When I made my weekly round of fruit fly cultures last week, I ran out of coffee filters. Rather than running to the store, I improvised and used 2 paper plates in each culture. They were cut in half, and folded. I checked on my cultures today, and was astonished to see how many maggots were in this culture! There were about twice as many maggots clinging to the sides in the 'paper plate' cultures as in the 'coffee filter' cultures that I made about one week prior! It also had more pupa than I have ever observed in a one-week-old culture. It has been years since I used excelsior, so I can't comment on how that compares (although I remember having more flies when I used excelsior as compared to coffee filters--but I also had fewer hungry frogs).
Feel free to try this tip. Let me know how it works for you. I buy my media from Josh's.
I dont know if anyone has done this but i have a paper shredder and i use shredded paper instead of excelsior. its usually going to go in the recycle so i decided to use it. some of the paper that touches the media gets wet and shrinks but overall it has given me good results
I have been using plastic grocery bags. Strech them outh the long way, scrunched up to 2" dia. tube, cut the end off and cut 2-3" lengths. Put a couple of lengths standing up in the culture. This leavs many pleats for a massive surface area. Does not slump into the culture when covered by pupa.
Yup. I've stopped buying excelsior for a while now. I've been using anything from cardboard, to coffee filters, to toilet paper rolls... I can't believe I havent thought of paper plates... they are next as soon as I run out of the other stuff.