Dusting is a process to add a nutritionally rich powder to the outside of your feeder crickets. Again only a small amount is used so purchasing a commercially produced product is an economical way of adding nutrient to your animal’s diet.
Place the insects into a plastic “zip lock” bag or into a small high sided container (see adjacent photo) and shake until the crickets are completely covered. Crickets should be fed to your animals immediately after dusting as they clean themselves on a regular basis (crickets and cockroaches).
Adding gut loading foods and/or dusting powders to your crickets are designed to “top up” nutrients and should not substitute feeding your animals a nutritionally balanced diet. If crickets are fed a high quality diet, then dusting and gut loading for the most part will be of secondary importance to your animals (with the exception of a few trace nutrients which can only be provided by dusting).
Gut loading is a method of boosting the nutritional content of your insects prior to feeding them to your animals. This is accomplished by providing them with high quality foods to boost their nutrient, energy and moisture levels. Your animals then benefit through ingestion of these enriched insects. Animals that have been relocated, are ill or under stress may particularly benefit from gut loading and dusting.
Most pet stores that sell reptiles are likely to sell a commercially available gut loading formula. As you only use a small quantity this is a relatively cheap option. Alternatively you can make a protein rich mix as outlined (dry food section). It is recommended that you increase the proportions of the high grade foods as out lined below.
- For mealworms increase the proportion of meal run (switch with bran) and add puppy or working dog food (switch with chicken starter crumble).
- For Crickets and cockroaches increase the proportion of puppy or working dog foods. Don’t remove the chicken starter crumble or layer pellets altogether as they add nutritional diversity.
- You can also mix in the commercially available gut loading mix in with this high protein mix. A gut loading mixture can be mixed then stored into a separate container and used as required.
Providing energy and water rich fresh root vegetables (not frozen) such as carrot and sweet potato will also provide a good wet food gut loading option. For crickets be sure to provide a good supply of water either through a water dispenser or fresh fruit and vegetables. Where possible feed the insects gut loading foods at least 24-48 hours prior to feeding them to your animals. This will allow sufficient time for the uptake of nutrients and moisture.