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PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:57 pm 
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The last mantis I had were Idolomantis diabolica which were doing well but I had to sell due to travelling.

But I'm back again with 21 nymphs of Creobroter gemmatus and hopefully I will be able to stick around for a long time and maybe get some other species if these work out. I have just spent about 2-3 hours potting them up, inhibited by me stopping and watching them scoot around after their prey.





Some of my wingless FF colonies. I was worried because the flies seemed a little big compared to the mantis but the mantis caught them readily.

I have a few others and also a backup colony I bought from the local petshop just incase It all goes wrong! The recipes are various combinations of banana/orange/oats/bread to see which one works best.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:06 pm 
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Oh god the ooth hatched *chaos ensues as I open a cup that immediately erupts with baby mantises*

Managed to put them all into two big coffee jars, after they moult I will probably put them all together into something bigger. There is about two dozen and I already have 21 in cups so I don't mind losing a couple to cannibalism if it happens. I do have a lot of flies though.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Lol, they move pritty quick don't they :D good job you've got lodes of fruit flys cause they're hungry little beggars.
If you want to try a different food for them collect a few greenfly from the garden it makes a nice change for them and allows the flys to replenish if there getting low in numbers 8)

Also an alternative food for the flys is a mash made up from instant potato flakes,a pinch of sugar,rolled oats,and a drop of spirit vinegar to act as a mold suppressant mix these together with boiled water untill you get a thickish paste leave to cool then dollop a bit in a plastic cup and sprinkle a little dryed yeast on top for the adult flys add some netting for flys to sit on and a few starter flys and away you go :lol:
Ooh and the beauty of this mix is you can makeup a big batch and freeze it in small portions to defrost when needed :thumb:

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:22 pm 
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I do have a lot of flies but some variation can't hurt. I will take a few sweeps of the bushes in the garden :)

I have looked at the recipes for FF mash and they seem similar to yours so thanks :) Mine seems to be working now and I'm not going shopping for a few days anyway, I will pick up some potato flakes when I'm there. I think I have everything else.

Also I mis-counted the mantis that hatched, looks like I have more than 30 new ones.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:40 pm 
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they seem to be doing well. :thumb:

i still have about 200 of the little blighters myself. maybe i can sell some more to thin them out, but looks like im stuck with most of them. its a good job they are small.

luckily im well supplied with fruit flies atm. i look after a small orchard and there are lots of windfall apples. so i squash them and put them into big flower pots which breeds swarms of fruit flies (also attracts bigger flies, wasps , hornets and red admiral butterflies). i just pooter up as many as needed, or place a plastic bag over a pot and get several hundred at once. :devil:

but i better make some cultures now for when it gets colder. the potato mash idea is a good idea. theres probably more protein in potato for stronger culture. sometimes the apple cultures i make run out of steam and the maggots dont grow very well

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:45 pm 
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Sounds ideal, we have a plum tree here, lots of free fruit for my bugs for a few weeks each year :lol:

I have plenty of FF but the colony I bought as a back-up was infested with mites, typical :roll:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:36 pm 
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One has moulted! I was just about to write that none are moulting, but I checked the last one and there is a moulted one sat there looking at me.



They have all been given 9 flies (three every 2 days) though none have actually ate them all. There is still some flies in every single tub except the communal ones (even though they were given 4 flies per mantis....work that one out!)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:59 am 
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i think the single housed ones are older and so coming up to a molt and not eating much. the communal ones are from the ooth, so younger, and eating more.

great photo. its a alien !!

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:16 pm 
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Coming up to third instar, must be soon as some of the bigger ones haven't eaten anything for two days so I think tonight is the night. In the communal jar of 15 mantis there has been no cannibalism. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Good to hear your doing well with yours Mazzer :D Have you noticed that the ones you have living communaly do a little waggle dance and wave there front graspers when they get too close to one another. It must be to warn the other mantis, or telling it "don't eat me". :laugh:
Mine do it if they happen to see eachother through the side of the containers. 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Yeah I think they are gauging their personal space to make sure they aren't too close to accidentally grab one another.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:21 pm 
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yep they do that arm waving thing alot, but no kidding, mine liked to sit next to each other too.

not always, but they did it too many times for it to be a fluke.

their cage is pretty big and i only had 6, so they could easily have avoided each other, but they tended to clump. i think its pretty funny considering they sometimes eat each other too. maybe they are eyeballing each other, waiting for an opportunity. lol

i hope i havnt worried you both ")

to change the subject, ive noticed swarms of small spindly black flies on my apple pots, and ive been pootering them as well as the ff. they are much bigger than ff, but i dont know what they are. i think they lay their eggs on the fruit as well. they arrive just at dusk and dance around mating - i almost feel guilty about spoiling their fun!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:37 pm 
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No worry Agrius :lol: I do notice that they tend to sit facing each other lol. Those spindly flys you mentioned may be a type of midge we have quite a few around our plum tree at the moment so I might try catching a few for my mantids :D

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 7:44 pm 
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Females feed on blood, males feed on nectar. I guess mushed up fruit counts too? :)

I don't mind one or two mantid losses as I have about 45 of them, going to have to start getting bluebottle pupae in soon.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 11:06 am 
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one of the females is laying yet another ooth. for little ones they dont half live along time.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:35 pm 
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When they are sub-adult/adult I'm thinking of releasing them all into a flexarium, on its side for maximum roof space. Any special requirements to get them to lay? Or just put in some big sticks and leave them to it? Most of mine are 3rd instar now, excepting the ones that I hatched.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:25 am 
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agrius wrote:
one of the females is laying yet another ooth. for little ones they dont half live along time.



How long from ooth to adult dying do you think?

I had a shortage of flies on Friday, literally 0 flies in all colonies. Today I have about 1000 I don't know what to do with! I think in this case, I need more mantis, or maybe some small terrestrial amphibians :P If I see any good offers at the AES I might might up some orchid mantis or ghost mantis, something small I can use all of this FF production on.

My half-an-orange FF colonies produced a tremendous amount of flies. Best thing, they don't stink! I still have this box of potato flakes, just haven't got around to using them. I must get around to it so I can compare the production with fruit colonies.

Fruit + vinegar is working really well though. The flies from the orange colony are much bigger than the ones from the banana colony, no idea why. There was no left over food, it was just a black crust of pupae and dried fruit, so nothing they could of fed on to get bigger.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:35 am 
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mazzer10 wrote:
agrius wrote:
one of the females is laying yet another ooth. for little ones they dont half live along time.



How long from ooth to adult dying do you think?

I had a shortage of flies on Friday, literally 0 flies in all colonies. Today I have about 1000 I don't know what to do with! I think in this case, I need more mantis, or maybe some small terrestrial amphibians :P If I see any good offers at the AES I might might up some orchid mantis or ghost mantis, something small I can use all of this FF production on.

My half-an-orange FF colonies produced a tremendous amount of flies. Best thing, they don't stink! I still have this box of potato flakes, just haven't got around to using them. I must get around to it so I can compare the production with fruit colonies.

Fruit + vinegar is working really well though. The flies from the orange colony are much bigger than the ones from the banana colony, no idea why. There was no left over food, it was just a black crust of pupae and dried fruit, so nothing they could of fed on to get bigger.


probably at least 6 months from ooth hatching to the next generation hatching. i got my 1st instar nymphs in early april, and they became adult some time ago. so they took about 3 or 4 months to get adult. (how fast they grow depends on temperature of course - mine had about 22c). the ooths seemed to take ages to hatch - maybe 6 weeks at that temp. so added up about 6 months in total.

how often do you make ff colonies; i'm going to try to make new ones every 4 days. cant afford to run out.

im sticking with the potato recipe but i put slices of apple on top as i think it might stimulate egg laying as they seem to gather more on the fruit.

interesting that orange produces bigger flies - ive never thought about making an orange culture. you'd think it would be less nutritious than banana. in cost to production ratio terms though, i dont think you can beat the mashed potato recipe

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:48 pm 
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Yes the banana flies were tiny, looked more like scarid flies! (they weren't) Is it more likely that the banana culture simply dried up sooner than the orange, as the orange is more juicy, forcing them to pupate sooner? Sounds reasonable.

Yes the mashed potato recipe seems the cheapest. Not that fruit is a problem around here all year round as there are two markets a week just 100m from where I live (BOWLLLL FORR A PAAAAAANNNDDDD BOWLL FOR A PANNDDDDDD )

Females are supposed to lay 50 eggs a day, I guess they are more picky about where they lay, less picky than the larvae are about what they eat-perhaps?

Anyway back to mantis. I incubated the ooth at 25-28c with a couple sprays for humidity and it hatched within 24 hours. I'm not sure if that was because it was due to hatch or if that boost was a trigger. I will experiment with any ooths I manage to produce.

I should have 4th instar nymphs by friday. I'm most impressed by the fact I haven't lost a single nymph :D

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:03 pm 
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thats good going. told you they were non-cannibalistic (ish). :)

ive got two types of fruit flies emerging, the big (D hydei?)and the small ones (i just bunged loads of random ff in to start with). are you sure your small ones arnt just the smaller species. saying that, they sound far too small for that and its probably just cos the culture has dried up as you say, and they turned into a pupa early. i add water to mine when they get too dry, with yeast and sugar added. it might give em a boost.

i'm going to make some cultures of the hydei ones later on as i have alot hatching out. they are about 3 times as big so more of a meal. bit of a pain having two types going but as my granny said, you can never have too many fruit flies :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:17 pm 
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I'm pretty sure mine are Drosophila hydei, and not the smaller Drosophila melanogaster.

To be honest I just wanted the banana culture to go away because it really smelled. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:45 pm 
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Some of my 3rd instar are a light creamy colour, some are much darker, almost brown. Not sure if this means anything :hmm: Probably not dimorphism

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:49 pm 
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Seeing as they are getting along so well, I decided to put the vast majority into a medium sized fish tank. Finally got tired of feeding so many cups one at a time when there was no need.

Just bunged in 100 FF and left them to it. They are on top of my computer by my desk so I can watch them.

Just saw a 4th instar do some kind of threat/defensive display, arms outstretched. He got a little bit freaked out when 5 flies ran past him at once. Won't be any flies left in a few hours I'm guessing.

Here is what I'm taking about. (I'm not very efficient at articulating myself and often ramble on and on and eventually go off topic and forget what I'm talking about and then try to get back on subject but lose my train of thought and end up making no sence at all.)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:24 am 
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nice set up. is that curly willow? looks like they have ample space to avoid contact. just make sure you put LOTS of ff in as they have an annoying tendency to just sit in one place and not get spotted and eaten (the swines) then the mantids can go hungry, and then you know what happens next. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Well not a single fruit fly to be spotted in there this morning, so I don't think they will have this problem.

The sticks are actually very old honeysuckle. I remember intertwining these exact branches (they were shoots at the time) when I was 6-7 into patterns and before we moved house I cut off my patterened chunk to keep for the memories. That makes them about 15 years old :)

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:43 pm 
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4th

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Bit humid so hard to see, I thought this was quite sweet/threatening



Sat there watching their sibling moult for the whole process, and so did I :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:41 pm 
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Most are 4th instar now, I found a dead one yesterday, I think it fell whilst moulting. First death, hopefully the last!

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:47 pm 
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ive not seen any falls, but a few have got stuck half way. one hind leg getting stuck is also pretty common too. i think most manage to free themselves eventually.

its low humidity i suppose, but its difficult to keep humidity up in a fabric cage.

its funny, but ive not misted for a few days and they are shedding fine atm, so maybe humidity isnt the whole story

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:50 pm 
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Humidity isn't a problem with mine, I covered half the top of the tank with a book to help that, and the humidity never dips low because I'm on hand with a sprayer. I'm guessing maybe another nymph knocked it?

Hoping to pick up some greenbottle pupae tomorrow, what instar do you recommend attempting to feed them with GB flies?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:56 pm 
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I have some green bottle pupae now, waiting for them to hatch and then I'll see if any of the 4th instars will take them.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:35 pm 
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i hope they take them. some of mine look like they could catch a small greenbottle now, although they are probably too stuffed to bother as they have so many ff. im trying to breed more of the hydei fruit flies instead of getting gb's, but they dont half take a along time between generations, about twice as long as the little ones. but are fairly massive for fruit flies. i reckon these little midget mantids could live on them till about 3 /4 grown. a bad thing with pure hydei is they take so long to get going, and nematode worms take over the colony, probably killing ff eggs. you can see thousands of little thread things wiggling about. so i mix some of the little ff in when making a culture, which get going faster and probably guard against nematodes. ive definitely noticed alot more hydei with mixed cultures

you mentioned youre ff coming out ridiculously small. so are mine. maybe they dont get enough of something in potato cultures.there are literally swarms though.

the nymphs are grouping together again. on the ceiling of the cage there is a cluster of about 20 all together. ive no idea why they do this


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Mine do it too, at certain times of the day. At night they seem to disperse.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:25 pm 
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i think i have at least one 5th instar now, and it looks quite big. i would say greenbottles would be ok for it.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 3:30 pm 
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I have 4th that look ready to go, they are beginning to swell in the thorax area anyway. I think that is a sign of impending molting?

I don't have flies hatched out yet though.

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