Sounds ominous doesn't it? I suppose it is for these little guys...
I'm gonna show you how to hatch the pupae and feed your mantids, chameleons or other fly munching critters, I'm sure you could use this technique to even feed your fly traps and other CPs if they don't get access to real flies. Without further ado, let's get on with the killing!
This is what an order of 500 Blue bottle Fly pupae looks like. They are sent in aspen bedding and are cleaned so are safe to handle but I just shake some into a 32 oz bug cup. Always wash your hands if you do touch them just because.
Keep the pupae in the warmest part of the refrigerator, too cold and they won't last too long too warm and they hatch (not likely in the fridge) but if you can get the temps to 40-45*F they will last a good long time. Mine sit next to a cardboard box full of seeds and spores of various plants so they're sheltered from any direct blasts of cold air. People who's fridges are 32*F get only a couple weeks with their pupae I've had pupae last a month before they quit hatching.
I hatch my flies in the terrarium supply shelf it's made from large drop-front shoebox bins from The Container Store. They just fit the big bug cups perfectly and I can see exactly what's in each bin. I hatch two jars at a time and alternate so the flies get a day to rest up between feedings, also ensures whichever flies are gonna hatch will before I dump the cups of empty pupae.
This shot is just so people know the difference in size between blue bottles (L) and large size heydei fruit flies (R). You can't raise most mantids on fruit flies forever, only until they are through their first molt or so.
How do you get the buzzing flies into the mantid vivariums without the flies all over the house? 5 minutes in the freezer!
"Ding!" They are all stunned and unmoving at the bottom of the hatching bin ready to be fed out to the mantids.
Using the tongs drop one or more flies in each vivarium, within 5 minutes of leaving the freezer they will wake up and start buzzing around again. You do have to be fast in feeding them out if you have a large collection to get everyone fed before the flies wake up. If they do get out just use a clean empty fly cup and trap them with it and cap the end.
And the just deserts for all the effort
I buy fly pupae from here: mantisplace.com
I prefer the Blue Bottle Flies because they are a bigger meal and have a far better hatch rate compared to the smaller houseflies. Infact I've never been satisfied with the hatch rate of houseflies.
You may have noticed the colored soda bottle caps in the fly cups, these contain a pinch of fly chow to power up the flies before the mantids get them.
My flies get a dry mix of 25% powered milk, 25% powdered sugar, 25% powedred Bee Pollen and 25% Honey Powder, these last two are to simulate flower pollen that flower and leaf mantids would be getting from their flying prey in the wild. Some people dust the flies in the stuff but if they eat it they will have the vitamins. You get the last two ingredients at the health food store.
Happy fly hatching!
Note that certain mantids like the common Chinese garden mantis and other more ground dwelling species will readily accept crickets and roaches but the small arboreal mantids I own (Ghosts and Spiny Flowers) do best on flies and moths almost exclusively since they live almost their entire lives upside down from the ceiling of their vivariums so the food needs to go to them up there. When they do come down to a twig or plant or even the ground it's photo time because it's like seeing bigfoot. I have had them eat small crickets but sometimes they will just watch them for days on end until I remove the crickets and give them flies.