Ricks Livefood - Crickets, Locusts, Roaches

LIvefood Care PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 22 January 2010 12:05

Livefood Care

Note: Livefood is transported in tubs or sacks which are not suitable for long term livefood housing. See Housing guidelines below.

A new section to provide information on the correct care of your livefood. The information details my methods of care, there are many varied views on livefood care and gutloading so please be open minded, I have described what works well for me and am not stating that my  methodology is the only way. I hope you find the information helpful. If you wish for further livefood care information please email me and if I can help I will, please be patient in waiting for a reply I will answer as soon as I can.  Rick

All items described in the following sections can be purchased direct if required, just email  contact-us. for competitive prices, for example;  wheat bran, egg carton flats, Lees Cricket Keepers, Exo Terra Faunariums, Heat Mats, Mat Thermostats, various bug gels, gut loading formulas / dusting powders such as Nutrabol, Calypso Calcium powder etc.


Our reptiles deserve high quality foods, therefore how we care for our livefood and how we gutload is of great importance. If we do not care correctly for our livefood we end up feeding rubbish to our reptiles!

Food for thought!  Did you know that if locusts and crickets are  kept at to low a temperature then the food that they eat does not digest properly within their systems!  Therefore they do not receive or ingest correct nourishment and the undigested food just rots in their stomachs! All of Ricks Livefoods are freshly packed to order, not left unfed in tubs or bags on a shelf  waiting to be packed up and sent out.

Cold Weather Care- During the colder months when your livefood arrives it may well be lethargic and appear lifeless, don't panic!   Crickets and Locusts can withstand very low temperatures for a considerable period of time, they are very robust. Upon arrival place your livefood in a warm room or a warm place, preferably approximately 80F- 85F. Within a couple of hours you will find that your livefood has fully revived. It is inadvisable to place the livefood directly onto a heat source upon arrival, allow them to warm up gradually rather than forcing this.

Crickets / Locusts

Housing- Any plastic tank will do, but it must have a well ventilated lid, Exo Terra Faunariums are ideal, Lees Cricket Keepers are also good.  The larger the housing the better for the livefood.

Place egg carton in the tank vertically for the crix / locusts to hide / live on, feed
on either wheat or oat bran as a staple diet. Feed fresh washed greens / fruit every
day,  not to much just enough to be eaten in one day, this helps them molt (shed)  and
ingest moisture. Romaine Lettuce,  green leafy cabbages, winter / spring greens, apples, are all good food items. Do not allow their tank to get damp, remove any leftover greens / fruit at the end of the day otherwise you will end up with a damp and mouldy environment for your livefood ,this in turn will create problems and encourage harmful bacteria and mould. After a while you will soon gauge how much wet food to feed daily without any waste. Do not overcrowd your livefood in it's tank, crickets especially hate to be overcrowded and you may well suffer losses if overcrowded.

Temperature- Crickets approximately 80-85F, locusts 90-105F.  Very important- keep crickets / locusts at correct temperature else they will not digest
their food correctly. Either invest in a small heat mat place under tank
to cover one third of base and use mat thermostat and set temperature to 85f crickets, 90-105f locusts.
Or find a warm place for them to live.

Gut loading- Three approaches to livefood gutloading; via food intake, via supplement powders, or a combination of food intake and supplementation. I prefer the third method. I feed my livefood on high quality food items and ensure a variety is given, experiment see what your livefood will eat. I also supplement using various dusting powders, specific to the reptiles needs, using  a separate calcium only powder (used more often than vitamins / minerals hence why I use a separate powder) in combination with specific vitamin / mineral powders.   The supplementation regime varies depending upon; age, if gravid, if recovering form an illness and so forth. There are many articles to be found on the Internet relating to individual reptile needs, to much information to fit on this website.

Mealworms regular and mini

Mealworms should be kept cold, they will last much longer like this. If kept  warm they will begin to morph and pupate. Lots of people keep them in their fridge!  Ensure they are kept dry as moisture will kill them. They can be fed on bran. Warm them up before feeding them to your herps this will make them more lively and palatable.  You can feed your mealworms on either wheat or oat bran and add dusting powders to the bran for gutloading purposes as per your reptiles requirements.

Super Morio Worms

Keep these at room temperature in an open top container, they will live for ages and will not morph if kept together. Feed them on bran and vegetable scraps, or even pinkies if you want to protein load them! Try a variety of foods they enjoy a wide and varied diet. They can nip, so some people pinch their heads off before feeding them to their herps.

Fruit Beetle Grubs

Keep these in damp peat at room temperature and feed them on fruit. They will eventually form a round cocoon made of earth. Emerging as sun beetles a couple of weeks later. The grubs can nip, some people pinch off their heads before feeding them to their herps. These are a large lovely fat juicy grub!


Keep these at average room temperatures but not to hot or they will begin to pupate. If any waxworms start to darken / turn black remove them from the rest of the waxworms or they will spoil the others. To gutload make up a sticky mixture of honey and cereal and add any dusting powders as per your reptiles requirements.

Fruit Flies

Best kept at approximately 75-78f, the tubs supplied will mainly contain  fruit flies at the larval stage, if kept at the correct temperature they will hatch out within a few days and you will have a large amount of flies to feed off. If the fly tubs get to hot they will  produce excess moisture which will kill of the larvae!

Tropical Springtails Culture (Collembola)

Can be kept in the tubs they arrive in, keep soil lightly damp. Temperature at approx: 80f. You can transfer them to their permanent living quarters 24 hours after arrival thus allowing them time to settle after being transported.

A nutritious food smaller than fruit flies suitable for; small herps, young amphibians including Dart Frogs, fish and small insects such as newly hatched Mantis. Note; the springtails will float on water so also an ideal food for small water living creatures! Can be used as a beneficial harmless custodian for damp or wet environments such as millipede tanks, dart frog tanks, mantis houses etc. The springtails help keep mould at bay as they will eat it, in turn this helps prevent the outbreak of soil mites and will help in keeping the substrate clean. Springtails can be kept in with incubating eggs, such as lizard eggs, insects eggs etc. They will not harm the eggs in any way but will help prevent any mould by eating it and keeping the incubation medium clean.

Roach Care

I use a large plastic crate, such as the ones that you can buy from Homebase stores.  I do not use a lid for  Dubia, but a well ventilated lid is required for Turkistans and Lobster roaches as is a smear of Vaseline around the top inner crate  sides to prevent Lobsters and Turks climbing out. Turks can not climb smooth surfaces.

Alternatively you could use a plastic tank with a snap on lid such as the exo terra plastic faunariums.


The roaches are  kept at a  temperature of 75-80f. I place my crates on top of a heat mat, no mat stat required. Alternatively you could place them in a warm room or in the airing cupboard!


Egg cartoon flats are placed in the crate as the roaches like to hide underneath these, I do not use any form of substrate as this makes cleaning them out easier.


I clean mine out monthly and any left over food daily. Do not allow food to go mouldy or moist food to be mixed with dry food.


Mine are fed: fresh washed greens such as romaine lettuce, fresh fruit, slices of apple and orange, white grapes cut in half and wheat bran. They enjoy all of these and as the colony grows you will need to feed them daily.


A very light fine spray of water over the egg cartoons can be given daily, I use a plant sprayer. DO NOT OVERDO THIS!


The adult female will give birth to approx 30 - 40 live young each (Turks lay egg cases) month. Nymphs take 3-6 months to reach maturity dependant upon species. They can all be housed together.  The time they take to establish will depend upon the initial size of the colony that you have.


Roaches are Ideal for the majority of reptiles: high protein, higher than crickets!, soft bodied, low chitin content so can be fed off oversize, ideal for awkward feeders, do not smell, Livebearers and prolific and will not bite your herp! Easy to care for and culture.

  • Dubias Can not climb (Lobsters can)
  • Do not fly
  • Adults grow to approx: 1.5 – 3 inches species dependant
  • Adults live about 18 months or longer
  • Mature at about 3-6 months old
  • Gestation: carry babies for about one month
  • Female gives live birth
  • Young born 30-60 or so at a time
  • Babies are about one eighth of an inch in size
  • Make great food items
  • Have low or no odour
  • Make no noise
  • Do not bite
  • Easy to care for


Last Updated ( Saturday, 05 July 2014 11:09 )


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