Variety is key in feeding your reptiles, frogs, and other small animals, so why not try some locusts? If you have bought locusts before, you should know they are quite pricey to buy weekly. Learning how to breed locusts will save you hundreds of dollars a year if you have the time for it. This easy method will show you how you can set up a locust breeding colony with just a few supplies, locusts, and days.
- 24″x16″x18″ Vivarium/Glass tank
- 60 Watt bulb
- Egg cartons
- Laying trays (I used the plastic boxes which live food come in from the pet store)
Locusts should be kept in an enclosure with very little humidity. If you can provide a screen top for the enclosure, it will help ventilate the area well to keep the humidity down. You should also keep the temperatures between 84 – 89 °F throughout the enclosure. Some people say they like it really hot and have bred and kept locusts in temperatures in the 90″s °F, but a safe temperature in my opinion ranges from the mid 80’s to the high 80’s. For hides, egg crates will do just fine.
A good diet is key in raising healthy locusts. Remember, the food that your locusts eat will be the food that your pets eat, so you want to make sure you choose a locust diet that is high in protein. You should also feed healthy vegetables to hydrate your locusts. Some people use water bowls for hydration, but it is known that water bowls tend to drown some locusts which is why it is not recommended to use them. Safe vegetables are collared greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens.
Sexing Locusts – Male to Female
It is very hard to tell the gender of locusts until their color starts to change. The below picture illustrates a pre-adult locust which is about to reach sexual maturity. The color in pink. At this stage, they will not breed just yet.
Male’s locust that have become sexually mature turn a very bright and vivid yellow like in the picture below.
Finally, the female locust when sexually mature, turns into a brown/beige color.
Locusts will breed on their own inside their enclosure, as long as you include some laying bins. Laying bins will be where your locusts will inject their eggs. To setup a laying bin, all you need is a plastic container and some sand/dirt. The laying bin should be about your hand size in length and 1/3 of your hand size in depth. The depth is important, because it needs to be deep enough for your locusts to inject eggs into it. Before your place the laying bin into the enclosure, make sure the sand/dirt is moistened with water and is placed into the container loosely. Do not pack the sand/dirt into the bin tightly. Make it somewhat loose so your locusts can inject the eggs into the substrate easily. You should also leave about an inch or two of space from the top of the bin to allow the locusts to emerge easily out of the substrate when they hatch.
Once you place the containers into the enclosure, the locusts will take care of the rest. After about a day or two, you should see holes scattered across the bin. Each hole has an egg pod which can contain anywhere from 10 – 40 eggs. Each female can lay up to 3 pods ranging from every 5 or 10 – 15 days (during autumn). Each pod will have emerging locusts within 7 – 10 days from when the eggs were laid. So once you see eggs in the containers, get them out, place a lid on the container and put them somewhere warm (82 – 86 °F). Once you see locusts emerging from the holes, you can then place the container in a different enclosure and release the lid. They will all normally start to emerge within that day or two. It’s best to house the babies and adults separately.
Incubating Locust Eggs
As mentioned above, you should incubate the eggs in a closed bin somewhere warm. If you live somewhere cold, you can easily make an incubator yourself using a heat pad and an insulation box. Make sure the temperatures stay between 82 – 86 °F in the incubator. If you do not have any lids, you can easily use cling film for your containers. Failure to do so, will result in a BIG surprise when you open up your incubator.
If you have any other way of breeding locusts, please feel free to comment below and let us know how you do it differently.