Do crickets lay eggs?
Picture 1. Cricket.
Breeding conditions for crickets
Crickets, like other Orthopterans, are insects with incomplete transformation. A larva (nymph) emerges from the egg, similar to an adult insect (imago) and leading a lifestyle similar to it. After several molts, accompanied by the growth of the body, the gradual development of wing buds, gonads and sensory organs (an increase in the number of facets in the eyes, antennae segments, sensilla in various parts of the body), the larva turns into an adult insect.
Sexual maturity of adults occurs several days after the final molt. Most crickets have the ability to sing. Only males make sounds. The beginning of singing (stridulation) indicates the readiness of the male for mating. Many crickets (for example, G. bimaculatus, A. domesticus, G. assimilis) emit three types of signals: calling (to attract females), precopulation (when courting a female in close proximity to her) and aggression when a stranger male appears near the mink or a couple preparing for copulation. The rhythmic pattern of calling and precopulation signals is species-specific. The female can mate several times and, after filling the spermatheca, begins to lay eggs.
According to Knyazev (1985), oviposition in G. bimaculatus lasts for a month, however, the maximum number of eggs is laid during the first 2 weeks. The female lays eggs one at a time or in groups of 2-4 in moist soil. Embryonic development lasts an average of 17 days (at + 26 ° C). After that, a prelarva emerges from the egg, which, having climbed to the surface of the soil, immediately molts onto the 1st instar larva. Hatching of prelarvae in G. bimaculatus occurs within 9 days, and 75% of the eggs laid at the beginning of the reproductive period develop longer than the eggs laid in its middle and end, thus synchronization of the end of embryogenesis is observed. At the same time, 25% of eggs laid by old females matured much longer: from 13 to 22 days, which led to the opposite phenomenon - desynchronization of embryonic development.
The development rate and survival rate of eggs and larvae depend on several factors:
- temperatures: at high temperatures, development accelerates, but a fairly large percentage of eggs die;
- density of larvae in the occupied volume: at low densities the duration of the 2nd-4th instars increases, at high densities the duration of the 1st and 6th instars increases. The survival rate in large groups is lower than in small ones, which is associated with more frequent damage to the larvae during molting at a high density of individuals;
- the size of the larvae: the survival of large nymphs of the 1st-3rd instars is 79%, of small ones - 21%.
Picture 2. Cricket eggs look like.
Female crickets lay 200 to 500 eggs, and only do so when the substrate is moist. For laying eggs, a container with moistened loose soil is placed in a cage with crickets, closed on top with a wire mesh with a cell width of at least 2 mm. The grid prevents the crickets from digging up the substrate and eating the eggs. When trying to lay eggs in a substrate that is too dense or dry, females often deform the ovipositor, which leads to a loss of fertility.
Eggs develop for about 10 days at a temperature of 25 ° C, so the tanks are usually replaced every five to ten days to obtain a continuous release of juveniles. After the fry emerge, caring for it is not difficult. It is necessary to constantly have a sufficiently soft protein feed (preferably in a separate feeder with low sides) and a source of moisture (a wick drinker is optimal). Depending on the temperature, the development cycle of crickets takes from 40-45 to 60 or more days.
Сricket laying eggs
Picture 3. Cricket laying eggs.
Females will lay their eggs in moist soil. Little crickets will appear from time to time. Parents do not suffer from childishness and may well eat a child caught in the jaw. But all the same, in the insectarium you will always have a certain amount of crickets who will live to maturity.
If you want to get more crickets, then the method of keeping and breeding should be changed. To do this, you need large glass aquariums or plastic containers with a tight lid. You can also use boxes made of multi-layer waterproof plywood. Their capacity can be from 30 to 200 liters. A prerequisite is the presence of a large number of ventilation holes in the side walls and lids, tightened with a fine metal mesh with a mesh of 0.5-1 mm (crickets gnaw through the nylon sieve).
How long does it take for cricket eggs to hatch?
In order to achieve reproduction, you need to put in a container a shallow plastic container without a lid, filled with a moist substrate (preferably coconut). After a short period of time, females will begin to pierce the substrate with their ovipositor and lay eggs. Usually leave the container with the substrate for 2-3 days, making sure that the substrate does not dry out. After three days, taking out the container, you will see white oblong eggs near the walls at a shallow depth.
Then you can pour the substrate with eggs into a more spacious container, close it with a lid with very small diameter holes (or frequent gauze) and keep at a temperature of 28-300C, and a humidity of at least 70% (so that the substrate is moist). For this option, a fluorescent lamp is required, the container is placed on top of the fluorescent lamp housing. Another way is the battery.
Crickets will hatch at normal room temperature, but this will take a long time. At high temperatures, incubation lasts 1-2 weeks, at room temperature - about a month.
After hatching, newborn crickets are left in the same container, torn crumpled paper is placed there, egg cardboard (preferably from under quail eggs) and food can be placed.
Sweet corn sticks and lettuce work very well for young crickets. It is better to put the food on a piece of plastic, because when it comes into contact with a wet substrate, it gets wet, quickly deteriorates and the resulting mold spreads to the substrate. Temperature and humidity do not change.
After 2-3 weeks, the crickets molt several times and grow noticeably. When the size of the crickets reaches 4-5mm, they are transplanted into an insectory with adults, although if it is possible to keep the young in a separate aquarium, this is very good.
Сamel cricket eggs
Picture 4. Camel cricket eggs look like.
The newborn nymph is white, but after a while it darkens. The color is yellow-gray with specks. The body length of a cricket is about 2 cm. Cave crickets have long legs and very long antennae, reaching a length of 12 cm! The female has no wings; the male has a shortened front pair of wings.
These crickets are incapable of chirping. When communicating, they flap their wings, making low-frequency sounds. Each male has his own territory, which he guards from the invasion of other males. So when several males are kept together in a small area, fights can arise. During the mating dance, cave crickets flap their wings over their heads several times. They are able to jump well and far, so you need to be careful with them.
The female in the latter stages of development can be distinguished by the presence of an ovipositor. With the help of the ovipositor, the female lays eggs in a moist substrate to a depth of 3–4 cm or under pieces of bark. In total, the female lays several hundred eggs. Egg length 2.5–3 mm. Eggs are best left in the same terrarium where they were laid. Nymphs hatch after about a month. The development of the nymph lasts 6-9 months. Imagoes live for about 4, sometimes up to 7 months.
House cricket eggs
Picture 5. House Cricket eggs look like.
Lays 50-150 eggs per season. But if the conditions are favorable, the air temperature is about 30C, then the female lays up to 700 eggs. The eggs are white, similar in shape to a banana. Indoor crickets can lay eggs one at a time or in heaps in different crevices.