The house cricket is brownish or gray in color, growing to 0.63–0.83 inches (16–21 millimeters) in length. Females and males look similar, but females will have an ovipositor (a tube-like organ used by some animals, especially insects for the laying of eggs.) emerging from the rear, around 0.47 inches (12 millimeters ) long. The ovipositor is brown-black and is enclosed by two appendages. On males, the cerci are more prominent.
House crickets take a couple of months to complete their life cycle at 79 to 90 °F (26 to 32 °C ). They have no particular overwintering stage but can withstand cold weather in and around dumps and buildings where heat from fermentation may nurse them. Eggs are inserted in whatever damp substrate is nearby. Juveniles resemble adults except for being wingless and smaller.
The house cricket was virtually eliminated from North America and Europe’s cricket-breeding industries due to the cricket paralysis virus’s appearance, which spread rapidly in Europe in 2002 CE and then in the United States in 2010 CE. The virus is highly harmful to this cricket species and a few others and left many researchers and hobbyists without adequate feeder insects. It has been superseded by the Jamaican field cricket, which is relatively resistant to cricket paralysis virus and has many of the sought-after features of the Asian house cricket.
For humans, the house cricket is surprisingly an edible insect. It is grown in South-East Asia and parts of North America and Europe for human consumption. In Asia, it is said to become more famous than many native cricket species because users claimed their texture and superior taste. Dry-roasting is traditional and is deemed the most nutritious method of preparing them, though they are often sold deep-fried. Farmed house crickets are often freeze-dried and usually processed into a powder known locally in Japan and China as cricket flour. Like all insects, Asian crickets are a perfect protein. They contain both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Breeding and Pets
Thanks to the market created by breeders and owners of exotic reptiles, which eat crickets, Asian cricket-breeding is a billion-dollar business in the United States. Large-scale breeders grow as many as 75 million crickets at a time in large-size facilities. The common house cricket, Acheta domesticus, is grown commercially for the pet trade as well. In recent years, a deadly disease known as the cricket paralysis virus (we covered it above) has destroyed the industry. Crickets contaminated with the virus as nymphs slowly become paralyzed as adults, flipping onto their spines and dying. Half the leading cricket breeding farms in the U.S. went out of business because of the virus after losing hundreds of thousands of crickets to the disease.