Choosing Crickets or Cockroaches?

Most commercial and private reptile keepers like to give their animals a diversity of live food to provide a range of nutrients and to reduce boredom. Meal worms are sometimes given as a treat to animals, however crickets and cockroaches are the preferred choice when feeding on a regular basis.

For the first time people can now breed crickets with the same amount of effort and consistency as cockroaches. This is a significant development for wildlife enthusiasts who for the most part have been limited to breeding cockroaches, which have lower maintenance requirements and greater breeding consistency. Imagine breeding all the crickets and cockroaches your animals desire, guilt free!! Refer to our home page for further details.

Producing both live foods will provide your animals or customers with better options and increase your customer base. Both crickets and woodies have advantages and disadvantages as outlined in the below table.

Advantages and Disadvantages between Breeding Crickets and Cockroaches

Live food type Advantages Disadvantages
  •   Due to their jumping habit,   crickets are often more effective at stimulating natural hunting behaviour   than cockroaches or mealworms.
  •   Some animals are fussy eaters   and will only eat crickets, while refusing other live foods.
  •   Crickets will generally be more   active and move around   the container, making them more available to be taken by animals.
  •   Generally don’t have the “yuck”   factor associated with cockroaches
  •   Have a quick start up time, only   requiring 6 to have an established colony.
  •   Unable to climb many smooth   surfaces (unlike cockroaches) and are consequently easier to manage and   contain. This results in fewer escapees.
  •   Prolific breeders that have a   quick breeding lifecycle and fast production rate. A breeding colony can   generally be set up within 6 weeks.


  • For commercial production (batch system) require additional maintenance (spraying and set up of breeding trays).
  • Our “Zega Substrate Breeding System” has a similar maintenance requirement as cockroaches.
  • Are not as robust as cockroaches and generally require better and more consistent management.
  • Have a relatively slow start up time, requiring around 6 months or more to establish a productive colony.
  • Have a relatively short shelf life, living for around 2-3 months.
  • Require higher quality wet foods (no fermenting or soggy foods)
  • Can be difficult to separate (grade) old large crickets which are close to dying and younger adult crickets which can be used for sale (when using a breeding method which has mixed aged groups in a single container)
  • Are not social, and will cannibalise if housed in high densities where proper management strategies are not in place.
  •   Are more   robust than crickets and if neglected they are more likely to survive.
  •   Less   maintenance requirements for commercial production (i.e. no breeding trays   required).
  •   Can be fed   with a wider range of foods and of a lower quality than crickets (can tolerate   fermenting and soggy foods).
  •   Are long   lived, living for many months or years depending on the species.
  •   Very   productive.
  •   Liked by   most insectivorous animals.
  •   Are social,   able to be housed in high densities without significant cannibalism.
  •   Cockroaches   quickly scuttle under cover and out of reach from your animal.
  •   Cockroaches   are able to scale many smooth surfaces and are more difficult to contain and   manage.
  •   Without proper management, they can escape   from the breeding containers. They can then establish themselves in a house.
  •   Some people   have a “yuck” factor associated with keeping cockroaches.
  •   A breeding   colony can take 6 months or more to establish.
  •   Without proper management, can smell.

© Zega Enterprises 2018, © Photographs, diagrams and tables by Glenn Kvassay or as credited 2018