Insects have a hard outer skin that protects their bodies called an exoskeleton. Most insects have wings, antennae and three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.
Insects are the world's most plentiful animal. There are more species of insects than of any other animal.
Every third grader will be given two crickets to care for and observe until the school year ends. Details about what the crickets need to remain healthy and happy are given below.
The crickets will be housed at home during the project so students can care for them and observe them as they grow and develop. Suitable cricket containers should be light, unbreakable, have a lid, sit flat, and be transparent so the crickets can be easily observed. Students should bring their cricket containers to school no later than Monday, April 29th, 2014. The container that comes to school can be a temporary container to transport the crickets home if the crickets are being kept in a container too large to bring to school (an old aquarium, for example).
Crickets need a container that is large enough for them to move around freely and feel safe. Plastic containers work best. The container should be at least 4-6 inches high so the crickets don't jump out when the lid is removed. Do not use a container with fiber glass mesh or cloth sides because the crickets will eat right through it!
Crickets need a container that is dry, has fresh air, and is not too bright. Poke lots of small holes in the lid of your container to let in fresh air. Make sure there is nothing sticky inside the cage that crickets can get caught on or injured.
Crickets like dark places. Cover one or more sides of your container with dark paper to make it darker inside.
Crickets need places to hide. They don’t feel safe out in the open. Put crumpled paper, paper cups, or cardboard in the container for them to hide behind.
DO NOT PUT HEAVY OBJECTS IN THE CAGE THAT CAN MOVE AROUND WHEN THE CAGE IS MOVED. THESE CAN INJURE THE CRICKETS. GLUE CONTAINERS DOWN OR PUSH THEM INTO SOIL OR SAND SO THEY DON’T MOVE.
Crickets need water that they can safely use. They can drown in deep water a sponge or something to soak up and hold water in a small lid.
Watch out for mold! Spilled water or too much moisture (or too little ventilation) in a cage can cause mold. Keep the cage dry and don't let mold get started.
Crickets need food! Cereal, breadcrumbs, lettuce, small pieces of fruit are all good foods. Be careful about things that might get moldy like fruit. Dry foods like cereal work best.
Crickets like to dig in moist, packed sand or soil. Females lay their eggs underground. If you want to try to raise baby crickets you must put sand or dirt in your container for the crickets to use. Keep the sand moist but not too wet. (See "How to Raise Lots of Crickets" link below for details.)
Crickets like peace and quiet! Keep them away from loud noises. The males will sing when they get older; the females don’t sing.
How do you tell female from male crickets? Female crickets have an ovipositor to lay their eggs. This is a small tube that extends out of their abdomens. Males don’t have these. More information about cricket care can be found on this web site.
How to catch a cricket on the loose: Carefully cover the cricket with a clear cup or glass. Then slide a piece of paper or thin card under the glass. Be careful not to injure the cricket's legs when you do this. Hold the cup securely on the card and then turn it over. Now you can put the cricket back where it belongs!
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