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#72316 - 12/11/05 10:04 PM Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn?

Okay, I know (Charlie <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />) that you can't feed crickets without some risk of aflatoxin poisoning. But I've always heard that it comes from the corn bedding or gut loading of the crickets.

I haven't fed them often, but I like the idea of letting the gliders hunt for them in a little zip up net laundry hamper (like a reptarium) every once in a while for fun.

So is there some way to raise crickets without using corn in any way? And if so, does anyone know of anyone who does it commercially? I asked at Petco one time, and the young man working there actually made a decent effort to try and find out how their crickets were raised. He called their supplier (Timberline, I think) and was told they use a premade "cricket food" and they gave him a list of ingredients which did include corn (can't remember if it was corn meal or corn flour or what) but it was only one (and not the first) in a long list of ingredients.

Is the main source of aflatoxin risk in the bedding being made of corn, or the food, or are they one in the same (I've never looked in to raising crickets or how it's done)?

I guess I'm looking for a short, succinct way of asking at my local pet supply stores whether the crickets are being raised in a way that reduces the risk. Of course most of the time when I do ask, I first have to explain what aflatoxins are and why I'm worried about it. Sometimes I'm sure I'm getting rolls of the eyes behind my back.

Oh, that reminds me, one pet store owner asked me if I actually knew of anyone personally who had lost a glider to aflatoxin poisoning (like he didn't believe it really happens). I know Charlie has, but I know I've heard other stories, and I wanted to name several people for him, and I couldn't think who else on here had experienced this tragedy. So if you have, please post on this thread.

#72317 - 12/12/05 08:14 AM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]

Bump. Any thoughts or ideas?

CharlieH, I don't know if you've been on since I posted this, but I didn't mean to discourage you from replying by mentioning your name. I'm especially interested in your input. Mikey? Suz? Peggy? Others?

#72318 - 12/12/05 09:48 AM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]
Srlb Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 16744
Loc: St. Johns, Florida
Miss Ellen has lost several of her gliders to it Peeps.

I do believe it is the corn bedding which can become molded. As for getting them from a petstore, make sure they raise their own, many of them will have them shipped in and then just keep them in a bin with newspaper and papertowel rolls and claim they raise them.

Bobs grandfather used to raise them (he had his own bait shop) and he kept them in with oatmeal,and newspaper and would put some apple or potatoes in there once a week (allowing it to stay for one day only) for them to eat. They were HUGE crickets!! He did the same for grasshoppers, but gave them plenty of greens to eat. He would also keep a piece of wood in there now that I think about it, so it was leaning up against the side and they would be all over that as well.

Sorry I cant be of much help to ya, Im just too much of a coward to try crickets myself. I did look it up and came up with This site on raising them. That may be the best way to go. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />
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#72319 - 12/12/05 10:03 AM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]

Thanks, Peggy. Ugh. I don't want to raise them myself. Nasty creatures, and I absolutely hate it when one gets loose in the house and starts making that noise, hiding where you can't get to it. I can just barely get myself to handle them once in a while as a special treat for the furkids. But good information.

I'm pretty sure all the places I've checked order them and keep them on newpaper and/or egg cartons.

What about the gut loading? Are you supposed to do that yourself or does it matter? Is it important that they be gut loaded?

Ellen, I'm sorry about the gliders you lost. How long ago was it? Did it happen suddenly, or were they sick for a while? How many gliders?

Edited by PeeperKeeper (12/12/05 10:08 AM)

#72320 - 12/12/05 02:18 PM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]

Nice step by step Peggy.

I wonder if the cricket food they talk about on this site found at pet stores is comparable to gut loading?

Or if you have to add vitamins and calcium to them?

#72321 - 12/30/05 02:59 PM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]

I just talked to the guy as Bassetts who feed the crickets. He says the cricket food does have corn in it. However, it is highly processed/cooked and has mold inhibitors added to it.

Hope that helps someone - I'm going to order from there and feed them oatmeal and keep them on paper.

#72322 - 12/30/05 08:02 PM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]
Anmaw Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Hernando, MS - USA
What is a "mold inhibitor"?
Guardian of Stryder,
my Grandson's Sugar Glider

#72323 - 12/30/05 08:11 PM Re: Aflatoxins -crickets w/o corn? [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
Sorry, guess I was off in LaLa Land and missed this post until now. The gliders we lost to aflatoxins were the result of feeding human grade peanuts. Ellen lost several that got aflatoxins from crickets. If I remember correctly she purchased the crickets from a place that was raising them for fish bait. The crickets were bedded in corn cob beeding. Since they were being raised for fish bait I am sure aflatoxins were the fartherest thing from their minds. Hopefully a company raising crickets to be used as pet food will be more careful.

We purchase mealworms by 5000 at a time from Grubco and keep them in a container that we fill with corn meal. The order lasts us about a month and the next order gets fresh corn meal. We keep the worms refrigerated but do add things like lettuce, apple slices, and potato slices for moisture.

Ellen's story has been posted several times and you can probably find it by doing a search. I really don't know what the dangers are for crickets getting aflatoxins or how many other people have run into the problem. The one time with the peanuts made a believer out of me. But it may never happen again. We just do not care to chance it.
Charlie H
Rescue & Rehabilation


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