Crickets make a good food for many reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and other pets. Here is how to raise crickets as feeder insects for your pets, without taking up too much space:
2 plastic bins with opaque, flexible plastic lids for use as the main culture containers. I use bins like these:
2 smaller bins with lids for use as nursery containers I use these:
2 very small plastic containers with lids for use as egglaying sites.
1 or more fiber bricks, vermiculite, or similar egglaying medium
A utility knife
A roll of aluminum screening (not fiberglass, the crickets chew through it)
(Optional, but recommended for stability) 1/4 inch hardware mesh
Nashua tape or similar aluminum foil tape
a hot glue gun and glue sticks
Several Egg flats or paper towel rolls
Shallow food and water dishes (I use the lids from food containers such as peanut butter lids)
Food: you can purchase commercial roach/cricket chow, or chick crumble, as well as fruits and vegetables
(Optional) Soil moist or other polyacrylamide crystals
at least 50 crickets
Using a utility knife, cut a ventilation hole in the lid of one of the large containers. It should be approximately 30-50% the size of the lid:
Using hot glue and/or aluminum tape, cover the hole with the optional hardware mesh, and then the aluminum screen.
Cut holes in the lid of the nursery container and the egglaying container. Use hot glue to cover the holes with aluminum screen. For these smaller containers, the hardware cloth is not needed.
Add the egg cartons/flats/cardboard tubes on the warm side of the bin.
Put smaller pieces of egg carton and/or cardboard tubes in the nursery container.
Fill the egglaying containers with moist coco fiber or vermiculite. Put the screened lid on the one that will go onto the main cricket bin. The screen allows the crickets to lay their eggs, but prevents them from digging them up and eating them.
Fill the food and water dishes.
Place your heat source. If the room where you keep your crickets never goes below 70 F, you may get good results with a heat mat under the cricket bin, especially if you keep a sheet of polystyrene under the bin to direct the heat back up towards the bin. A thermostat, with the probe taped to the mat just under the bin, will make it easier to keep the bin from getting too hot.
In a cooler room, you may need an infrared heat lamp or a ceramic heat emitter. I keep my bin in wire shelves, and suspend the heat lamp or emitter from above. Take all necessary precautions against fire.
Use a temperature gun or thermometer to confirm that the warm side of the bin is between 78 and 85 F for best results.
Feed and hydrate the crickets daily. Water crystals can get fouled quite quickly, so replace them often. The egglaying medium should always be slightly moist, so add a little water as needed. Every week, clean out the bin. Dump out the cricket waste and dead crickets. Replace the eggcrate and cardboard tubes if they are excessively soiled. Put the crickets in the freshly prepared second bin. Remove the old cricket egglaying container from the nursery and put the egg-laden one into the newly prepared nursery . Dispose of the old egglaying medium, fill the container with fresh, moist medium, cover it with the screen lids, and put in in with the adult crickets to collect more eggs. If there are pinhead crickets in the nursery, transfer them to the clean nursery. If the crickets in the nursery are larger than pinhead, put them in with the adults.
You now have a cricket culture that will produce hundreds and hundreds of crickets every month if properly maintained. This method of cricket culture is fairly easy, saves space, and is much less smelly than many other methods.