Insect Care

Live Crickets (Gryllus assimilis)
Live Crickets are a fantastic live food for many types of pets, and are probably the best all-around fish bait in the world. Reptiles, amphibians and birds all fare much better when live foods are included in their diets. Live crickets provide much-needed proteins, vitamins and minerals, and enable insect eating pets to satisfy their natural predatory instincts. Ghann's offers live crickets in many different sizes and quantity configurations (see our Live Crickets page for all the options).

As of early 2012, the species of live crickets that we produce is will be the virus resistant Gryllus assimilis.  For 60 years we produced Acheta domesticus, but in late 2009 a species-specific cricket virus began to sweep its way across North America, decimatimg Acheta colonies of growers throughout the USA and Canada.  The Acheta's susceptibility to this deadly virus prompted us to transition over to the virus resistant Gryllus assimilis, and cease production of Acheta domesticus. The Acheta served our industry well for over nearly 3/4 of a century, but due to the its susceptibility to the virus we feel the future belongs to other species.

Our proprietary production processes insure that our crickets are clean, healthy, and free of any of the "pest bugs" (roaches, beetles, worms, spiders, etc that many other live cricket producers are plagued with) which might infect your precious pets. This is also one of the reasons many customers report that the mortality rate experienced with Ghann's crickets is so much less than with live crickets produced by other growers.
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Keeping and Caring for Crickets
Live Crickets are hearty insects and do not really require any special handling, just remember that they are live creatures and need normal, common sense care. Maintain moderate temperatures (for adult crickets 70 to 85 degrees is best, for ½ inch and smaller sizes 80 to 90 degrees).  Transfer live crickets from their shipping box to a larger holding box as soon as possible after arrival. Stand the packing materials from the shipping carton inside the holding box to provide crawling space.

Things to AVOID:

  • Poisonous fumes (car exhaust, etc)
  • Insecticides
  • Ants (they'll eat the crickets!)
  • Prolonged direct sunlight
  • Cold temperatures (below 50 F can harm them - especially smaller crickets)

Your cricket holding box should be kept clean and dry - NO SUBSTRATE!  (It only provides a place for moisture to collect & contributes to odor).  With Ghann's crickets, mortality rate should be minimal.  There should never be more than a few dead crickets each day, but you are likely to see numerous "sheds" (dead skin that crickets shed as they grow - this happens 7 times throughout their life cycle).  At least twice a week, gently scrape up and remove any dead crickets and debris with a putty knife or other straight-edged object (a small piece of cardboard, or even a business card will work).  Your box does not have to be empty to do this - just be gentle and the crickets will run out of your way.

It is essential that live crickets have easy access to fresh feed and water!  To insure maximum survival rate (and proper nutrition for your pet), we strongly recommend you feed your live crickets a high-quality grain diet containing the proper amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.  We proudly offer our own proprietary formula for sale in small quantities in our Insect Foods and Diet Supplements section".  It also helps to supplement their grain diet occasionally with some fruit or vegetable - a quartered orange, apple or potato works good.  Fresh water should be provided with a watering kit (see our Insect Supplies & Accessories section) or our Ghann's Critterade watering gel (see Insect Foods and Diet Supplements).  If a watering kit is used, the foam donut should be washed with soap & water & rinsed well before initial use, and the water should be changed and the kit cleaned at least twice a week.
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Keeping and Caring for Mealworms
Live mealworms should be stored in a refrigerator at 45 - 50 degrees F.  Bulk live mealworms should be stored in a plastic tray (such as a cat's litter box) containing 1" to 2" of bedding material (bedding available on our Worms page), cupped live mealworms may be stored in the cups.  Twice a week, take the mealworms out of refrigerator, let them warm up to room temperature and place several thumb sized pieces of raw fruit or veggie (carrot, apple, potato, celery, etc) or Ghann's Critterade in tray or cups.  Mealworms will become livelier and begin to eat as they warm up.  After allowing mealworms to feed for 2 or 3 hours, remove food and return mealworms to refrigerator.  When bedding appears sandy and fine, add some fresh bedding.  When cared for properly Ghann's mealworms will last for many weeks!

NOTE: If mealworms are not kept refrigerated, eventually they will pupate & turn into small beetles.
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Keeping and Caring for Superworms
Bulk live superworms should be stored in a plastic tray (such as a cat’s litter box) containing 1" to 2"
of bedding material (bedding available on our Worms page). Cupped live superworms may be stored in the cups. Store superworms at room temperature - DO NOT REFRIGERATE LIVE SUPERWORMS - IT WILL KILL THEM!  Several times a week, provide worms with thumb sized pieces of fruit or veggie (carrot, apple, potato, celery, etc), or Ghann's Critterade or Cricket Yummies (both available on our Insect Foods and Diet Supplements page).  When bedding appears sandy and fine, add fresh bedding material.  Superworms can withstand heat up into the low 90's, and will not pupate or change to beetles. When cared for properly Ghann’s superworms will last for many weeks!
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Keeping and Caring for Phoenix Worms
Phoenix Worms are reared on a special grain based diet that ensures a naturally high calcium content and are packaged for convenience and long shelf life. Simply keep sealed in the original container at room temperature and they will stay vigorous for weeks. Add up to 10 drops of water to the non-food packing media if the Phoenix Worms become dehydrated. No feeding is necessary and will only foul the media. Refrigeration is not recommended because of the long recovery time to be mobile and attractive to your herps. Also, rapid chilling may cause some mortality. Phoenix Worms love the higher temperatures where herps thrive, but best shelf life is at 50 – 60 degrees.
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Nutritional Analysis of Feeder Insects
  Crickets: Gryllus Crickets: Acheta Mealworms Superworms Phoenix Worms

Protein %

20.05

17.53

19.7

22.28

17.3

Moisture %

68.76

76.31

66.07

59.67

N/A*

Fat %

5.64

4.79

9.79

17.1

9.4

Fiber %

3.75

1.4

2.6

2.1

N/A*

Ash %

1.87

1.28

1.55

1.15

N/A*

Vitamin D3 (IU/100g)

N/A*

318

276

171

N/A*

Calcium ppm

N/A*

345

133

124

8155

Phosphorous ppm

N/A*

4328

3345

2320

5355

Cal/Phos Ratio

0.25

0.08

0.04

0.05

1.52

* Information not available.

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