What Do Crickets Eat



Answering the Question, “What do Crickets Eat?”

            Kids are like sponges; absorbing information they glean by asking seemingly endless questions such as “what do crickets eat?”  Their fascination with the insect world entices them to know infinite details, and parents are not always equipped with the answers.

            Crickets in particular seem to hold a great attraction for children.  Maybe it is their excellent jumping ability, the chirping noise they make, or maybe it is their shape; whatever the reason, kids seem to be captivated by them.  And, in some countries, adults are as well; many people even enjoy having crickets as pets!  Whether it is to know what to feed the pet cricket or just to satisfy a child’s curiosity, it is helpful to know what crickets eat.  Unless the parent is an entomologist, they likely don’t know much more than the child does about the insect, and so are unable to answer the many questions kids ask.

            In the wild, crickets have a lifespan of about 8 to 10 weeks.  During this time, they forage for food as they mature into adulthood.  They are considered to be omnivores, or insects that eat both plant life and meat.  In plain words, the answer to the question “what do crickets eat?” would be, just about anything for many types of crickets.

            There are over 900 species of crickets in the world; most of which enjoy a widely varied diet.  A few types, however, do limit their dining to specific foods.  For example, snowy tree crickets have a diet that adheres pretty much to fruits such as cherries or berries and live almost exclusively upon the plants which produce them.  Northern mole crickets, on the other hand, live primarily underground; therefore, their main diet consists of tree roots and corms.

            The type of cricket that most home owners are familiar with is the house cricket.  This variety is an example of the “see food” diet; they see it, they will eat it.  Not only restricted to plant life and organic materials, house crickets will eat clothing, upholstery, leather, paper products and any people food they can find in the home.  If a cricket is unable to locate any food, they will begin to feed upon each other.  Another target for the cricket diet is dead insects.  It is by reason of this varied diet that home owners must locate and eliminate any crickets that find their way into a home, as well as get rid of any cricket carcasses.

            Anyone keeping insect pets will wonder what do crickets eat that can be easily obtained.  Also, anyone who keeps a pet that feeds upon crickets knows that it is easier to breed and keep the insects on hand for a continuous food supply.  For these, feeding the crickets is a bit different.  Their nutritional needs will be the same, with high protein content necessary to keep the crickets from eating one another as much as possible.  A commercial cricket feed can be purchased, but may not be readily available at pet stores.  A homemade feed can be made using cat food, dry milk, calcium and alfalfa pellets.  Scraps from the kitchen of vegetables and an adequate water supply can top off the menu.

            Crickets eat their preferred foods using palps, which are appendages near the mouth.  These palps can be thought of as tiny hands next to the mouth that propel the food into the mouth of the cricket.  When the food is inserted into the mouth, the cricket proceeds to chew the food and swallow it.

            What do crickets eat?  Depending on the reason for the question, the answer can vary from specific foods to anything under the sun.