them to better understand this virus and what measures are likely to prevent it impacting on the US.

I’ve been able to establish a likely protocol to clean up after an infection, if that ever occurs, and locate a UK based researcher who would be interested in studying this virus. This researcher is currently working on baculoviruses for insect pest control and is intrigued by our problem. Much of her work focuses on trying to elucidate the ecology of insect diseases (persistence, transmission, etc.) in addition to pest control, which is the sort of study that is required. No one anywhere currently works on insect parvovirus ecology and biology, which does mean that some basic biology needs to be done to start with. If it is a parvovirus, it is presumed to be a densovirus, one of which has been previously reported from the Brown House cricket in a single report in the 1970s, in Montpellier in France. This researcher considers that my idea that it might be passively dispersed by Dermestes beetles is intriguing and perhaps a good place to start, hence the experiment described above.

During my investigations into this subject I came upon another researcher who was raising pathogen-free crickets, i.e. free of bacteria, etc., in special isolator systems. This is a very costly operation producing perhaps the most expensive insects reared worldwide! It could however provide an opportunity to re-colonize with disease free crickets if effective cleanup after this virus proves to be possible. Experiments are underway.

A well known parvovirus infects dogs. Believed to have mutated from feline parvovirus, also known as feline distemper virus, it first appeared in 1978 in the USA. It soon crossed the Atlantic to infect dogs in Europe. It is hoped that strict measures are voluntarily adopted to ensure that this cricket virus does not cross the ‘pond’ in the opposite direction.

All contact with European commercially grown insects should be avoided and imports of these into the USA should cease with immediate effect. It is known that the largest commercial producer of Wax Moth larvae in the UK has shipped surplus stock to the USA in the recent past. This should no longer be considered viable. It may be wise to establish from your supplier if insects are USA home grown or not. The Brown House cricket is commercially extinct in Europe. It would currently be a tragedy if the same situation were to occur in the USA, whilst prevention remains possible.

Jon Coote is a professional herpetologist, trained at the University of Nottingham in the UK. He is Director of Research & Development for T-Rex Products Inc. He is Chairman of the Livestock Advisory Panel, of the UK’s industry association, the Pet Care Trust, and Chairman, and past President, of the International Herpetological Society.
 
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forrestpengra

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We are currently going through this in Canada right now. I cannot get small crickets and the adults that I get have high mortality.

We have been discussing this in the Canadian forum quite a bit.
 

lunashimmer

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We are currently going through this in Canada right now. I cannot get small crickets and the adults that I get have high mortality.

We have been discussing this in the Canadian forum quite a bit.
I'm glad I didn't panic for absolutely nothing! Just ran across this from a cricket farm http://www.ghann.com/faq.cfm#0:

Is there really a CRICKET VIRUS going around?
Rumors are running rampant, so I thought it was time to interject some FACTS regarding this situation.


YES, a number of producers in the USA and Canada are having problems with a cricket virus.
THIS VIRUS WILL NOT HARM YOUR ANIMALS! It is a very species specific insect virus. It ONLY affects crickets - and in fact only one species - Acheta domesticus - which is the species all growers in the USA produce. The scientists that are working on the issue assure us that crickets - even ones infected with this virus - ARE SAFE TO FEED YOUR ANIMALS. If this were not so, we would tell you. Believe me - the LAST thing ANY of us cricket growers want is to harm the animals that put food on our tables!
We have been trying to help our industry comrades by selling crickets to them to help them stay afloat. Yes - they are our competitors, but they are our friends as well.
We are running short on crickets (primarily on the larger sizes - 5/8" and up) as a result of the huge increase in demand for our crickets. Therefore all sizes are not available for sale, either on our website or for call-in orders.
No one knows when the situation will be resolved. Those affected are doing their best to clean up their facilities and get back on their feet. We wish them the best, and are helping them when we can.
We appreciate your patience and understanding while our industry deals with this difficult issue.

- - -
Regards,

Clay Ghann
President/CEO
Ghann's Cricket Farm, Inc.
5/19/2010
 

forrestpengra

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Yeah it will probably take some time to get sorted out and certainly some producers won't bounce back.

A couple weeks ago I purchased 3 dozen Adults, within 12 hours 1/3 had died, another 1/3 was barely moving (basically parallyzed) and the remaining third behaved strangely slow.

I feed crickets to my slings but adults for the most part get B. dubia. I'm going to get some Lats sometime in the near future.
 

jbm150

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Is anyone breeding any other species of crickets here in the US? If not, why not? It'd be nice to have a larger species, like the Gryllus bimaculatus, as feeders for larger inverts. Plus, should something like this virus hit the US hard, at least we have some diversity to fall back on.

EDIT: For those of us who can't use roaches, that is
 

KenTheBugGuy

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Is anyone breeding any other species of crickets here in the US? If not, why not? It'd be nice to have a larger species, like the Gryllus bimaculatus, as feeders for larger inverts. Plus, should something like this virus hit the US hard, at least we have some diversity to fall back on.

EDIT: For those of us who can't use roaches, that is

I think some of the major crickets for breeding are not legal in all places in the US and the ones that are don't breed like the kind we use for our hobby. Not positive about that but jsut tid bits I have picked up from conversations in the past. I have a breeding group going right now just in case my supplier runs out. Also got Turkistans going. It would be devistating for me if I did not have a food supply of some sort ...I go through about 14,000 crickets a week.
 

missscarlett

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cricket paralysis virus

Here in WA State we have had an escalating problem with this. Many LPS just say "Oh, our vendor (almost all western WA LPS get from the same source) is just low right now because of (pick one)a.bad feed, b.a short-term illness that went through the last batch of crickets,c.got too hot/cold/radioactive (O.K....maybe I made that one up ;>). Noone talks about the cricket virus. Some local vets are advising their herp/T owners to switch to roach colonies. Cricket prices are increasing recently here as well.
Go figure! Out of 1000 crickets in a shipment, I was seeing 30-60% dead within two days! And this is with an immaculately clean facility and excellent care! In seems reasonable that, just like other "factory farmed animals" some breeders will be hygenic and others will go for the fast buck- it's up to the buyers to check out our sources. When any group of animals, vertebrates or invertebrates, are kept in such close proximity, is it not logical to assume viruses may develope that spread through such colonies?
I'm guessing that this will have to be resolved as people, herpers included, switch to or add other prey items. Hopefully, USDA will not panic, hopefully this virus won't be a danger to native orthopterans (think colony collapse disorder and native bees demise).
 

xhexdx

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If the crickets you bought were adults, then the odds are good that they died of old age.
 

Crysta

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even the crickets here at the petstore are only available in small sizes he said there are no big sizes, and I got 12 though pretty slow crickets.
I got these in PEI since the one in moncton had none at all available. (was passing by anyways.)

xhexdx even if they where adults they would live a little longer then two days and I think it would be highly unlikely for 30-60% to just go into death within that amount of time...

kenthebigguy....thats a lot of crickets man lol

maybe the gutload is infected at the petstores.... hahahaha
 

xhexdx

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xhexdx even if they where adults they would live a little longer then two days and I think it would be highly unlikely for 30-60% to just go into death within that amount of time...
The OP never stated they were only adults for two days.

They stated that they had them for two days.

Buying adult crickets is always a roll of the dice. You have no idea how long they've been mature.
 

lunashimmer

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The OP never stated they were only adults for two days.

They stated that they had them for two days.

Buying adult crickets is always a roll of the dice. You have no idea how long they've been mature.
xhexdx, yes, I buy whatever the LPS gives me...always adults, always varying sizes, varying maturities. But the ones that died were not the biggest ones I had bought this time--so I'm pretty sure they were not the oldest? The most mature ones are the BIG ones and the oldest males are the ones that chirp, right? I'd say the ones that died right away were "teenagers".

Anyway, as I live in FL I can't get roaches (I think--correct me if I'm wrong, please?), and I know that my Ts could live for a long time without being fed if something drastic were to happen to all the feeder crickets. I just wouldn't have as much fun with my Ts as I do now.
 

Crysta

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The OP never stated they were only adults for two days.

They stated that they had them for two days.

Buying adult crickets is always a roll of the dice. You have no idea how long they've been mature.
I was just assuming if he gets 1000 crickets he wouldn't get all adults because they would die before he could use them all...if its that much of a dice roll... unless he had a bunch of spiders and other reptiles, but then wouldn't he get enough for next week too if they were only to last about 2 days? Well if its the LPS he could always go the next day and get some :rolleyes:

I'm sure I was just inputing my experience instead of thinking of his situation... whoops.
 

xhexdx

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I get what you're saying, and the OP clarified anyway.

Usually when I buy them from an LPS, they don't have different sizes to choose from. You say you want 'x' amount and they get them for you.

Either way, my thoughts regarding death by old age were incorrect in this particular scenario.

--Joe
 

Crysta

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I get what you're saying, and the OP clarified anyway.

Usually when I buy them from an LPS, they don't have different sizes to choose from. You say you want 'x' amount and they get them for you.

Either way, my thoughts regarding death by old age were incorrect in this particular scenario.

--Joe
Yours don't? Mine provides 3 sizes, small, medium, and big all different prices...but now they only have had smalls for the past 3 weeks... due to the aforementioned. The dude said a fresh batch of small ones came in as well, and I was like, well with what's going around they aren't going to make it to the size I would like them to be... haha.

now...i go fetch me some superworm....
 

xhexdx

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If I need crickets, I need them in larger quantities anyway (500+), so I just call a bait shop in Florida and they'll ship them to me.

I use other feeders most of the time, and only order crickets when I'm low on the others.
 

scar is my t

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I think some of the major crickets for breeding are not legal in all places in the US and the ones that are don't breed like the kind we use for our hobby. Not positive about that but jsut tid bits I have picked up from conversations in the past. I have a breeding group going right now just in case my supplier runs out. Also got Turkistans going. It would be devistating for me if I did not have a food supply of some sort ...I go through about 14,000 crickets a week.
You really need a blog to talk about how you do things like getting 14000 crix and feeding them to the t's and other animals. And can I talk about the thing that is being contracted? IF of course that is actually true. I still cant wrap my head around the idea of them giving you that.......
 

Shell

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Yours don't? Mine provides 3 sizes, small, medium, and big all different prices...but now they only have had smalls for the past 3 weeks... due to the aforementioned. The dude said a fresh batch of small ones came in as well, and I was like, well with what's going around they aren't going to make it to the size I would like them to be... haha.

now...i go fetch me some superworm....
The LPS I get crickets from has "large" and "small" and they vary. This last time, the small ones were just a bit bigger then pinheads (which was perfect since I only need them for 4 tiny slings) but the large ones were more medium sized, so my big guys needed a few extra. The time before that, the large were basically ready to die and I just bought enough to feed everyone once, the smalls were more medium sized that time. I find it really varies. Also, I did have a bunch of the smalls die, I just picked up this last batch 2 days ago, so now I'm watching to see if there are any left when it's time to feed again.

So far I haven't had any issues getting them, hopefully that doesn't change but we'll see.
 

Draiman

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I am seeing the effects of this cricket pandemic over here as well - my regular cricket supplier has not had any Acheta domesticus available for the past couple of weeks.
 

fartkowski

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I just came back from my LPS and was told that their supplier has about 2 weeks worth of crickets left. Unless he finds another farm that has some left, that will be it till this is over.
 

lunashimmer

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I just talked to my LPS and they have NO crix. :eek: I asked why and the dude said they sold them all, and he expects a shipment on Tuesday. :) I asked if he'd heard of the virus and he said no. I know the guy I talked to is not the manager/owner, so next week when I stop by, I'll see if I can talk to that guy.

The PetSmart here in town has both small and large crickets. They haven't heard of the virus. The Pet Supermarket here has only small crix and the girl I talked to hadn't heard of the virus either. :? Maybe it's just overseas and in Canada so far???
 
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