Fruit flies are a popular food for predatory insects, amphibians, and even fish. They are one of the easiest and most inexpensive foods for your animals. These wingless flies vary in size and are used depending upon the size of the predator.
Most often Drosophila hydei and Drosophila melanogaster are the species of wingless fruit flies used. As with any other foods, a wide and varied diet is necessary for general health and well-being. Fruit fly cultures help you do that easily.
Good food is one of the most important influencers of physical growth. And just like us, you would like to feed your fish, insects, and frogs with the best feed for staying healthy. Your fish and amphibians need to eat fresh healthy food to stay healthy.
Day 1: Eggs will hatch
Day 2: First instar (lasts one day)
Day 3: Second instar (lasts one day)
Day 5: Third and last instar (lasts for two days)
Day 7: Larvae become active. Pupariation (pupal stage) occurs 120 hours after egg laying
Day 11-12: Eclosion (adults emerge from the pupa case). Females become sexually mature 8-10 hours after eclosion
You would not like to feed your pets with flies that just come into the culture! Good news comes your way though, you can buy starter cultures of wingless fruit flies. Now you can grow your own fruit fly culture from a starter for your fish and amphibians without any hassle as they are easy to be produced and cared for.
Fruit Fly Culture Production and Care
Fruit flies are one of the easiest feeder insects for reptiles, amphibians, and fish that you could grow yourself. They tend to produce by themselves with little care if provided with the correct environment and a few other dietary related requirements.
Growing fruit fly culture is not that tough of a job, but it can seem to be daunting for newbies because you might think the process to be dirty, smelly, or messy. If done properly it’s very easy, relatively clean, and a quick way to get the healthiest most convenient fresh food for your pet.
Production of Wingless Fruit Flies
The market is full of vendors providing fruit fly culture kits that can be used for producing healthy feeding insects for your pet. You can also make your own fruit fly culture at ease in your home without spending much money. The point to remember is that you use the right recipe and provide the right environment for them to grow.
Storage: Store fruit fly cultures in a sealable plastic container.
Humidity: The culture needs to be kept humid. Storage bins help keep it moist.
Temperature: It should be kept in between 70 to 80 degrees.
Mold: Keep it away from heat/air conditioner vents to prevent it from drying up and creating mold on the top.
Mites: Mites are pests. If you have problems with mites place the culture on a paper towel sprayed with mite killer.
For a healthy culture, you need to put in the right things with the right conditions. Fruit flies feed on decayed fruits, vegetable, and other similar plant materials. With fruit fly culture we want to make use of active yeast that will outperform the harmful molds and help grow a clean fruit fly culture.
The recipe for creating fruit fly culture is just as easy as making some food for yourself. You just need to add the right ingredient in the right quantity and you are done. Powdered or confectioner’s sugar is a must-have ingredient in creating a fruit fly culture. Secondly, your fruit fly culture will need yeast to help combat mold and fungus. Oatmeal, dried mashed potato flakes, flax seeds, and fruit make up the bulk of the other ingredients that can be used.
Fruit juices have also seen to be an effective ingredient in creating a healthy culture. Various fruit juice like apple, orange, grape etc. can be part of your recipe. Applesauce and brewer’s yeast are also a very common ingredient in making fruit fly culture.
If you are using a vinegar based recipe, make sure you mix in water or other juice at an 80% vinegar to 20% water ratio for best results. Depending on the recipe you use you can use apple vinegar or white vinegar in your culture. There are fruit fly culture recipes that also do not use vinegar if you don’t have it or don’t wish to use it.
Five cultures a week will provide plenty of fruit fly cultures for your pets. Grind up all the dry ingredients in a food processor to make an even consistency. Boil two cups of water to add to your fruit fly culture mix and put in some fruit along with the dry ingredients. Stir the wingless fruit fly culture to get an even paste. Portion out evenly to your five deli cups and put in just a pinch of yeast.
Mature fruit flies will need something to land on in the culture. Yeast makes the surface of the media liquid and your adult fruit flies will drown. Paper strips from a paper shredder will work but plastic or excelsior wood doesn’t tend to collapse like paper does when it gets wet. Now your fruit fly culture has something for adults to stay safe on.
Starting a New Wingless Fruit Fly Culture With an Old Culture
32-ounce deli containers with snap on lids are perfect for fruit fly cultures. Make sure the lids are vented so the fruitflies have air. Poke or cut several small holes in the lid and cover the holes with square bandages used for shaving nicks.
Take your fruit fly culture starter and tap the container on the table to settle the flies. Work them to one corner of the cup and carefully put 10 to 15 fruit flies into each new container. The new adults eat the media and lay eggs. Soon the fruit fly culture will become inoculated with fruit fly eggs that turn into larvae. The larvae can also be used as food for fish and other pets in some circumstances.
In about 2 weeks your new culture will develop into flies depending on whether they are the larger Drosophila melanogaster or sooner for the smaller Drosophila hydei.
Media in the containers will dry out in about 2 weeks and your culture will be near the end of its useful time as the food in the fruit fly culture has been consumed. To keep adult flies around longer you can extend keeping time by adding in pieces of moist fruit for the adults to eat.
Using Your Wingless Fruit Fly Cultures
When you need your fruit fly culture for feeding simply tap the adult fruit flies into an empty container. Use an empty container to avoid dropping paper or clumps of media into your enclosure or aquarium.
Your fruit fly cultures will eventually begin to dry out and all the food will be used up. It’s time then to start with a new batch of media and replace your fruit fly cultures to keep them going. This can go on as long as you want. Adjust the number of cups to fit your needs by making more cultures or making fewer cultures. It is very easy to keep the right amount of cultures on hand and running.
So, go on and make a great healthy fruit fly culture for your pet and feed them the most healthy and inexpensive feed, which can last indefinitely if kept and managed properly. It’s convenient, easy, and a favorite of many insects, fish, and frogs.
by Virat Sharma