Are you checking on your crickets and picking out a few dead ones each time? Why Are My Crickets Dying?
What can you do to keep crickets alive longer? What should you do with dead crickets? Are they sick or is there a problem with the habitat you have created?
In this article, we’ll discover the most common reasons why crickets die and how you can keep them alive longer.
Why Are My Crickets Dying?
Crickets die with improper care due to an insufficient diet, dehydration, sickness, suffocation from poor ventilation, cool temperatures, unsanitary conditions and cannibalism.
Overall, there must be some changes made to your cricket habitat to keep them alive longer such as adding more varieties of foods, more space, better air circulation and decreasing the humidity levels with egg cartons sucking up excess moisture.
How Do You Keep Crickets From Dying?
The first thing we should note is that crickets grow quickly and don’t live very long. 2-3 months for a cricket in captivity is great, but you may end up with feeder crickets living much shorter lives.
If you want to actively extend their lives, take a closer look at the following factors:
Why Crickets Die
- Your local source for crickets is keeping them in deteriorating or dilapidated conditions.
- They arrive to your home already diseased or missing legs.
- Ventilation is poor.
- Humidity is too high.
- Temperature are too cool.
- Food amount is insufficient.
- There is overcrowding.
- Competition for food and space and causing crickets to cannibalize each other.
Unfortunately there are some uncontrallobale circumstances that you cannot change, but you can find a better source for your crickets and house them in a better circulated and more spacious environment.
Offer plenty of varied meals from proteins, grains with juicy fruits and vegetables to keep them full, hydrated and alive longer.
Are My Crickets Not Eating Enough?
Crickets can self-regulate their diet and prevent overeating. Some animals gorge themselves when there is plenty of food available.
Crickets will adjust and leave meals when they are satisfied. This is why we should give them more than enough food and let them sort it out. We should always remove leftovers that could cause fungus, rotting and the release of bacteria in their habitat.
Crickets may arrive with a poor diet of low-grade food like cheap mixed gels and pastes meant to satisfy their complete nutritional needs. You should fix that immediately by offering a full range of real food. Chicken scraps, fruits, veggies, grains and even dry pet food is great for crickets.
How Long Can Crickets Survive Without Water?
Crickets should not go a day without some hydration. They can get it from water or through juicy fruits and vegetables.
Adult crickets in the wild have been studied to make it up to 14 days without water, but they were able to pull moisture from the air and their surrounding environment.
Offer a plate of clean water once a day. The plate should be shallow to prevent drowning. You can soak a paper towel with water as well. They can absorb water through the wet towel.
Do Crickets Kill Each Other?
Yes. Crickets can kill or eat each other in desperate circumstances. They are also capable of eating their young. Separate molting juveniles and eggs from adult crickets to avoid this.
Create more space in your tank or container with levels and hiding places. Empty tubes of paper towels or toilet paper works well along with egg cartons.
These items can be placed in cricket habitats to give them a chance to separate themselves and not fight for space. Overcrowding can lead to crickets trying to survive by weeding out the weak, injured or young.
Are My Crickets Too Hot or Too Cold?
Crickets can handle warmer conditions up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to keep their habitat ventilated with some air circulation and temperature at a range between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
The thermometer reading of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit is fine, but anything lower than that can lead to death.
Higher temperatures without too much humidity will also be fine, but once the it becomes unbearable without airflow, crickets will die in large numbers.
Should I Get Adult Crickets Or Juveniles?
You should opt for younger crickets that are small to medium sized. They will undergo 8-10 molts in their first month. During this time they will shed their exoskeleton and continue growing.
You can offer the shedded skin to your reptile, amphibian or fish. The younger the crickets, the longer you can keep them around.
Keep in mind that in 8-10 weeks, your crickets will naturally die. Do not expect crickets to live much longer than 2-3 months.
What Do You Do With Dead Crickets?
If you have dead crickets in your tank, do not simply throw them out. They are great feeder insects for animals or insects.
Take the dead crickets to a nearby park and donate them to animals that reside there. Birds, reptiles, amphibians and other insects will devour them in no time.
A dead cricket is also a healthy snack for all kinds of worms and lizards. Do not let these crickets rot in the same container with your living crickets. They may spread disease and cause your healthy crickets to die quickly.
Why Do Crickets Die On Their Back?
It’s common to see dead crickets lying motionless on their back. This is a position of flexion. Their muscles tense up and they fall into this position naturally.
Some crickets have a nervous system malfunction and they lose coordination. They become unable to use their legs in a synchronized way and may fall over to their back.
The struggle will lead to a weakened state. Other crickets may notice this and kill or cannibalize this cricket.
Why Are My Crickets Turning Black?
Crickets are supposed to turn darker as they age. A freshly molted cricket will look white. In a few hours time the new exoskeleton will turn darker in color to a brownish or black hue.
An adult cricket could be entirely black, but sometimes a dark and frail cricket is suffocating or malnourished.
Increase ventilation and offer more varied foods to help encourage this cricket to liven up again. A lack of ventilation is the most common reason why crickets turn completely black before they die.
Do Crickets Get Sick?
Yes. Crickets can die from ammonia build-up in their enclosure. This is due to unclean spaces that are unsanitary. They lack enough ventilation and can build up with ammonia which will suffocate crickets.
Dead crickets also release ammonia which only makes matters worse. Remove dead crickets daily. This is normal. If you don’t remove them, more will die from the gas release and ammonia toxicity.
- Iridovirus can affect female crickets. Their bellies or abdomen can swell up and their eggs will also be infected.
- Cricket Paralysis Virus causes them to become unable to use their legs.
- Acheta Domesticus Densovirus is also a deadly infliction for crickets who feed of dead carcasses and feces.
- Entomopathogenic Fungal Infections are commonly caused by humidity levels higher than 75%.
This is why their enclosure must be ventilated, sanitized and dead crickets need to be removed.
Do Crickets Die From Humidity?
Yes. Enclosures that are too humid will kill crickets. It’s important to check humidity levels to keep them between 50-75%. Humidity can cause entomopathogenic fungal infections.
Did you know that placing egg cartons in their enclosure is not only good for adding space, levels and activity but they also serve to suck up excess moisture and reduce humidity? Make sure to include them in your cricket habitat.
dehumidifiers would be best, but you can opt for cheaper methods such as potato wedges in the corners to their tank. They are great at absorbing moisture and it’s find if your crickets eat them too.
Why Don’t I See All My Crickets?
Some of your crickets are escaping. Crickets are incredible climbers and may have found a way out of their enclosure.
Cover the opening of the container with something like a nylon stocking to prevent them from getting out. You may not think that your crickets are looking to get out when you are watching them, but they are more active at night.
Darkness is preferred and it’s when crickets look to venture out for the opportunity to mate. Smooth plastic or glass walls will make harder for crickets to escape their enclosure as well.
We hope this article has provided you with some insight to the many factors that can cause crickets to die easily.
They are not meant to live in their enclosure longer than a few weeks. We can extend their lives up to 2-3 months by decreasing moisture, adding more varieties of foods and giving them clean spaces that are spacious enough to roam around without overcrowding.
The cleaner and better ventilated the enclosure is, the less likely it is for your crickets to die from disease.
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