Came across some old images from a story that never ran. So here you go:
Cricket farming in Kompong Thom
On the National Road 6 from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh about 40 kilometers from Kompong Thom sits an area that is famous for it’s crickets. The road is dotted with blue flourescent lights that attract the crickets.
Chanta, 33, starts work every morning at 4:00am as a cricket harvester. She makes 5 stops every morning. She is a farmer and works as a harvester on the side for extra income.
The cricket traps work as such: The crickets are attracted to the blue fluoro lights. When they jump to get closer to the light, they hit a plastic sheet and fall into a cache of water.
They can catch over 4 kilos of crickets at each farm they visit. They do an initial weighing in the dark and pay the farmer 10,000 riel ($2.50 USD) per kilo.
At Chanta’s house, the bugs are cleaned in water before sorting.
The crickets are sorted by weight and size. Other bugs that are in the catch are separated and sold separately. Once everything is sorted, Chanta goes to the market.
Chanta will sell the crickets for 20,000 (USD $5.00) Riel per kilo.
Once she is done selling her crickets, Chanta and her husband head back home with some extra shopping.