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Cricket farming

This Indiana man once had “three-million head” for sale
Photo courtesy of Barry Farmer

How many times have you heard one chirping cricket and want to kill it so you could get some sleep? Crickets are music to Barry Farmer’s ears. The Leopold, Indiana, man is an entrepreneur at heart. He tried raising morel mushrooms, but morels only grow where they want to so Barry decided to try the next big thing.

He and his father studied up on cricket farming, and found they can bring in good money by selling to bait shops and other local specialty markets.

"I had some friends that were into reptiles, and they were always limited on the breeding abilities of what they did because they had really big problems getting live food in the wintertime," says Barry. "So, I started catering to the pet shops. In the wintertime it just went up because the guys that had a regular box coming every week, we’d get a below-zero period of winter weather and they couldn’t get anything. I picked up a couple of zoos for the same reason."

Barry says he and his wife Michelle were taking care of three-million crickets at one point – and claims it’s actually easier to listen to a chorus of millions of them than just two-or-three.

Before you run out and catch some crickets with dollar signs in your eyes, be aware that caring for them is a 24-7 job. They require just the right conditions to survive in captivity.

"They like a high temperature and low humidity. Under about 45, 40-degrees, it gets real iffy, they stop moving. And then when you warm them back up they seem fine for a day or two and then they just die off massively after that," says Barry. "You can have a breaker trip and you’ll lose millions. A fan stops blowing in one part of the building, they need a little bit of moving air, they need a little bit of fresh air, and that’s a challenge when it’s -5 outside."

Barry has ended his enterprise, but is now consulting others who want to farm crickets.

Learn more about cricket farming on Barry's Facebook page

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