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I have had dart frogs for a year now and enjoy them very much. The problem that I have is keeping food. With the bipolar weather here in Louisiana, it is extremely difficult keeping fruit fly cultures from crashing. One day it is 80 degrees and humid, the next day it is 30 degrees and no humidity. I have never lost a frog and they are very healthy but my luck with cultures is not very good.

I have ordered from several online sources. Most sources I have dealt with are not dependable. You order and it may be 10 days before they ship or they email back saying they are sold out. The sources that do actually ship in reasonable amount of time seem to arrive with 1/2 of the cultures dead. When you pay $60.00 for 6 cultures with shipping and only 2 are alive, it gets a bit expensive.

Unfortunately, when I order, I am usually out of food or almost out and in need of receiving it within a few days. There are no retail suppliers in my area or within a 3 hour drive one way.

Can anyone refer me to a dependable supplier?
Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Also look at petco because ed's fly meat sells fruit flys and if you talk to the people you can find out when the order comes in so you can make sure you get good cultures.....All that said i would make my own (as i do). The crash of your culture is probably your mix more then the temps outside. In low humidity days just mist the culture or try putting them in a drawer or something to keep them moist.
 

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Hi! I also live in Louisiana (for now), but I know that there are fruit fly suppliers in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, and Shreveport (all of the largest cities and scattered throughout the state). I have have had to buy from a pet store when in a pinch, but it is definitely easier to make your own ff cultures--and A LOT cheaper. I got my culture kit from Josh's, but there are plenty of places online from where you can order the kits.
 

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You definitely should try making your own.

"flightless" melanogasters or "turkish gliders" are really easy to raise, produce like crazy, and are less prone to crashes so would be a good one to start with if you are unsure.

hydei and "wingless" melanogaster are less productive and slightly more difficult to culture but not by much....especially if you can raise the "flightless melos.

Keeping a couple of types in culture helps to make sure you have a backup always available.

Not having to pay for shipping / not having to have cultures shipped will also cut down on costs, etc.
 

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I'd recommend a few things:

1) Figure out ways to more consistently produce your own flies (more on that below).
2) See/call your local Petcos and see if they carry FFs in the jars (not the vials). Over 1000 across the country are carrying them now and one may be near you. There are two brands - Timberline does Flightless Melanogaster and The Fruit Fly Company that does Wingless Melanogaster. They are in the reptile section near the mealworms. I have a list of the local stores that carry them and which brand/kind they carry. I don't know if other pet stores carry them consistantly, but some local mom and pop places might - it's worth adding to your list if they do. I know of 6 within an hour of me, but I'm also in a large city.
3) Have a list of vendors you are willing to buy from in emergencies. If my flies crash and none of the local pet stores have flies, I have a list of vendors I will call starting with my favorite vendor (who often doesn't have ready to go flies due to volume of repeat business, but I try them first), and work my way down to flies I will only get because my frogs are hungry. I stick only with vendors that will fix things if the order is screwed up in some way. I don't do online ordering in these emergencies, I talk to a person on the phone or I'm onto the next vendor.
4) Always keep lazy secondary food sources. I bowl train my critters so they will clean a dish of RFB larvae, so when I crash my cultures AGAIN then they will have something to eat. I also keep springtails going, and bean beetles can help if they are booming at the right time. It depends on your frogs on what is best, but your "treat" critter may end up floating you until your cultures are back!


The environmental issues that are causing your FF culture failures are best negated by culturing your flies in a more closed system so that the environment doesn't influence them as much - a closet, a set of plastic drawers, etc. Some have converted wardrobes basically into large FF incubators with heaters and fans as needed even! Some of the plastic rubbermaid drawers people have used help a lot with the changes in humidity, and adding some heat mats and a thermostat can help with the chilly nights. They just need the same buffer your frogs are getting.

Also I've played with a variety of different containers over the years to culture in. I don't use the cheap plastic ones with paper tops because they dried out WAY to easily on me when the humidity dropped during the winter, and the heavier containers from Fly Meat worked better due to the smaller opening with the Foam plug reducing the humidity escaping. That change plus putting them in a rubbermaid container with a heat mat and I was set even with temps in the 50s and humidity below 25% - they had their own little incubator LOL.
 

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I agree with Kero that fly cultures do better in an enclosed system. It doesn't have to be anything expensive, but something large enough to give them the air they need and provide a buffer to the household environment. A cheap 20-30 gallon storage bin such as you can get from Home Depot will even out the variations in humidity and temperature.

Keep trying, and once you figure out what works for you, stick with it.

Mark C.
 
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