Crickets and worms help boost Livingston woman’s income

Samantha Hill

A local woman said she is using her interest in her lizard and her growing business savvy to boost herself out of poverty.

Six months ago, Tracey Karcher established the Livingston Bug Company to sell worms and two different sizes of crickets to bird, reptile and amphibian owners around Livingston.

Karcher said she had been nearly homeless, but the business now helps supplement her income.

Karcher established the business after getting a lizard off of Craigslist. She was going to Bozeman pet store every week for the lizard’s food and realized that wasn’t working, especially when she had to make the trip in winter.

She began asking several people around town if they had a better way of purchasing live bugs for her animal, with no luck. So she started the business as a way to supply her lizard as well as the pets of many other people around town needing bugs.

She started out with 500 crickets, which she kept in an enclosure supplied with cricket food. Soon enough she was able to sell them and now has about 5,000 creatures.

Karcher breeds and keeps the insects and worms in her house, but said there is no problem with them getting out of their enclosures.

“Some people won’t put them in their house but its not really that bad,” she said.

Although this is more of a side business for Karcher, since she is undergoing training to become a pastor through Livingston’s Grace United Methodist Church, she said she’s found there is a real need in the area for her pet food, so its always been profitable.

“There is very low overhead,” she said.

Karcher said it was a difficult process to create her own business, so she wants to help others in the area do the same through a nonprofit she formed called Community of Love. Through Community of Love, established in association with the national organization, Circles USA,

Karcher hopes to help Livingston families pay their bills, find jobs, start their own businesses and receive educations.

“My business is one place in town that has benefited from a program like this,” she said.

Contact Karcher at 223-8399 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the week or at the Livingston Bug Company’s Facebook page.