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Housing

The tank

  • Crickets need a glass tank 60 centimetres × 30 centimetres × 30 centimetres high with a wooden-framed lid, 80 percent of which is covered with plastic or steel insect mesh or shade cloth for ventilation.
  • On the base, provide friable soil 50–60 millimetres deep, mounded to assist drainage and with leaf litter on top. This can be set up in seed trays on pieces of paving stone or bricks to provide better drainage. Ensure that the trays fit hard against the walls of the tank so that the crickets don't get underneath.
  • Provide a few rocks so that the crickets can climb off the soil and some places for them to hide. Pieces of bark in layers make ideal hiding places. These should be about 20 centimetres × 15 centimetres.

Environment

  • Field crickets need a warm environment. They can be kept at 20–30°C with an average temperature of 26°C. You can achieve this easily in the summer, but you will need artificial heat if the insects are to be kept during the winter. Position a 60- to 100-watt light bulb above the cage to provide the desired temperature. Test the position of the bulb before introducing it to the insects.
  • Crickets need a humidity level of 40 to 60 percent. You can maintain this by misting the enclosure once a day in warm dry weather and once every four days in cool damp weather.
  • More frequent misting is likely to be needed if artificial heat is used, but take care to ensure that the humidity level does not rise above 60 percent.
  • Ventilation is very important. The cage should be in a well-ventilated part of the classroom, preferably away from the windows because the sun can raise the temperature to intolerable levels.

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