Crickets eat food that is very similar to a human’s diet. They are omnivores that may eat fruits, vegetables and meats. In nature they eat what they can find such as rotting leaves, rotting fruit, vegetables and insects. They are scavengers that eat what they can find in our homes, garages and in our yards. Also, crickets eat protein to stay healthy. The only other thing that crickets require in their diet is fresh water.
Here are some examples of foods that a cricket will eat:
Carrots: Save the carrot peel and tops for your crickets and they will love them. Also, if you have any cooked carrots they will devour them. They are high in beta carotene and water.
Lettuce: When you are eating in a restaurant and your kids do not finish their salad, save the left-overs for your crickets. It is high in Vitamin A, K and Potassium.
Cabbage: Save the outer leaves that you normally throw away for your crickets. It is high in Vitamin K and C.
Potatoes: When you make baked potatoes, save the spots that you trim off for your crickets. Potatoes are high in starch.
Here are some examples of raw fruits that crickets eat.
Apple: When you core an apple save the core and feed it to your crickets. Apples are high in fiber.
Banana: If you have a Banana that is quickly turning black (don’t we all have a few?) peel it and feed a small piece (about ¼ inch thick) to your crickets. Take the rest of the banana and put it in a plastic sandwich bag. Freeze the banana and cutoff ¼ inch thick pieces to feed your cricket. Bananas are high in Potassium.
Orange: When you cannot finish that last orange slice, save it for your cricket. They are high in vitamin C.
Protein is essential for your cricket. In fact, if you do not feed your cricket adequate amounts they will eat other crickets to fulfill their dietary needs. If they do not have other crickets to eat they will die. You can provide them with protein from meat scraps, commercial cat food or cricket food. Here are some examples of high protein foods for your crickets:
Chicken: Your crickets will eat chicken scraps from the drumsticks or breasts. Chicken is low in fat and very affordable.
Beef Roast or Lean Hamburger: Next time that you eat at a restaurant and you cannot finish your hamburger or roast scraps, bring them home to your crickets. It will balance their diet and it is high in Iron.
Commercial Cat Food: If you have a cat, grab 2-3 pieces of cat food and break them into a fine powder. I put the pieces into a small freezer bag and gently break them into pieces with a small hammer. The cat food needs to be ground into a powder because it may be too brittle for your cricket to eat. Cat food is better than dog for crickets because it is higher in protein. Our cricket devoured the Science Diet cat food.
Commercial Cricket Food: If you do not like to keep table scraps or grind cat food then you still have another food option. You can purchase specially formulated cricket food. Here is a well rated product: cricket food. This food will meet all of your cricket’s dietary needs. If you don’t have any food leftovers then this is your best option to keep your cricket healthy.
If your crickets does not get enough protein they will not have a balance diet. Also, if you have multiple crickets they will eat each other to fulfill their dietary needs.
Make sure to feed your crickets in a small dish such as a jar (salsa jars lids work really well) or a yogurt container lid. This will keep their food in one place in their cage. Also, when the foods starts to smell (rot) and it will start to smell after several days (trust me!), you can easily remove it from the cage and discard it. If you do not remove it your crickets may get sick.
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.