You will either need to buy your fruit fly media, such as the one we sell at Houston Frogs, or make your own. Here are the pros of each:
Commerical Media (Houston Frogs or others):
-Premade and often similarly priced to buying the individual components due to these components being bought in bulk
-Tested and known to give consistent production of fruit flies
-Smaller risk of fruit fly crashes from experimentation with culture recipes
-Generally more production of fruit flies than home recipes
-Less issues with mold, liquification, or mites than homemade recipes
Note that not all commercial media types are the same and some are vastly higher quality than others.
-Can potentially be cheaper than commercial media
There are two main types of premade lids on the market--fabric vented lids and hole punched lids (they have lots of little holes for ventilation). The fabric vented lists are VASTLY superior to the hole punched lids. The hole punched lids allow for mites to enter/exit the culture, they allow for wild flies to mate through the holes with flies inside the container--causing a culture of flying fruit flies, they allow for the infestation of minute black scavenger flies in the culture, and they allow for less ventilation than the fabric lids which causes specifically hydei maggots (more CO2 production than melanogaster) to climb up to the lid in an attempt to get to oxygen--then causing them to clog the vent holes and killing the entire culture through CO2 poisoning.
Yes! You can use any container and put a couple of layers of panty hose on top secured with a rubber band. Or you can cut a hole in a lid about 2' in diameter and glue merv 13 fabric or other non-woven breathable fabric on top.
Really anything can work as long as it can seal tightly and is resistant to warping from heat. Polypropylene containers or jars are best as they are heat resistant and will not warp from boiling water.
Yes! They can be washed in the top rack of the dish washer (after a quick hand washing) or entirely washed by hand and re-used many times over!
Excelsior or wood fiber is most often used, but you can also use paper plates, coffee filters, wine bottle mesh, cardboard, and many other things. The whole reason for the excelsior is to allow for more surface area for the maggots to pupate on, so many things can fill this role.
Your fruit flies will eventually adapt to the media you use over a few generations as the mosty genetically fit flies to survive on that media will reproduce, while those not as fit to survive will be out-competed. Production usually climbs for the first 6-10 generations, then plateaus at a certain point. If you continually switch media, or seed your media with flies raised on a different media (different nutrient profile), your production will start off poor and it will take a few generations for the flies to adapt. You can see Evolution/Natural Selection at work!
Adding boiling water not only activates binding agents in the media to help solidify it, but it also releases nutrients for the fruit fly larva and helps to pasteurize the media as well. The boiling water will kill mite eggs, bacterial cysts, fungal spores, and any other pests that may make their way into your culture, meaning your chances of success are much higher! Use an electric kettle to make the water boiling go much faster!
Make sure you stack your cultures like a pyramid and not directly on top of one another as you don't want to block the vents. Fruit fly cultures produce a LOT of CO2 and need a lot of fresh air to thrive. Do not put your cultures in a sealed container as CO2 can quickly build up.
You can put your cultures on top of diatomaceous earth to prevent mites from traveling too far from the cultures, you can throw out your cultures after 1 month, you can line your shelves with permethrin, you can clean your shelves with Benzyl Benzoate and hydrogen peroxide, but mites will occur and you can only keep them in check, not eliminate them. The mites naturally hitch a ride on the fruit flies, so there is no way to get rid of them completely.
Get good fruit fly breeding stock. Some lines are much better than others!
Once they hit that 30 day mark, or quite producing before, throw them out or wash them out. Do NOT hold onto fruit fly cultures past 30 days unless you LOVE mites and don't mind them infesting everything around them.
The warmer it is, the faster they will produce and the colder it is, the slower they will produce (to a point). If they get to 80 or above, they will cook. If they get to 65 or below, they will also die. Often times production delays or fruit fly crashes can be attributed to the changing of the seasons and the changing of temperatures in the room the flies are being produced in. The key to success is consistency. OPtimal culturing temperatures are 70-76F
One will generally feed 2 adult frogs or four froglets, but it is always best to have one or two extra in case of a fruit fly crash. It's always better to have more than less.
It's not necessarily mold! If you seeded with active yeast, that is actually the yeast you are seeing! It's harmless!
If it's not yeast and instead actually mold, you may not have boiled your water for your media, or you may not have added enough flies, or you may be using a poor quality of media, or you may just have gotten a particularly aggressive strain of mold. Generally these moldy cultures, or those with red cyanobacteria will not produce well. Whatever you do Not seed more cultures from those contaminated cultures!
If not using Houston Frogs media, it sometimes helps to add a bit of distilled vinegar to the culture to lower the pH, making the culture less friendly to mold. This will also hurt your production though and makes your culture more prone to drying out, so keep this in mind.
They are suffocating. Either something is stacked on top, it's too hot, or you're using those hole punched lids we all despise.
Currently there is not a cheaper, easier to culture feeder for frogs. However, there are many other supplemental feeders (See our other how to guides on those)
Because it has mites on it. You might want to clean those shelves, throw out any old cultures, and take a nice long hot shower. It's ok to scream a bit about this and curse the mites while in the shower.
Yes you can! This is actually a known issue with scientists who study drosophila!
From many of the businesses listed on www.dartfrogbusinesses.com
We no longer sell them due to shipping difficulties.
Likely bacterial contamination, or you didn't use hot water, or the flies were not added within 24 hours, or the culture got too hot (80F +) or a poor quality media was used.
Black Stubby Wing
MIdnight Black Mels
Mini Dwarf White