Pro Tips for Culturing Flies

Today’s post will feature 6 hobbyists/ breeders to showcase how they culture flies.  Also make sure to check out Part 1 on types of flies & Part 2 on culturing containers if you missed them!

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Keep in mind, everyone does it differently.  I may not agree with all of these ideas & perspectives, but it is cool to see how everyone does it!


Zac Herr

Hobbyist Zac Herr shares a bit about his homemade recipe for fruit fly culturing.  I have included this, because most of the other people I asked did not provide recipes.  This seems like a good & simple recipe for anyone who would like to start making their own media.

My media is a homemade mix that Nick Gamble taught me. It is 6 cups of potato flakes, 3 cups of brewers yeast, 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of methyl paraben and cinnamon.

Visit him at ZTH Photography


Lisa Ann Wolfe

Hobbyist Lisa Ann Wolfe gives us some insight into how she makes her new cultures & organizes them.

My FF Culturing is fairly simple, so here it goes.

I start by using Tincman Herps Media / Idris Brown and just follow directions to a exactly.

I make 8 Cultures at a time to feed my 62 frogs. I pour the Smoothie Media and Boiling water directly into each individual cup and stir till it is completely mixed. I leave it stand to cool on its own and come back to finish when it is room temperature. I add a Sprinkle of Yeast as suggested, I add 50-75 Melanogaster flies, and then place the Excelsior and place the vented lid. 

I then place my new Cultures in my Sterlite Tote with Vents on the top, so that they get air. Underneath the sealed lid, I place No See Um bug screening, to prevent any flies from escaping. I line the bottom with Mite paper and then sprinkle with Josh’s Frogs Bug Blade over top of that. I have had no issue at all with mite infestation. When I pour out my FF’s to feed daily, I do it over top of this tote, so any escapees fall to the bottom and are contained. I have tried several different brands of media, and I have found Tincman Herps Smoothie Media to produce huge larvae and to yield the highest amount of flies in the shortest amount of time. By day 11, my cultures are booming and ready to use.



 Eric Glab

Hobbyist Eric Glab gives us his take on how to raise fruit flies.

In order to be a successful dart frog keeper, you must learn the dark art of raising fruit flies. And any seasoned dart frog hobbyist will tell you they have their favorite homemade recipe or brand of media they think is best. I have tried various brands of fruit fly media, some have worked better than others, all have worked rather well. These include Tundra Exotics, Josh’s Frogs, Tincman Herps, Ed’s Flymeat, Genesis Exotics and Glassbox Tropicals. For me, I find Glassbox Tropicals to work a little better than the others, but that’s for me and that’s my personal experience. So why is it that some people try a brand of fruit fly media and have success, while others try the same brand and say it’s no good? I think it’s most likely the skill of the “frogger” in play. Usually it’s a newer frogger not being able to adapt from one brand or recipe to the next. Too often, a newer frogger will follow the recipe exactly as it states on the instructions. This may or may not work well, depending on the temperature and especially the humidity surrounding the cultures. One must learn to adapt by getting a “feel” of the consistency of the mixture. The time of year can also come into play. In the Summer, you may need to add a little less water, in the Winter, a little more. Mix your recipe and observe. Does it look too soupy? Add some more media and stir again. Does it look too dry? Add a little water and stir again. As a precaution, I store opened bags of media in the freezer. It keeps critters out and keeps the media fresh. Also consider that the number of flies you produce is not the only measurement of success. I have seen the flies I have raised on a media that had proper nutrients compared to one that didn’t have any. The difference of the size of the flies produced was easily apparent. Don’t buy or make the cheapest media you can, there is something to be said of the nutrients added to high quality mixes. Before adding my “seed” flies to the new culture, I like to dust them with a calcium or vitamin powder beforehand. This will reduce mites in the cultures, as the flies will clean any mites that may be piggybacking on them as they clean their bodies of the dust. Mites are the enemy of the fruit fly, as they will compete for the same food. How effective is dusting? I think it’s effective enough that one can take a mite ridden culture and use that to seed and produce a new healthier culture. I have done that myself. Before adding flies and excelsior (excelsior is used to provide more usable space for the flies and their pupae), I like to sprinkle a little bit of baker’s yeast on the culture, this aids in the reduction of possible harmful molds and bacteria. Finally, I store my cultures underneath a stand of one of my vivariums. This gives me a more consistent ambient humidity throughout the year. At the bottom of my enclosure is a shallow aluminum pan with 1/16th of an inch of diatomaceous earth (DE). The DE serves to block any mites from outside of the cultures to getting in. Mites cannot cross DE. On top of the DE I place one half of a petri dish and then place my culture on this “island” which is surrounded by DE. This way, I don’t get the DE on the bottom of the fly cups and risk getting DE in my vivariums. DE is not good for frogs either.

Paul Pruitt

Hobbyist Paul Pruitt shares how he cultures his fruit flies.

I clean and wash all cups and lids using Dawn dish soap and bleach. 10% bleach and 90% water. I use Repashy Superfly for fly media. I follow the directions for hot water. I microwave RO water. I then mix the media and water accordingly. I then place the cultures in the refrigerator to cool quicker. As they are cooling, I use excelsior and roll into a tennis ball size. I then microwave the excelsior to ensure any mites that may be wondering will be destroyed. After the media has cooled, I place the excelsior in each cup. I then add about 50 fruit flies into the cups quickly covering with vented lids. I use blue tape to date the cups. I then place the new flies on eggcrate that I’ve cut into squares to fit each individual cup. In a large sterilite tub I place DE (Diatomaceous Earth) in the bottom. About 1″ or so. I then place the eggcrate squares on the DE as so the cups cannot contact each other in any way. This ensures the mites cannot travel from one cup to another in the event you unfortunately get mites somehow. After this I place all new cultures on the squares. I keep a T8 utility light above my flies. This keeps the larve from crawling towards the upper 1/3rd of the culture. The light is on 24 hrs a day. With having the larve stay towards the bottom 2/3rds of the culture, it makes it much easier to pour the flies out when needed. Although the light is and has been controversial it indeed does work and has worked for me for a long time and I hope it works for you as well. I’ve kept and bred 20 species of dart frogs for 4 yrs now. I’m no expert, only a novice hobbyist that loves my passion for plants and frogs. I enjoy helping others and passing on my views and experiences I’ve had in the hobby that’s worked for me. Ive learned a lot from other hobbyists and like to pass what I’ve learned from them as well.


John Mederski

John Mederski shares his opinion on different medias along with his favorites.

I have been rotating using other breeders medias. So far I have only been using universal media that are the same for both melano and hydei. No media has completely outshown any other brand and the things that i base this on are: price, ingredients, smell, production rate, production quality, ease of preparation. Repashy has had the best melano/turkish production although it had terrible hydei production and it smelled delicious all the way through.  

From worst to best….. not counting repashy which i like the best so far….

NEHERP has had the poorest production for all species and smelled terrible

Joshs frogs uses lids that dont attach well and if its warmer out allow less ventilation causing the larva to force their way to the top and in some cases out the holes. they use a very powdery media that does not mix well and in my experience the media gets liquidy quick

Genesis Exotics – i had high hopes for this as ive had lots of dealing with josh and hes a small guy like me plus he had shaun harringtons endorsement. BUT the production just wasnt there. im giving it a new shot right now and ive added alot more media than i normally do so it seems to be doing better but not as good as the repashy

Frognerd ( michael john) – ive only tried a couple cultures of his media but so far im very impressed.there was massive amounts of flies in a relatively short time.but as ive said ive ony tried a couple from him cause he just gave me a small amount to sample.

As of right now id recommend repashy or frog nerd. I have a couple more to try including leaf litter ( james smith) and tincman ( idris brown) im very excited to ry both of them tincman is by far the most expensive that ive encountered as he uses all organic materials and mixes small batches of his media by hand. Ive been to james smiths house on multiple occasions and his cultures are always booming plus with the amount of frogs he was producing hed have to have an insane production rate on his flies.


 Lindsay Sudol-Shore

Lindsay Sudol-Shore shares Shore Thing Exotics schedule & fruit fly culturing

Our feeding schedule for the dart frogs is fairly strait forward. We use both D. melanogaster and D hydei fruit flies. We have been getting the starter cultures from (was Ed’s Fly Meat) for years now. We use both their culture media and flies. More recently, we have been purchasing from Josh’s Frogs and using both their cultures and media. We have had great luck with both and use two just as a precaution. We have never had any issues with either, but when flies crash, fast reactions are a must. 

We are making about 12 melanogaster and 3 hydei cultures twice a week and have them in rotation to attempt to always have producing cultures. We have used both established and new purchased cultures as starters. It depends on the age and condition of what is in house which we use.

Visit Shore Thing Exotics at their facebook page : Shore Thing Exotics Facebook Page


 Media Preferences

I have totaled all of the experts who I have surveyed for part 4 and here are the results for most used medias: (Click on the Names for link to media)

Repashy Super Fly-23% of surveyed people

Make Own Media -19% of surveyed people

Josh’s -15% of surveyed people

Glass Box Tropicals-11.5% of surveyed people

NE Herp / Tincman Herps – 8% of surveyed people each

Tundra Exotics/ Black Jungle & Saurian & Joshs + Repashy combined – 4% each


Part 4 – 26 Experts Share Supplementation Routine

Learn more about these hobbyists/ breeders and many more next Friday!  I have saved the best for last!  26 experts share their supplementing routine complete with what supplements and how often.

Cover image from Wikipedia commons – modified to include text

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3 thoughts on “Pro Tips for Culturing Flies

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