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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Growth, survival and development of house crickets (Acheta domesticus) fed flowering plants

Vaga, Merko; Berggren, Åsa; Jansson, Anna

Abstract

House crickets (Acheta domesticus) are increasingly being used as food. This has the potential for a more efficient food production that also may benefit agroecosystems. As the first study to compare feeds based on European wild flowering plants as feed for house crickets we examined five common plants known to support biodiversity of wild insects (white clover (Trifolium repens), white nettle (Lamium album), common nettle (Urtica dioica), rough comfrey (Symphytum asperum) and common gypsophila (Gypsophila paniculata). These plants and a control diet were fed as dried and sole feeds ad libitum to one-day-old house crickets for 62 days in a climate-controlled laboratory. Cricket weight, mortality and feed intake were recorded every 7 days. An additional test examined crickets preferences for forages and the effect on maturation and weight, by providing a free choice of rapeseed and wheat meal and either an early- or late-cut red clover (Trifolium pratense) or white nettle for 62 days. Mortality of crickets fed common nettle, rough comfrey and common gypsophila exceeded 80% in first 7 days, so these plants were removed from the trial after 14 days. Survival of crickets on white nettle and control feed was 59% after 28 days and average cricket weight was similar. By day 62, the weight of crickets fed white nettle and white clover was on average 32 mg, compared with 201 mg on control feed. In the free choice test, crickets consumed 15-30% red clover, 31-37% wheat meal and 39-64% rapeseed. Crickets with access to red clover showed a higher (P<0.001) proportion of adults (28%) compared with the control (5%). We conclude that white nettle has potential as feed for house crickets during the early growth stages, and that red clover supplementation increase cricket maturation. Using feeds including white nettle and red clover in cricket rearing additionally benefits to support wild biodiversity and lower feed costs.

Keywords

insects; entomophagy; rearing; forages

Published in

Journal of insects as food and feed
2021, volume: 7, number: 2, pages: 151 - 161

Authors' information

Vaga, Merko
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Zoology
Animal and Dairy Science
Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3920/JIFF2020.0048

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/109470