Acheta domesticus, commonly called the house cricket, is a cricket most likely native to Southwestern Asia, but between 1950 and 2000 it became the standard feeder insect for the pet and research industries and spread worldwide. They can be kept as pets themselves, as this has been the case in China and Japan.
The house cricket is typically gray or brownish in color, growing to 16–21 millimetres (0.63–0.83 in) in length. Males and females look similar, but females will have an ovipositor emerging from the rear, around 12 millimetres (0.47 in) long. The ovipositor is brown-black, and is surrounded by two appendages. On males, the cerci are also more prominent.
House crickets take two to three months to complete their life cycle at 26 to 32 °C (79 to 90 °F). They have no special overwintering stage, but can survive cold weather in and around buildings, and in dumps where heat from fermentation may sustain them. Eggs are deposited in whatever damp substrate is available. Juveniles resemble the adults except for being smaller and wingless.
The house cricket was essentially eliminated from the cricket-breeding industries of North America and Europe by the appearance of cricket paralysis virus which spread rapidly in Europe in 2002 and then in the United States in 2010. The virus is extremely lethal to this species of cricket and a few others, and left many hobbyists and researchers without adequate feeder insects. It has been replaced by the Jamaican field cricket, which is resistant to cricket paralysis virus and has many of the desirable features of the house cricket.
The house cricket is an edible insect. It is farmed in South-East Asia and parts of Europe and North America for human consumption. In Asia, it is said to become more popular than many native cricket species due to what consumers claimed was their superior taste and texture. Dry-roasting is common and is considered the most nutritious method of preparing them, though they are often sold deep-fried as well. Farmed house crickets are mostly freeze-dried and often processed into a powder known as cricket flour. In Europe, the house cricket is officially approved for use in food products in Switzerland (since 2017). In the EU, the house cricket is not approved as novel food yet. However, on August 17, 2021, the European Food Safety Authority published a safety assessment stating that frozen and dried formulations from whole house crickets are safe for consumption.
Serving size: 1 1/2 cup (30g)
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Media related to Acheta domestica at Wikimedia Commons