how do you farm crickets?
At Bugvita we think that it is important to know where our food comes from.
That's why we're thrilled to share with you the fascinating journey of our UK grown Acheta domesticus crickets. From their humble beginnings as a nymph, weighing less than 100th of a gram, to their transformation into our high-protein, sustainable Bugvita products - we're committed to creating food that's good for you and good for our planet. Ready to see how we're pioneering the future of food?
Stage 1: Species Selection
Our process begins with the selection of our star performer: the House Cricket (Acheta domesticus). This gregarious species has many characteristics which make it ideal for farming, including a rapid growth rate and high protein content.
Stage 2: Optimising the Environment
Creating the optimal environment for crickets is crucial. Crickets prefer a steady temperature of around 32°C, ensuring ideal conditions for growth. Good ventilation and humidity are also really important - stale humid air can cause fungi and bacteria to grow in the rearing area. Lighting is also strictly controlled to emulate long summer days, which encourages the crickets to grow fast and breed.
Stage 3: Housing
The housing for crickets can vary from small plastic boxes to open-plan rooms. Whatever the crickets are housed in, it is vital to provide surface area maximisers, such as moulded cellulose fibre or textured sheets, to increase the habitat space. Crickets love to climb and so it important to give them plenty of space to move. This use of vertical space is one of the reasons why cricket farming is so space efficient.
Stage 4: Nutrition
All the crickets we sell have been fed a high quality, locally sourced diet, which has been approved for use under UK animal feed legislation. When the crickets first hatch they prefer a diet that is slightly higher in protein, however, as they grow they are able to thrive on a wider variety of feeds, including food waste such as spent brewers grains, vegetable peels or apple pomace.
Stage 5: Hydration
Watering crickets presents a unique challenge, as they love fresh water but are very poor swimmers! Cricket farmers need to use innovative watering systems that provide necessary hydration without the risk of the crickets drowning. This is easier said than done, as young crickets can drown in even the smallest puddle of standing water. Most watering solutions utilise modified poultry drinkers or drip irrigations systems with inert floats, sponges, gravel or mesh to prevent drowning.
Stage 6: Egg Laying
Female crickets lay their eggs about 2cm deep in a damp substrate, typically peat moss or coconut coir. Here, the eggs are incubated at optimal temperatures until they hatch.
Stage 7: Hatching
After about 9-10 days, the new generation of crickets hatch. These nymphs, despite their small size, are very similar in structure to their adult counterparts and, with good access to feed and water, will grow at an incredible rate. To put this in context, if a chicken grew at the same rate it would weigh as much as a turkey in 3 weeks!
Stage 8: Harvesting
Once the crickets reach maturity, they are harvested. This process involves gently agitating their habitats, causing the crickets to move into collection areas where they are separated out into large trays.
Stage 9: Processing
The harvested crickets are then subjected to a humane freeze treatment. Rapid freezing causes crickets to enter a torpor-like state called diapause before they die, in this unconscious state most people agree that the crickets do not experience suffering.
For a much more detailed look at the ethics of insect farming and humane slaughter please read our in depth review, where we look at both sides of the argument, click on the link below to access the article:
Stage 10: Product Creation
The frozen crickets are then washed and given a two-step high temperature to treatment to completely eliminate microbiological activity and ensure that the final products are safe and have a long shelf life.
Finally, the processed crickets are used to create a variety of Bugvita products. From protein-rich cricket powder to sustainable and nutritious cricket-based snacks, we are proud to offer an array of options for the adventurous and health-conscious consumer.
At Bugvita, we are committed to sustainable and ethical farming. Our crickets represent a forward-thinking approach to protein production and a step towards a more sustainable future. Join us in embracing this innovative food source.