In April, Big Cricket Farms became the first U.S. company to raise insects for human consumption. It’s no surprise crickets are leaping onto our plates—they require less space and fewer resources than cows or chickens, and they’re packed with protein and other nutrients. But farmed crickets and premade cricket foods can be expensive. Why not breed your own crunchy critters instead? (Don’t miss our recipe for cooking crickets, below.)
1) Set terrariums near heat. In one, put crickets, food, water, soil dishes, and egg carton.
2) Periodically, check the soil for eggs. When found, move dishes to the other terrarium.
3) When the eggs hatch, return baby crickets and dishes of fresh soil to first terrarium.
4) To eat, grab young crickets with no wings. Freeze for 24 hours, blanch, and start cooking!
• Two 14-gallon terrariums with mesh lids (or clear boxes with mesh-covered air holes)
• Heat source at about 85°F
• 30 crickets
• Organic whole grains for food
• Soaked sponges for water
• Two shallow plastic dishes filled with pesticide-free soil
• Egg carton to vary landscape
• Spray bottle to moisten habitat
Time: 6 weeks
Recipe: Dry Roasted Chocolate-Covered Crickets
WARNING: You’re not a lizard. Clean insects before consuming and eat them at your own risk.
This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of Popular Science.