Company diversifies into feeder rats and mice.
Bassett’s Cricket Ranch, a breeder of crickets for the reptile hobbyist as well as the fishing crowd, is back selling crickets after the company's entire inventory of crickets were killed off a few years ago by a cricket virus. The company, which has been selling crickets for more than 40 years, lost approximately 50 to 60 million crickets in less than a week, almost ending the business that was started by Russell Bassett in 1969.
After the loss, the company started with a fresh batch of brown crickets that again were stricken by the virus, known as cricket paralysis virus and first detected in the United States in 2009. The company then switched to a different cricket species, the Jamaican field cricket and had success. The company again began shipping their own homegrown crickets to customers in April 2011, and is currently shipping more than 3 million crickets each week as well as close to 3 million mealworms. To diversify, the company is also breeding rats and mice for the reptile trade and has also entered the furry pet trade with pet guinea pigs and hamsters.