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Thread: The Fly Ritual

  1. #1
    swords's Avatar
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    The Fly Ritual

    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.
    Last edited by swords; 07-11-2010 at 05:41 PM.

  2. #2
    larry's Avatar
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    These bluebottles are great, but so hard to get. Not enough places sell these, price is good, but shipping kills the deal. I tried breeding them, I got maggots, but they had no interest in the rotting cat food I gave them.
    larry
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    swords's Avatar
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    I only buy them from Rebbeca (mantis place), I know Grubco sells them too but IIRC you have to buy a lot from them and I don't need more than 500 a month. Shipping sucks but what can ya do - mine won't eat crickets reliably.

    Did you use moistened ground dry cat food with aspen chips in it? That's the tech I was going to try for breeding my own BB outside - during summer at least.

    I wish there was an easy small moth species to culture - they seem to love the moths I get for them by chance.

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    larry's Avatar
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    I only need 100 BBs, I bought them from a local mantid keeper, but he's currently out and there was a problem with his latest shipment, so I'm waiting and waiting. I've decided to go with roaches. I'm currently breeding crickets, but they stink! Roaches are so much better.

    If you want moths, you can buy the waxworms and let them turn into moths, super easy to breed too. I'd breed them, but moths have big hairy wings, I don't like seeing discarded wings allover the enclosure. lol
    larry
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  5. #5
    swords's Avatar
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    What do the wax worms eat? Will they pupate in the little tubs they sell at the pet shop? I have two net butterfly cages so I could try getting them to moth stage in one. I'd much rather breed the moths indoors than the flies.

    I don't like seeing discarded wings allover the enclosure.
    True, but the simple answer is Tongs!

    I love my long tongs for feeding, planting and all kinds of vivarium maintenance/picking up after the mantids. I always have my tongs in hand when I tend to the tanks and the critters seem to be less freaked out by them the more they are exposed to them and will even take food from them on occasion.

    What kind of roaches do you use? The dubias are very inactive once dropped into a new cage away from their friends in the colony they seem to freeze up first and then hide and stay hidden. The Madagascar Hissers are of course too enormous for my little mantids and move even less than the dubias! LOL

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    larry's Avatar
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    I think waxworms eat a mix of oatmeal and honey and you need to put some wax paper in there too. In the youtube videos, I see people using all sorts of containers, I imagine the standard 32oz cups would work.

    I just bought 150 Blaberus discoidalis. They are more meaty than dubias, require less heat and humidity. They also look pretty cool. I didn't want to get roaches that look too much like the common black house roach, those freak me out.
    larry
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    Save a tree, legalize cannabis.
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    swords's Avatar
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    Well, thanks to your tip on the moths I've got my wax worms in a 32oz bug cup with a couple wadded up pieces of wax paper. From what I gather reading about breeding them online I can just use the bedding they came with to grow this batch of worms on to hatch them into moths but I will need to mix up the cereal & honey for the resultant eggs the moths will lay on the wax paper. That's cool cos I'll be able to test this out without a mountain of new supplies, I can spare a bug cup!

    I hope these moths don't come out too big. I found "lesser wax moth" larvae for sale online which produces smaller moths for smaller critters. I may spring the $15 for a starter culture of them just to see how much lesser they really are.

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    Woah, that is...very gross. AWESOME!!!
    -just burned your snow

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