Why Do Crickets Smell Like Fish? A Curious Mystery

Last Updated on March 27, 2023 by Jeffery Jago

Crickets are fascinating insects with a variety of unique characteristics, but one aspect that might catch your attention is their peculiar smell.

Some people notice that crickets have a fishy odor, which can be quite surprising.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this fishy smell and learn what can be done to manage and reduce the odor in cricket keepers.

Cricket Biology and Odor Production

To understand why crickets smell like fish, it’s essential to consider their biology and how it relates to odor production.

Crickets, like many other insects, use pheromones for communication. These chemical signals can help crickets find mates or communicate with other members of their species.

While pheromones play a crucial role in cricket communication, they are not directly responsible for the fishy odor.

The Fishy Odor: Ammonia Production in Crickets

The fishy smell associated with crickets is primarily due to ammonia production. Crickets produce ammonia as a byproduct of protein metabolism.

As crickets consume and break down proteins, nitrogen-containing waste products, such as ammonia, are generated. Ammonia has a pungent, fishy odor, which explains the smell associated with crickets.

In addition, ammonia can be harmful to crickets and other animals if it accumulates in high concentrations. To minimize the risk of ammonia buildup, it is important to maintain a clean and well-ventilated cricket keeper and replace uneaten food and waste regularly.

Additionally, providing crickets with a balanced diet and proper hydration can help to minimize the amount of ammonia produced during protein metabolism.

Cricket Waste and Its Contribution to the Fishy Smell

Another factor contributing to the fishy smell of crickets is their waste. Cricket waste, or frass, contains nitrogenous compounds, including ammonia.

When cricket waste accumulates in a cricket keeper, the ammonia concentration can increase, further intensifying the fishy odor.

Proper cricket keeper hygiene and waste management are essential to minimize the smell and maintain a healthy environment for the insects.

To manage cricket waste and minimize the fishy odor associated with ammonia buildup, it is important to regularly clean and maintain the cricket keeper.

This includes removing uneaten food, replacing bedding materials, and cleaning any waste buildup. In addition, providing crickets with a balanced diet and adequate hydration can help to minimize the amount of waste produced and the concentration of ammonia in the cricket keeper.

Environmental Factors That Can Enhance the Fishy Smell

Certain environmental factors can enhance the fishy smell associated with crickets. Temperature and humidity levels can influence the rate of ammonia production and evaporation, with higher temperatures and humidity levels potentially exacerbating the odor. Overcrowding in cricket keepers can also contribute to an increased fishy smell, as a higher cricket population generates more waste and ammonia.

Tips for Reducing the Fishy Smell in Cricket Keepers

To manage and reduce the fishy smell in cricket keepers, consider the following tips:

  • Regular cleaning and waste removal: Clean the cricket keeper regularly, removing waste and any uneaten food to minimize ammonia buildup.

  • Proper ventilation and moisture control: Ensure that the cricket keeper is well-ventilated to allow ammonia to dissipate and maintain a balanced moisture level to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

  • Avoid overcrowding: Maintain a suitable cricket population in the keeper to reduce waste production and minimize the fishy smell.

  • Proper diet and hydration: Provide crickets with a balanced diet and adequate hydration to minimize waste production and ammonia buildup.

  • Use odor-neutralizing products: Consider using odor-neutralizing products, such as activated carbon or baking soda, to absorb odors in the cricket keeper. (Do not add it into the cricket keeper!)

  • Use a dehumidifier: If you live in a humid environment, consider using a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels and minimize the growth of mold and bacteria, which can contribute to the fishy smell.

Overall, managing the fishy smell in cricket keepers requires regular cleaning and waste removal, proper ventilation and moisture control, and a balanced cricket population. By taking these steps, you can minimize the impact of the fishy smell on your home and ensure the health and well-being of your feeder crickets.


Understanding the reasons behind the fishy smell of crickets can help you better manage and maintain a healthy environment for these intriguing insects.

By keeping in mind the role of ammonia production and cricket waste in creating the odor, as well as the impact of environmental factors, you can take appropriate steps to minimize the smell in cricket keepers.

Proper cricket keeper management not only ensures a more pleasant experience for you but also contributes to the overall health and well-being of your cricket population.