I'm planning on having a small farm of crickets or grasshoppers. I would like to cause them as little suffering as possible, so I'm wondering what is the most painless way to kill them?

So far, the plan is to put them into the fridge (+4C) to slowly chill them (that way they will not notice it as much), and then to freeze them in the freezer (once they are chilled and are either unconscious or barely so).

EDIT: It is important to note that I am planning on eating them.

  • $\begingroup$ They have a wikipedia page for euthanising insects, to my surprise. I'm far from experienced here, though. $\endgroup$
    – CKM
    Sep 11, 2015 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ I think the freezing method makes sense, since that is how they do it with lobsters. And lobsters are just underwater large bugs really. You could try decapitating them? $\endgroup$
    – Ro Siv
    Sep 11, 2015 at 23:51
  • $\begingroup$ 4⁰C won't kill them.. see here.. You can freeze them in a deep freezer, if you have one.. $\endgroup$
    Sep 12, 2015 at 4:38
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ As far as I'm aware, there really isn't conclusive evidence that insects can actually feel pain in the same sense that we do, as their nervous systems just aren't that complex. So, I really wouldn't get too hung up on this. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Sep 12, 2015 at 18:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I commend you for a) growing your own and eating insects (so 21st century; not a joke), b) caring that they not suffer. An uplifting question! $\endgroup$
    – Chelonian
    Sep 12, 2015 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


The terrestrial invertebrate taxon advisory group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommends anesthetizing the insects with carbon dioxide and then placing them in a freezer to euthanize them.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you post a link to this information? It sounds correct, as CO2 is used by Drosophila labs, but it is always a good idea to source your answers with a link. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Sep 14, 2015 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome to Biology StackExchange! Do you have any links to reference your answer? I see that group mentioned on Wikipedia but usually in reference to freezing. $\endgroup$
    – Amory
    Sep 14, 2015 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ Using CO2 doesn't feel very practical to do at home though, if the purpose is to grow them for on a large scale for food. $\endgroup$ Sep 14, 2015 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ @fileunderwater well, you could always breathe at them. :P $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Nov 8, 2015 at 17:41

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