You might love crickets. You might hate them, but you just wanna know about them.
How to tell female and male crickets apart:
The easiest way to tell if a cricket is female is by observing an ovipositer. This is a swordlike tube up to three-quarters of an inch long that protrudes from the end of her abdomen, much like a stinger would. The tube is used exclusively for laying eggs deep in the soil. Both males and females have additional short prongs on each side of the abdomen.
2.Male crickets have shorter, sturdier wings with rough underside surfaces known as file. The top of the wing has a formation known as a scraper. To make his chirping song, the male rubs the scraper of one wing against the file on the underside of the other. The female hears with sound receptors situated on her front legs and responds if she likes the rhythm.
3. Male crickets chirp. Female crickets don’t chirp. Here is a link to a male cricket chirping.
That is a few ways to tell crickets apart, here is what they like to eat:
The only other thing that your crickets need are fresh water. Tap water is fine for your crickets. If you plan to breed your crickets make sure that you do not have any standing water in their cage. If you have standing water the baby crickets (called pinheads) will drown in it. A simple way to avoid this is to water your crickets with a small sponge (1” x 1”) in a small dish. The sponge should be damp but not dripping water. This will meet your cricket’s needs and protect the babies. If you live in a dry climate make sure to check their water daily as it may evaporate quickly. Also, make sure to change their water every 2-3 days or it may start to stink.
Crickets are very sensitive to insecticides. Almost every garage in America has at least 2-3 different ant, wasp, and tick insecticides. These products are designed to kill insects and they will kill your crickets if they are not handled properly. Crickets are so sensitive to them that they will die if they are exposed to the insecticide fumes. So, keep your insecticides very far away from your crickets.
Crickets as Pet Food
If you are raising crickets to feed to your pets (snakes, lizards, etc.) then you will need to keep one dietary need in mind. Most reptiles require a high protein diet. In order to meet your reptile’s needs you will need to increase your cricket’s protein intake. This is called “gut loading.” When you gut load crickets you increase the amount of protein that you feed them. But, you need to plan the timing of the gut load to maximize the cricket’s protein content. You can do this by feeding your crickets extra protein 2-3 days before you plan to feed them to your pets. This may be accomplished by adding extra cat food, chicken, beef or commercial cricket food to their meals.
Crickets eat a lot of the same foods that humans eat. Feed them a balanced diet of raw vegetables, fruits and meats (protein) to keep them healthy. This may come from table scraps or cricket food. Also, they require clean water and a clean cage. If you sever their food and water in small dishes it is easy to change and clean-up. These simple steps will keep their cage from smelling and your crickets happy.
Crickets are very sensitive to insecticides. If you have insecticides in your house they must be kept away from your crickets. Crickets are so sensitive to insecticides that they may be killed by the insecticide fumes.
If you are going to use your crickets to feed to your pets you will need to add extra meat (protein) to their diet 2-3 days before the pet feeding. This is known as gut loading and it will increase protein content in your crickets.
Here is a diagram of the cricket.