Best friends are typically construed as people. But in a bug's world, they're probably construed as other bugs. However, if we're trying to figure out the ideal set up for a colony of breeder crickets that you bought online, then their best friend is probably going to be the medium.
But what's a good medium for crickets?
Firstly, when I say medium, I'm actually referring to the bedding material that the crickets are walking on. That bedding material is an important habitat feature that will dictate the success of your colony.
But it might be easy to assume that regular potting soil could be used. But potting soil can actually be very harmful. Most potting soil has pesticides and aggressive fertilizers. Both of these by products can cause severe, irreversible damage to your cricket colony. And it could even kill off all the members in the colony.
And not only is potting soil a terrible cricket substrate, but so is any other type of soil you could find in the wild. It's probably easy to think that natural soil would be great for natural and organic crickets. But the soil in your backyard is probably containing microscopic parasites that will actually cause damage to your crickets.
So the best bedding material to use for crickets is vermiculite. Vermiculite is going to be the best bedding options for a few reasons:
1. First, it's very dry. The dryness of the vermiculite will help control odors, and give the crickets a stronger bedding to walk on. Even though odor-control wasn't the first thing on your mind, crickets could begin to get a little smelly. But that usually occurs when the crickets start to over accumulate, and starts to create too much cricket poop.
2. Reason number 2 is that vermiculite also does a great job retaining moisture. And we touched on this a little in reason number 1. But crickets aren't a dry insect. They like some levels of humidity in their environment. Which is why it's good to consider a pet thermometer for their habitat.
But overall, when constructing your cricket habitat, make sure you don't put too much thought into their substrate, and go right for the vermiculite. Your crickets will benefit greatly from it, which will lead to a stronger, more populated colony, which will ultimately provide great nutrients for your bearded dragons, leopard geckos, and anything else that might be eating these tasty crickets for dinner.