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Hi all! I am about to start culturing temperate springtails and melanogaster FFs

Questions:

Can I really use plain old coffee filters on mason jars for the ff's?

Why can't I mix charcoal (hardwood) with peatmoss for springtails ?

Where and what kind of mite spray will work? I'm seeing people getting it from everywhere! You spray a paper towel down with it, let it dry, then put your cultures on it right?

Is 70-75 degrees too cool for culturing the flies and springs?

Can I use a large sterilte container for both insects as long as I use mite spray?

Do I need to add yeast to the ff cultures even after they are setup? I read no.

If I feed the springtails foods other than yeast I need to sterilize them in some way correct?
Can't I just microwave white rice or veggies for a set time to sterilize them, cool off and then feed?


I would greatly appreciate help with these questions.
Thank you!
 

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I'll answer some of these - but keep in mind I haven't had a ton of success with the FF's - got something weird going on. My springs are going nuts - two cultures (parent culture in ABG type mix, one made from that in charcoal only, and the viv is also full of them now.

Hi all! I am about to start culturing temperate springtails and melanogaster FFs

Questions:

Can I really use plain old coffee filters on mason jars for the ff's?
That is what i've read, yes. I use excelsior. There was also a thread about using easter grass instead of excelsior. On the Josh's media jar it says: coffee filters.

Why can't I mix charcoal (hardwood) with peatmoss for springtails ?
You CAN. BUT, when you go to feed out the culture (i.e., harvest) it will become an awful mess. You see - an easy way to harvest is to flood the culture with water and pour off the springs. If you flood it with peat in there - then well, you'll have peat everywhere too.


Is 70-75 degrees too cool for culturing the flies and springs?
Flies - I think that is the correct temps. Lower temps are OK just slows their cycle down

Springs - My springs are kept at room temp. Most of the day that means 65. They are booming.

Others will chime in here.

- ryan
 

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Why can't I mix charcoal (hardwood) with peatmoss for springtails ?
I've used sphagnum before and had good results until mites and the little tiny worms showed up. I use strictly charcoal... You can easily flood or dump the entire culture into the tank.

Do I need to add yeast to the ff cultures even after they are setup? I read no.
If you choose to add yeast to the culture, you will only need a small pinch of 15-30 grains sprinkled on top of the media before adding flies, not after you add flies.

If I feed the springtails foods other than yeast I need to sterilize them in some way correct?
I feed my springs only yeast. It seems (in my experience) that using fish food, rice, and pasta allows for other unwanted creatures to thrive in the cultures. Since I've switched to a yeast only diet, I don't get the little worms and hardly ever see mites. I know other members might not have issues with feeding other foods, but I do...



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Can I really use plain old coffee filters on mason jars for the ff's?
If you are referring to using them as lids sure, but if you want to replace them quickly they aren't as convient as the fiber lids and they can be torn easily resulting in escape and/or contamination. People do use them as a substrate for pupation and/or to keep the adult flies from getting trapped in the wet media and drowning.

Why can't I mix charcoal (hardwood) with peatmoss for springtails ?
It can but it will change your harvesting methods. Charcoal is used so you can flood the culture, which causes the springtails to float to the surface where they can be poured off and then poured into the cultures. This allows for a simple massive input of springtails. with the peat moss method, to get a massive input you have to add most/all of the culture to the enclosure and typically can harvest smaller amounts by baiting the springtails.

Where and what kind of mite spray will work? I'm seeing people getting it from everywhere! You spray a paper towel down with it, let it dry, then put your cultures on it right?
Review the products sold by the sponsors or as an alternative simply order mite paper.

Is 70-75 degrees too cool for culturing the flies and springs?
No and no.. My temperate springs get down to about 45 F in the winter.

Can I use a large sterilte container for both insects as long as I use mite spray?
Why do you want to use the tubs? They are not necessary and can be problematic in some cases.

Do I need to add yeast to the ff cultures even after they are setup? I read no.
There are two types of yeast used in culturing fruit flies. Neither is added to the culture after it is set up. One is added to the media before adding water to supply protien. The second is added before the flies and reduces the risk of contamination by other microbes and stimulates the flies to lay eggs earlier. The flies will carry yeast and other microbes to the culture. Neither type is "necessary" but both help with the culturing. For a more definitive answer, which type of yeast are you referring to?

If I feed the springtails foods other than yeast I need to sterilize them in some way correct?
Sterilizing the foods doesn't stop mites from walking into the cultures. Yeast reduces the risk of mites but some mites like fungal mites do just fine on it. If you house your cultures close to other invertebrate cultures you will get mites at some point.

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Review the products sold by the sponsors or as an alternative simply order mite paper.
I picked up some Ultra Care Mite and Lice Bird Spray today
Pyrethrins = 0.03%
Pipperonyl Butoxide 0.30%

Im assuming this should work just fine?


Will the cooler temps reduce the reproductive rate of the springtails?
or do they prefer cold temperatures?

Right now they are sitting around 74*F

Why do you want to use the tubs? They are not necessary and can be problematic in some cases.
I was going to use the tub to house the cultures in to keep the humidity up and to future protect them from the potential mite infestation.
I placed wax paper down and then paper towels drenched in the above mentioned mite spray, once dry the cultures are sat on top of it.
Then I figured for the FF's I could spray a little water on the lid to keep them moist as the humidity here is in the 40's.

is this okay?

which type of yeast are you referring to?
Well i used the yeast that Joshs FROGS ships with the cultures to start one up today.

I was actually refering to Brewers or bakers yeast though .



I received my Azureus today and the cultures and went ahead and started one melanogaster culture today.
1/2 cup of the Media, 2/3 cup boiling water, mix then add the excelsior, then a pinch of the yeast, allow to cool and introduce flies.

It seems as though the 2/3 cup water wasnt quite enough, the paste was ... pasty and not as liquid as what was sent to me.
its not dry by any means, but more clumpy than liquid...
would it hurt to spray water down on it?

I havent split the springtail culture yet, I have the everything to do so, just havent done it yet.

I did by dry active yeast for it though. its the granuals, not the powder, I couldnt seem to find powered yeast ? :(
I read that Brewers is best to use?
 

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I was actually refering to Brewers or bakers yeast though .
he was asking which one of these you were referring to. each serves a different purpose, which ed explained in his post.

also, ive used coffee filters as lids for mason jars for many years and they work well for me.

james
 

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you dont want to spray the lid as a wet lid allows other flies (like phorid flies) to lay eggs on the wet lid and get larvae into your cultures.

you will learn after a few cycles how much water to add in order to keep the cultures just right.

the melo cultures will generally become more soupy as the larvae inhabit the media, but you should aim for a mixture that is moist but not so wet that it moves around. the flies seem to do better the more wet the medium however you cant have a soupy mix or you wont be able to feed.

james
 

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I make cultures in smaller batches. I use Repashy SUperfly. I use a 2 tbs of dry to 1/4 cup of boiling water. I let cool, add a pinch of BAKERS yeast, add a couple of coffee filters, then add flies.
The mix is not wet and there are always dry parts. I find that over the life of the culture, it get more moist as it pupates. I hated drippy cultures. They also are more prone to mold.

After a month or so of growing, the cultures are practically empty of food. I keep new cultures in a plastic box wth mite paper untill i see maggots on the side. Then I take them out and add to the Active Feeding Area.
Also remember that you should only use BIRD Mite spray, not reptile mite spray. Go got the right stuff. Anther tip is to use cardboard instead of papertowels under the culture. I feel it holds more spray, longer.
 

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Cool I did use bird mite spray.
Joshed frogs uses reptile more spray though in their help video...
Why is this not acceptable?
Thier functionality is about the same. I find it is easier to use mite paper.

Ed
 

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he was asking which one of these you were referring to. each serves a different purpose, which ed explained in his post.

also, ive used coffee filters as lids for mason jars for many years and they work well for me.

james
I too use coffee filters as lids on mason jars. It works really well for me. You can write the date it was made on the filter. Rarely have mite problems. Really, I don't usually get mites unless they come in from a purchased culture. At this time, I have a culture that I made on 10/16 that is still producing for me and is not mite infested.
 

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over the holidays my CX making was not as frequent a i'd like. i still had a few from 12/1 which i harvested larvae from yesterday. they were mite free (at least no visible infestation)

james
 

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over the holidays my CX making was not as frequent a i'd like. i still had a few from 12/1 which i harvested larvae from yesterday. they were mite free (at least no visible infestation)

james
A wise man (which is an indication it wasn't from me) once said, if you think there aren't any mites in your fruit fly cultures that just means you weren't looking hard enough..

Ed
 

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i knew that would come up ed, which is why i added
(at least no visible infestation)
ive noticed a huge difference since i started keeping the cultures in hanging wire baskets on the wall about 4 ft off the ground, the baskets hook on to the wall and can be rotated so that the newest cultures are at the top.

james

i got the baskets at walmart and they hold 8 mason jars perfectly. they needed to be modified (only by breaking off some tabs on the rear) and i use extra strong picture hangers to attach them to the wall
 

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A wise man (which is an indication it wasn't from me) once said, if you think there aren't any mites in your fruit fly cultures that just means you weren't looking hard enough..

Ed

To clarify, my 10/16 culture does have mites, but it's not 'infested'. Also they are very small mites and not the larger ones that seem to take over a culture. I wonder if the larger ones are not able to penetrate the coffee filter?

I dunno. I'm no mite expert. :p
 

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To clarify, my 10/16 culture does have mites, but it's not 'infested'. Also they are very small mites and not the larger ones that seem to take over a culture. I wonder if the larger ones are not able to penetrate the coffee filter?

I dunno. I'm no mite expert. :p

Probably just younger mites...

Ed
 

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I believe younger mites appear to have 6 legs, until they reach maturity and visibly have 8. You may be able to look with a magnifying glass and tell if the 2 sizes are different species or not.
 
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