In Honolulu, an island-wide shortage of crickets has pet owners searching for ways to keep their reptiles from starving. Crickets are a main food source for many reptiles and at the moment, the islands’ major supplier isn’t putting any out on the market.
The company that supplies many of our islands pet stores with crickets said it had a problem with breeding and it has to wait until January before it can sell again. Crickets cannot be brought in from the mainland because of the State Agriculture Department’s regulations.
“We used to sell about 75 a week and now we’re selling that much in a day,” said Ricky Baker, owner of the Pet Hale store in Miliani.
Other stores that used to stock the insects are also out. They’ve been that way for several weeks after the islands’ major supplier ran into production problems. The Pet Hale gets its crickets from a private breeder who hasn’t run out.
“We have probably quadrupled at least our sale of crickets since the shortage so we’ve seen a lot of people come in that haven’t been here before,” said Baker.
As workers sort bottles of crickets, they’ve also been answering a lot of phone calls from pet owners who are out of food and can’t find the insects anywhere else.
“Basically they’re frantic, you know I need to feed my chameleon, I don’t have crickets, do you guys have any and they’re very relieved when they find out we do,” said Baker.
These shop owners say this is the most significant shortage they’ve heard of in years. According to Baker, they’ve been getting customers from Hawaii Kai to Makaha stopping in.
“We’ve got them. If you have a hungry chameleon, we’re here, so we’re not having a shortage so you can come on by,” said Baker.