Typical Drosophila vials
Typical Drosophila vials


Flies are typically kept in plastic or glass containers. I strongly recommend polypropylene plastic vials. Glass containers seem to suffer from condensation to a much greater extent. This can prevent the media from adhering to the vial (allowing it to slip when the vial is inverted), and prevent flies from climbing up the side of the vial.

Re-useability is something that we should all aim for, however fruit fly vials get SO 'glued-on' that it is often very messy and time consuming to clean them effectively, and fly keepers often use disposable cups. However, polypropylene plastic vials with straight sides really are the best choice. The media stays in place better, and if soaked and washed with a bottle brush, can be cleaned and reused easily. Conical flasks are just that bit harder to clean. Such containers are somewhat hard to source, but are available from scientific suppliers online.

Vials can be sealed with sponge (you can make your own - though they are somewhat difficult to cut perfectly; but again available online from scientific suppliers), these are good at keeping out mites, and very convenient. Less good options include: cotton wool (cheap, easy, but only good for vials with small openings. Not reuseable.), filter paper (can be damaged when wet) or netting (cheap, reuseable, can allow mites and interbreeding with wild flies). If you use netting, it is best to keep the flies in a cabinet to keep out other flies.

A funnel is critical when transferring flies
A funnel is critical when transferring flies

Handling fruit flies?

Under laboratory conditions flies need to be moved from container to container without any escape. This is performed by anaesthetising the flies with CO2 or ether. This renders them unconscious for a minute or two without damage. Even fully flighted flies can be easily managed in this way. If you have a cylinder of CO2 handy, perhaps for a planted aquarium, try inverting the vial, and introducing a gentle flow of CO2 by inserting a fine tube past the sponge topper. After just a few seconds the flies will fall unconscious. This is where the consistency of the media is essential. If your flies are kept over sloppy media, when it is inverted, media will slide down the side of the container, sticking to flies and potentially falling out. If you use the Sussex miedia (see fruit fly food recipes) it will stay exactly where it should! Tap the container a couple times, and all the sleeping flies will all fall out. No mess, just flies.

Luckily flightless flies are relatively easy to manipulate without CO2, as long as you work quickly. If you have difficulties, 5-8 minutes in a freezer greatly reduces their mobility. But work quickly, because they will wake up soon!

Always use funnels when moving flies from one vial to another. This will largely prevent escape, and allows a vial to be left 'unlidded' with flies still in it. If any do start to walk back up, a gentle tap soon sends them back to their food!

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First in Fly : Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery, Hardcover by Moh

Jessup, Maryland, 207**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


First in Fly : Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery, Hardcover by Mohr, Stephanie Elizabeth, ISBN 0674971019, ISBN-13 9780674971011, Like New Used, Free shipping in the US
A single species of fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has been the subject of scientific research for more than one hundred years. Why does this tiny insect merit such intense scrutiny? Drosophila's importance as a research organism began with its short lifecycle, ability to reproduce in large numbers, and easy-to-see ... more

Flightless Fruit Fly Culture Live Dart Frog Food 32 oz & Zoo Med Calcium With D3

Middletown, Pennsylvania, 170**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This live dart frog food by Crazy Frog L L.C. is the perfect addition to your pet reptile's diet. The 32 oz container of flightless fruit fly culture provides a sustainable food source for your beloved pet. Along with the food, this package also includes Zoo Med Calcium with D3, ensuring your reptile gets the necessary nutrients for healthy bone growth. A great choice for any reptile owner looking to provide their pet with quality nutrition
... more

Fruit Fly Culture - Flies Only

San Diego, California, 921**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


This ad is for one (1) culture of your choice of flies, Melanogaster, Hydei or Golden Hydei. It does not come with anything else
For best results, store flies in constant temps between 70 and 75 degrees. Larvae will begin showing up in about 10 days and flies in about 20 days. Colder temps will slow down the reproduction speed of the flies. Constant temps hotter than 80 degrees will cause the flies to mutate into flying demons that will get you into trouble with your significant other if ... more

Hydei Fruit Fly Culture 32oz Dart Frog Food Reptile Food Live Insects

Middletown, Pennsylvania, 170**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Hydei is a larger fruit fly at 3 mm in size. This makes them the ideal live food choice to feed to the larger species of Dart Frogs
Fruit flies are an excellent feeder for particularly small or hatchling reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates such as:
Anoles (juvenile)
Carpet chameleons (juvenile)
Dart frogs
Day geckos
Electric blue geckos
Jumping spiders
Mourning geckos
Pygmy chameleons (juvenile)
Tarantulas (juveniles / slings)
Care ... more

Freshly Started Flightless Drosophila Melanogaster Fruit Fly Culture

Lyndhurst, New Jersey, 070**, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


Drosophila melanogaster are smaller (about 1 / 16 " ) than Drosophila hydei, and are an ideal food for poison dart frogs, fish, praying mantis, young frogs and toads, and other reptiles, amphibians, or captive animals that require small foods... more