Friday, January 14, 2011

North American virus kills crickets raised for pet reptiles

A cricket paralysis virus killed millions of crickets that were raised to feed pet reptiles and zoo animals across North America, putting some producers out of business and limiting cricket supplies, according to
The virus swept through European cricket farms in 2002; however, this virus was not discovered in the US and Canada until 2009, in the house cricket species, Acheta domesticus. The virus does not affect animals that eat crickets or other cricket species, according to Peter Tijssen, a virologist at he University of Quebec.
The cricket paralysis virus already killed 60 million of the insects at a Canadian operation, forced a Florida,USA, farmer to declare bankruptcy and prompted a Michigan grower to temporarily close. David Fluker, president of Fluker's Cricket Farm Inc., estimated that of the 10 major US cricket farms and other smaller operations, about four or five are currently fighting the virus.

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