Mmm. Protein, rapidly farmed, using little to no energy, and very little space footprint. Clearly worth investigating...
Insect proteins have not yet been able to overcome tremendous social resistance in the West, but not for lack of trying -- Whole Foods even gave some cricket-protein based products shelf space in 2013, but found little market and seems to have pulled them.
I heard good things (including about taste) about Fluker Farms, so tried a first order from there.
The more robust their diet, the healthier they'll be. They are hungry little dudes, and will eat each other if they feel overcrowded or hungry:
- Leafy greens
- Fruits/Veggies (apples, bananas, carrots, zucchs, ...)
Keep a wet sponge in their so that they can drink without drowning in a plate of water.
If your crickets are eating each other, make sure:
- they are getting enough PROTEIN
- they are getting enough SALT in their diet
- to rotate out to get different kinds of food
- ... and they're warm enough!
Protecting your Crickets
So, all was going well, until a dirty hoard of ants located my crickets and proceeded to devour them. Searching around, I do find other folks have had this problem. Their solutions seem half-baked (using double-sided tape to trap the ants, or even spraying bug spray on the OUTSIDE of the container...that we are using to farm bugs for our own consumption? no thanks).
I am considering creating a stand; its legs will sit inside a water "moat" to keep ants from being able to access the stand/cricket bins. Fortunately, these bins can be stacked vertically, so only one such stand should be needed for a small, 3-bin setup (adults, sub-adults, pinhead nursery). This is an active Experiment -- will update as I learn more.
The setup is pretty basic. I have a video here:
This guy has done a more detailed video, although there's no prog rock in it:
Hers is worth watching as well:
Points of Failure
- Adult crickets need to be at 80, sub-adults and pinheads around 86-88'F. This means we need a heat source, either a very warm ambient room or something like a reptile light.
- And power.
- Girl Meets Bug
- Intro to a cheap box farm
- WellnessMama on cricket flour
- See TED Talk on CRIK Nutrition's site
- Bag the crickets you're harvesting, and toss them in the freezer. After an hour, their metabolism shuts down, so you can "humanely"
- Drop them in boiling water for a few minutes
- Dry them for 15min
- Then do whatever:
- Dehydrate completely, particularly if you're en route to cricket flour,
- Roast on 400 for 10-15, crispy but still squishy in the middle
- Fry em up, great with many things