Commercial cricket farming is an unusually enterprise with huge remunerations. It is practiced small or large scale depending on the business template. A farmer needs small space, supply of starter stock, feed and basic equipment.
Automated Cricket Farm
Did you know that there are already automated cricket farms? This is because insects are known as an important source of protein. Making crickets a mainstream source is the next big step.
A notable startup company “Aspire” has a 25,000 square foot facility established in 2013. They automate the process of breeding crickets for food. Their goal is to fill supply of protein and reduced dependence on beef or fish products. Aspire uses robot technology to feed millions of cricket 24 hours a day.
In modern cuisine bug products are fast gaining acceptance. Such products are found in grocery stores, malls, supermarkets, fast food outlets and restaurants. Common cricket based products are cricket chips, cricket flour, cricket snacks. We have cricket protein powder and the protein food is used as an ingredient in animal feed.
Common cricket based products
- cricket chips
- cricket flour
- cricket snacks
- cricket protein powder
- other protein food
- ingredient in animal feed
Why start a cricket farm
Insect farming offers the entrepreneur a good source of income. The industry is relatively new with very few investors. Other reasons are fast growth (2 months), low feed requirement and small space. A cricket farmer can easily farm millions of insect in a relatively small space. The only downside is the high labor costs and high cost of production. It takes 10,000 crickets to produce 2 pounds of cricket protein powder which costs $22.
Advantages of Cricket Farming
- good source of income
- relatively new industry
- very few investors
- fast growth
- low feed requirement
- small space
- grow millions of insect in small space
Disadvantage of cricket farming
There are some disadvantages associated to this type of farming. Farming them in residential housing is not encouraged because of the noise they make. To achieve this the housing should be sound proof and well ventilated.
They attract different types of predators and require secured pen. Other disadvantages are huge labor costs, cricket odors and hygiene maintenance in pen.
- high labor costs
- high cost of production
- cant farm in residential areas
- high noise output
- cricket odors
- high hygiene maintenance in pen
Commercial cricket farming
Commercial cricket farming is an unusual business with good business potential. Startup depends on the size or scope of the business. Highly lucrative it requires moderate space, low amount of feed.
Types of crickets
There are different over 2,400 species of crickets in the world. They have six legs has an exoskeleton and come in different sizes and color. Color differentiations include black, brown and green.
They are classified in kingdom-animalia, phylum-arthropoda, class-insecta, order-orthoptera, sub-order-ensifera, family-gryllidae, sub-family grylloidea. To sucessfuly farm the insects choose species with large size common to your geographical location.
List of some crickets
Obviously we can’t list all 2,400 species however we will focus on the popular ones. Different types of crickets are house cricket, Gryllus assimilis, Anaxipha, Xenogryllus marmorastus. Others are Hapithus agitator, Parkton prawn (king cricket), house cricket, Mormon cricket, Australia field cricket.
- Gryllus assimilis
- Xenogryllus marmorastus
- Hapithus agitator
- Parkton prawn (king cricket)
- House cricket
- Mormon cricket
- Australia field cricket
Sourcing crickets and housing material
Source edible crickets from your local pet store or purchase online. If you are lucky to have cricket farmers in your locality buy from them. The type of materials you need depends on the housing.
Setup materials include plastic containers, barrels or drums. Others are water dispensers, plastic sourcing pans, jars. More are quilt batting, 20 gallon plastic totes (1000 insects), jar lids and aluminum mosquito screening. Sponges, misting bottle, empty egg cartons, bag potting soil, metal window screen.
- Different size plastic containers
- barrels or drums
- water dispensers
- plastic sourcing pans
- quilt batting
- 20 gallon plastic totes (1000 insects)
- jar lids
- aluminum mosquito screening
- misting bottle
- empty egg cartons
- bag potting soil
- metal window screen
Housing specifications are warm moist environment, temperatures 60 – 90 degrees Fahrenheit, high humidity. Make sure the location is away from direct sunlight. Setup by cuting 6 inch diameter holes in lids of each tote then glue metal screen in place. Then create a sanitary substrate at bottom of tote apply 2 inch vermiculate.
Next step is to place plastic container at end of large tote with fresh potting soil. Prevent the insect from eating the eggs cover soil with window screen. This allows them lay the eggs directly into soil but prevents feeding on eggs.
Maintain humidity place saturated sponge in plastic containers on same side of tank. Then add another plastic container with food and include several cardboard egg cartons to create additional habitat.
You can place them on the bottom or stack them loosely on each other for more habitation. Finally apply heat by suspending a heat lamp above each lids hole for temperature control.
Eggs and young
Signs of crickets mating are chirping sounds and when you see two glued together. Females lay fertilized tiny rice sized eggs in potted soil within 10 days.
Once eggs are established move the container to a second tote and apply same conditions of ventilation and humidity for the nymphs. Week old nymphs will all appear and start the growing process.
It takes 2 months for young crickets to attain full adulthood. Harvesting is done by placing them in plastic bag in freezer and remove when frozen.
Although there are commercially available cricket food they affect the quality of the meat. Alternately feed them food waste, fruits, vegetable like cabbage, lettuce, greens. Try nuts and grains and add a little water to sponge container each day. Make sure the food waste is removed every day to avoid contamination of the housing.
- commercially available cricket food
- food waste
Eat them at home or sell to local supermarkets or grocery stores. Another viable market are animal feed producers. Insects are perfect for catfish farmers, specialized cuisine and snack.