Fruit Fly Care

In this short tutorial, we will describe how to make fruit fly cultures.

 

Drosophila melanogaster

Kingdom:Animalia

Phylum:Arthropoda

Class:Insecta

Order:Diptera

Family:Drosophilidae

Genus:Drosophila

Species: melanogaster

 

Drosophila hydei

Kingdom:Animalia

Phylum:Arthropoda

Class:Insecta

Order:Diptera

Family:Drosophilidae

Genus:Drosophila

Species: hydei

 

Materials

You will need several materials to make fruit fly cultures. There are many premade fruit fly mediums available, including our FrogDaddy media!

However, if you wish to make your own, you will need a few more supplies.

 

*Please note that the formula FrogDaddy uses is not described below.*

 

The preferred storage containers for fruit fly cultures are 32 oz vented deli cups. You can find this item in our feeder supplies section.

I recommend having double of what your frogs need so that you can consistently cycle the flies.

 

To make fruit fly cultures you will need:

 

Instantized / mashed potatoes or potato flour.

Methyl paraben / mold inhibitor

Baker’s yeast

Quick Oats (optional)

Confectioner's sugar (optional)

Brewer’s yeast (optional)

Cinnamon (optional)

Vitamin mixture (optional)

Vinegar powder (optional)

Rice powder (optional)

Corn Starch (optional)

Coconut flour (optional)

Almonds / almond flour (optional)

Banana / dehydrated banana (optional)

Mango / tropical fruits (optional)

 

Or

 

Pre-made mix (FrogDaddy Fruit Fly Media)

Mashed potatoes (to dilute – save money) - we do not recommend this, but it will work.

 

Procedure

Add 1/3 cup to 1/2* (*preferred if using our media) or boiling water (if not using our media) or cold water (if using our media) to 1/3 cup of media (we usually do 1/3 cup media to 1/2 cup water, but you may need to add less water) and stir. FrogDaddy media is specifically formulated to solidify, and binds together quickly for a very strong hold, even when a large amount of water is used. You want the consistency of thin, watery oatmeal at first. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. The mix should solidly to a thick oatmeal. If still watery, make next cultures using 1/3 cup water instead of 1/2 cup. Play around with what works best for you.

Now, push the media down the sides of the cup, if necessary (stirred up the sides from stirring). Compact the media the best you can. Add wood excelsior up to 3/4 up the cup, or 4 to 5 coffee filters. Wood excelsior can be found in our feeder supplies section. You cannot use coffee filters with our media. Our media is designed to be used with wood excelsior.

 

Add a generous helping of flies to a 32 oz deli cup with a vitamin powder in it. Swish the flies around. They will dust off the mites, and the mites will fall to the bottom of the fly pile. After swishing the flies around, add about 25-75 into a new culture by gently tapping on the side of the 32 oz deli cup with the flies and vitamin powder in it. Do this on a paper towel to prevent escapees. Overloading the culture with more than 100 flies can cause crashes. 

Close the lid, and you’re done! Congratulations! You just made your first culture!

 

Cycling

 Fruit flies have a generation cycle of about 7-21 days. This means that, at 82 degrees, you can get the next generation of flies within 7 to 8 days of seeding with reproductively active flies. Most of the time, however, a full cycle takes between 12-16 days at 73-77 degrees.

 

You need to make cultures every seven days to prevent you from sudden losses, mite explosions (described below), and large appetites!

 

Depleted Cultures

Once your cultures are approximately 28 days old, have stopped producing, or are developing even a few mites, it’s time to get rid of the culture. I recommend reusing the culture cup (eco-friendly!). There are a few methods to this. You can stick the culture in the freezer for 1 day and dump the frozen contents, or you can dump expended media into a small trash bag, and put soap into the cup and run scalding-hot water for two minutes. Then, take your hand and wash the cup. If this grosses you out, you can always use gloves, or run a dishwasher at low temperature. You will want to remove all pupa carcasses from the sides of the cup, and make sure no mites are left behind. Then, go to procedure to make a new culture.

Or

Throw away culture and start with a fresh one. This is far costlier (approximately 45 cents each time if you don’t order in bulk). We highly recommend washing a few.

 

Potential Issues / Mites

Mite infestations are quite common with older cultures. Please reuse or throw away cultures after 28-34 days. If you start to see mites before this time, use as many flies as you can (to feed out, NOT to make another culture), and toss it. The best way to prevent mite explosions is to stop them early.

To prevent mites, you will want to store fruit fly media in the freezer. All items that go into your media should be frozen (this includes excelsior and coffee filters). Culture cups can also be stored in the freezer. Keep cultures with any level of mites in a different room than new cultures. 

*IMPORTANT* - When making new cultures, swirl flies around in calcium / vitamin powder and use the top 20% to seed new cultures. Mites will usually fall to the bottom of the container as the powder acts like a bird bath for the fruit flies. This will reduce mite transmission. 

If you do encounter mites, but do not have enough flies from a “cleaner” culture to make more cultures, please DO NOT use the heavily infested culture to make more cultures, despite the amount of flies present. Order more flies from a reputable source or contact FrogDaddy.

Fly cultures rarely dry out, but if you did not use enough water when making them, they can begin to dry out after the first week. Simply add a tablespoon of water to the culture and swirl it around a few times to evenly soak. You do not want to add too much water or you will drown developing maggots.

Fly cultures may become excessively runny, making it difficult to get flies out and especially mixing the flies with supplementation powders (coagulates powder). Overly runny cultures are probably best to be tossed (or reused after rinsing process), however, you may be able to add some potato flour to the top and let sit.