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Culturing Fruit Flies

Flightless fruit flies are extremely easy to culture at home and are ideal for feeding smaller reptile, amphibians, arachnids, and other insects. Many petstores and specialty shops carry them. They can even be purchased online.

Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila hydei are the two most common species of fruit flies that can be obtained. Of the two, Drosophila hydei is the larger species reaching 1/8" whereas Drosophila melanogaster reaches 1/16".

Culturing these flies at home for feeding can be easily accomplished by following the guideline outline below.

Housing Fruit Flies

Housing fruit flies is not complicated. The container you use should be fairly large and escape proof. Mayonnaise jars, mason jars, and deli containers all make good choices.

In order to provide ventilation to the container, you will need to create custom covers or purchase the containers prefabricated online. Paper towel or a coffee filter placed over the top and secured with an elastic, or in the case of the mason jar; the lid ring, will work. You can also purchase extremely fine mesh from hobby shops.

You want to clean the containers you use thoroughly. You don't want any bacteria to be in the container to destroy your culture.

Feeding Fruit Flies

Feeding fruit flies can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. You can purchase fruit fly food online, offer rotting fruit, or create your own food mixture. If you will be culturing flies regularly, creating your own food mixture will be your best option.

Ingredients
  • Water
  • 4 part Instant Potato Flakes
  • 2 Powdered Milk
  • 1 Sugar
  • Bakers Yeast
Mix the Instant potatoes, powdered milk, and sugar together with an equal amount of water. Once thoroughly mixed, sprinkle bakers years over the top and lightly mix that in. Let this set for a few minutes. It will thicken some as the potatoes absorb the water.

Now take the medium you have just created and cover the bottom of the enclosure with it. It should still be somewhat wet. That is normal.

Fruit Fly Egg Laying

In order for the maggots to pupate, they will need a way to get out of the substrate. Popsicle sticks, cardboard, aluminum window screening, etc. can all be used. Simply stick them into the substrate for the flies and maggots to use. The more egg laying sites you add, the more eggs will be deposited.



Fruit Fly Temperatures

Most household temperatures are adequate for culturing fruit flies without providing additional heat. Just make sure that the temperature fall between 70° F and 85° F.

Fruit Fly Maintenance

You should be starting new cultures weekly. This will ensure you have a steady supply of flies. A culture should last no longer than 6 weeks. At this point in time, you should discard the culture. If mold is noticeable before the culture reaches 6 weeks of age, discard it.

Fruit Fly Feeding

When offering fruit flies to your pet, make sure you only open the container enough to get the flies out. Even though you are using flightless flies, these little things are quick and will escape at the first opportunity.

Culturing fruit flies is easy and will provide your pet with a nutritional meal. Remember to keep several colonies going at one time to ensure you always have flies available for feeding!

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