Fly Care Instructions
Fruit Fly & NEHERP Fly Media Care

Everything you need to know to build great fly cultures using our NEHERP Fly Media!

 
Culturing flies yourself can cost as little as $1.44 per culture with one of our fly breeding kits, which makes this feeder insect one of the least expensive & easiest feeders in the hobby today. This guide will help explain exactly how to build great fly cultures, and offer a few tips & tricks for maximizing production as well. For those new to feeder fly culturing, it's an easy practice that can drastically lower the expense of feeding exotic pets. There are two common species of fruit flies in the hobby, each with two different types available. Choosing which fly to start with will depend on the species of animal being fed, as well as your own personal preferences. If you are new to culturing flies, we recommend starting with either type of Melanogaster, since they are a little more forgiving than the Hydei we carry. Below, we'll describe the differences between each fly in detail.
 
 
 

Melanogaster

Drosophila melanogaster 'Wingless'
Drosophila melanogaster
Size:
2.5-3mm (Smallest)
 
Production Rate:
2'nd Fastest (4-6 days to visible larvae)
 
Production Volume:
Thousands of flies produced
 
Difficulty:
Easy
 
Other Info:
An excellent starter feeder fly. This wingless variety produces very quickly & reliably. These are the 1'st flies we commercially bred & sold here at NEHERP, and what we designed our 1'st media around.
 

Turkish Glider

D. melanogaster 'Turkish Glider'
Drosophila melanogaster 'Turkish Glider'
Size:
2.5-3mm
 
Production Rate:
1'st Fastest (3-6 days to visible larvae)
 
Production Volume:
Thousands of flies produced
 
Difficulty:
Easy
 
Other Info:
Arguably produces slightly faster than standard D. melanogaster. While these flies can't fly upward, they can glide, which keeps the hunt more exciting for your pets.
 

Hydei

Drosophila hydei
Drosophila hydei
Size:
3.5-4mm
 
Production Rate:
4'th Fastest (8-12 days to visible larvae)
 
Production Volume:
Hundreds of flies produced
 
Difficulty:
Average
 
Other Info:
Great for species requiring slightly larger prey, with flies about the size of pinhead crickets. Keep below 80F to prevent mutation into flying flies. The most popular species of fly.
 

Golden Hydei

Drosophila hydei 'Golden'
Drosophila hydei 'Golden'
Size:
3.5-4mm (Largest)
 
Production Rate:
3'rd Fastest (7-11 days to visible larvae)
 
Production Volume:
Hundreds of flies produced
 
Difficulty:
Average
 
Other Info:
Great for species requiring slightly larger prey, with flies about the size of pinhead crickets. Ever-so-slightly larger & faster producing than black D. hydei.
 
 
Fruit Fly Production Schedule Chart
 
Drosophila Melanogaster Production Schedule
Melanogaster flies will usually show larvae within 4-6 days, and begin producing around the 11-13 day mark. Cultures usually produce for 2+ weeks longer, but we suggest discarding cultures at around the 1-month mark. (We explain why in the next section down!)
 
Drosophila Hydei Production Schedule
Hydei flies will begin to show larvae around 8-12 days, and begin to produce around day 20-22. Cultures produce for an average 3 weeks longer, but we suggest either discarding them at the 1-month mark, or at the very least storing them away from your freshly started cultures.
 

What You'll Need:

• Fruit Flies
• Fruit Fly Media
• 32oz Deli Cup(s)
• Vented Fabric Lid(s)
• Excelsior
• Hot Water
• White Vinegar (Recommended)
• Baker's Yeast (Free w/Media)
 

Instructions

1) Add 1/4 cup hot (not boiling) water to empty 32oz deli cup
2) Add 1/3 level cup NEHERP Fly Media
3) Wait 30 seconds for water to absorb
4) Shake 'till remaining dry media is level
5) Evenly pour 1/4 cup hot water over remaining media
5a) If necessary, use a spray bottle to moisten remaining dry spots
5b) Add a splash of vinegar for best results
6) Sprinkle baker's yeast (10-15 grains) on top of the media
7) Add flies (40-100) and quickly cap the lid... Quickly! :-)
Fruit Fly Production Schedule Chart
 
Drosophila Melanogaster Production Schedule
Melanogaster flies will usually show larvae within 4-6 days, and begin producing around the 11-13 day mark. Cultures usually produce for 2+ weeks longer, but we suggest discarding cultures at around the 1-month mark. (We explain why in the next section down!)
 
Drosophila Hydei Production Schedule
Hydei flies will begin to show larvae around 8-12 days, and begin to produce around day 20-22. Cultures produce for an average 3 weeks longer, but we suggest either discarding them at the 1-month mark, or at the very least storing them away from your freshly started cultures.
 

Tips & Tricks for Great Fly Cultures

Between the above article & the below tips, you'll be a fly-breeding expert in no time.
• Follow the above instructions as closely as possible for the best result.
 
• Never mix or stir our media. Unmixed cultures built using the above instructions will out-produce and outlast cultures that are mixed/stirred.
 
• For best results, don't skip the vinegar, don't skip the yeast, and don't use boiling water when making cultures.
 
• Try to maintain temperatures of around 69-77F where you store fly cultures. Humidity should be at least 60%, with 70% being ideal for production.
 
• Be sure to fully saturate the media during step 3 above. Failure to do so will marginally slow the rate of production.
 
• Avoid starting cultures from the first flies to emerge from a culture, as doing so selectively breeds flies for unwanted (fast breeding, shorter life) traits.
 
• When flies begin to hatch out, try not to begin pulling from the culture for 3-5 days if possible. This extra time allows the flies to breed and add more eggs into the media, for longer culture life. Flies can breed at about 48 hours old, so allowing the time before pulling can add thousands of eggs to a culture and increase it's longevity considerably.
 
• Don't let the culture get too crowded! If there are lots and lots of flies in your culture, we suggest pulling from it. Even if you don't need the flies right now, just throw them in a temporary container (or start new cultures) until they are needed. An overly crowded culture can crash out pretty quickly.
 
• Mites! If you are breeding flies, you may have read about (or seen 1'st person) mites on fly cultures. These types of mites are non-parasitic, and are not a danger to your Reptile or Amphibian. While they aren't a safety concern (feeding animals with "mite'd" cultures is safe), they do greatly shorten the longevity of a fly culture, which is why we take serious measures to prevent mites in our NEHERP Fly Cultures. Mites can be avoided by discarding cultures over 30 days old, keeping the area where they are kept very clean, and by using mite-sprayed paper towels and/or mite paper underneath your cultures as a preventative measure. Keeping cultures for the full lifespan is possible, but we suggest keeping cultures over 30 days old far from all fresh cultures to prevent mite cross-contamination. Also, never start new cultures from old cultures that contain mites. Most importantly: Buy your cultures from a reputable shop, so they won't arrive with mites to begin with!
 
• Keep cultures in ambient lighting, when possible. Darkness combined with high humidity can create moldy cultures, and will negatively affect production rates. Direct sunlight should also be avoided, as it too slows production. Normal, ambient room lighting is best.
 
• If your culture looks a bit too dry (common in summer months) adding water is a good practice; just make sure not to drown too many flies in the process!
 
Thanks for choosing NEHERP as your feeder info source & supplier! :-) If you have any questions at all about the info in this article, don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to help!