Today I checked in on the crickets to see how many eggs they had laid over the last 24 hours. When I looked in the bin, crickets were completely covering the substrate, busy depositing eggs. I gently brushed them out of the substrate—took about 5 seconds—and then I could remove the substrate and examine it much closer.
Eggs littered the surface of the substrate, but by digging a slight hole, about a centimeter deep, I could see eggs everywhere. It looks like our crickets had a lot of eggs to lay!
Now that we have plenty of eggs, I want to incubate these eggs. Perfect conditions would be around 90 degrees F and +80% humidity. Under these conditions, the crickets could hatch in 9 or 10 days. With my heat lamp, I have temperatures close to 90 degrees F, but I do not have the humidity. To get the humidity, I do not want to run a humidifier in my backyard cricket farm like I do in my commercial farm. First off, the adults don’t necessarily want the humidity. Humidity just creates condensation which creates messes for the adults. I would prefer to keep the humidity localized.
I choose to take a scrap piece of plastic and use that to drape over the bins (I have also done this with saran wrap or even a tight plastic bag). This in effect will create a mini-greenhouse. As the heat from my heat lamp evaporates the water in the substrate, the plastic will capture the evaporating water, and it will drip back into substrate, keeping it moist. Without using the plastic sheeting, my substrate will dry out, and multiple times a day I will have to remoisten the substrate in order to prevent the eggs from completely drying out too; that is too much maintenance for me.
The risk with the plastic sheeting is that mold may form, requiring me to be vigilant at removing any molds. I will check back in two days to ensure the substrate is still moist and to remove any mold spores. I don’t expect to see any hatching for about 15 days. This method won’t be as quick as just running a humidifier, but it requires a lot less effort and expense. Plus, I don’t care if it takes a few extra days for the eggs to hatch.