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Hydei and mites
#1
The one thing I've always been lousy at in this hobby is culturing fruit flies. For some reason my Hydei cultures always become infested with mites. They will even take over before maggots develop and destroy the whole culture.

I buy flies from a business here in CA that sends me really clean flies. I've looked at these flies when they arrive under a magnifying glass and I never see mites. I will even make new cultures and put them on the opposite side of the house and I still get mites. I freeze the excelsior and put the cups and lids in the freezer overnight and I still get mites.

When I do grow a good, clean Hydei culture I get so many flies that I have to let some of them go. But this is hardly ever the case.

What's happening? What am I doing wrong?
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#2
Ditch the Hydei. Melanogaster flightless and turkish gliders are all so much easier to culture. I see absolutely no benefit from Hydei.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#3
Philsuma Wrote:Ditch the Hydei. Melanogaster flightless and turkish gliders are all so much easier to culture. I see absolutely no benefit from Hydei.

The only reason I keep Hydei is because of my Tincs and Leucs. I figure they are larger and will fill the bigger frogs up faster although I still trade off with Melanos. Is there some well known problem with keeping Hydei that I don't know about?

I can grow Melanogaster without any problem. Got a good source for Turkish gliders?

Thanks,
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#4
I know a guy that has produced over 200 terribilis and matechos and other big frogs on just small flies. Dart frog prey items are mostly very small. Much smaller than most people realize. There has got to be some good sources for gliders out west. Let me check.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#5
FWIW I keep hydei, golden hydei, bean beetles and turkish gliders for my tincs. I've found they all have different boom cycles (even melanogaster and turks) so I can better protect against crashes and running out of food by keeping the feeders diverse. I also find the larger flies and beetles help bulk up some of my bigger tincs.

I got away from excelsior and use crushed coffee filters now, though the hydei pretty much destroy them after a month, but coffee filters may be worth an experiment. I dust and sift all my "seed" flies prior to placing in a fresh culture to knock off any mites that are bumming a ride on a fly. I also store all my cultures in a large sterilite bin containing a bed of diatomaceous earth. This kills any inbound mites, or any mites I may have in my cultures that try to make the trip to another culture in the box. DE was the only mite control that worked for me (I tried mite paper and mite spray / paper towels but that was hit or miss - the water and soap thing was too messy of a concept for me).

The sterilite boxes also help regulate my humidity. Some folks have an easier time maintaining a constant humidity in a room, but my humidity values tend to be in the mid 40'%s in the summer and low 30'%s in the winter. I have to adjust my water content according to the season. My golden hydei are not as productive as regular hydei, though I historically have mite trouble in June / July down here in the Texas heat - hopefully the DE will help this year.

So that's what works for me. Good luck!
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#6
Jim, I am pretty much sold on DI earth as it lasts forever unlike mite paper and sprays. I agree with you on a diverse feeder culture regimen but still feel the staple should be the smaller ff.
https://www.facebook.com/dartden/

https://twitter.com/DartDen


"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#7
I've heard of the DE but never tried it. I suppose you can get it at a gardening store. I did try and put my culture in a larger Sterilite container but the next day it was so humid inside and orange mites were all over the place. I guess they crawled out of the cultures.
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#8
Philsuma Wrote:Jim, I am pretty much sold on DI earth as it lasts forever unlike mite paper and sprays. I agree with you on a diverse feeder culture regimen but still feel the staple should be the smaller ff.
Yeah all my juvie tincs are on turks, but my larger tincs are mostly hydei, turks once a week, and bean beetles now an then. I go heavier on the BB when the hydei production drops. Honestly I don't like turks too much - they are incredible with production and seem to yield more flies than flightless melanogaster, but they are friggin' escape artists and can get all over the house. The hydei escapees are fewer in number, slower, and easier to squish Smile.

Frogopolis Wrote:I've heard of the DE but never tried it. I suppose you can get it at a gardening store. I did try and put my culture in a larger Sterilite container but the next day it was so humid inside and orange mites were all over the place. I guess they crawled out of the cultures.
I buy my DE from safer brand pesticides:
http://www.saferbrand.com/store/indoor-insect/bb51702

I went with a 1" bed in the bin which was kind of a nuclear option, but why not with as cheap as it is and it helps keep the cultures from sliding around. It nails everything. Like Phil said - it lasts forever. Add in some safer flying insect killer spray cans and get your free shipping Smile

EDIT not for the frogs :lol: we like their mint and orange based flying insect sprays for the porch. Works well on the big old wasps around here.
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#9
joneill809 Wrote:
Philsuma Wrote:Jim, I am pretty much sold on DI earth as it lasts forever unlike mite paper and sprays. I agree with you on a diverse feeder culture regimen but still feel the staple should be the smaller ff.
Yeah all my juvie tincs are on turks, but my larger tincs are mostly hydei, turks once a week, and bean beetles now an then. I go heavier on the BB when the hydei production drops. Honestly I don't like turks too much - they are incredible with production and seem to yield more flies than flightless melanogaster, but they are friggin' escape artists and can get all over the house. The hydei escapees are fewer in number, slower, and easier to squish Smile.

Frogopolis Wrote:I've heard of the DE but never tried it. I suppose you can get it at a gardening store. I did try and put my culture in a larger Sterilite container but the next day it was so humid inside and orange mites were all over the place. I guess they crawled out of the cultures.
I buy my DE from safer brand pesticides:
http://www.saferbrand.com/store/indoor-insect/bb51702

I went with a 1" bed in the bin which was kind of a nuclear option, but why not with as cheap as it is and it helps keep the cultures from sliding around. It nails everything. Like Phil said - it lasts forever. Add in some safer flying insect killer spray cans and get your free shipping Smile

EDIT not for the frogs :lol: we like their mint and orange based flying insect sprays for the porch. Works well on the big old wasps around here.

Thanks for that link. If I can't find it locally I'll place an order from them. I noticed your Robertus picture on the front page. I don't know if you've discussed keeping them before but I'll go look.

I remember seeing a picture of them several years ago on a German site and thought they looked unique. This was before people were talking about them so I figured it wasn't worth it to try and find them domestically. At least I hadn't seen anyone keeping them.
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#10
Here's the topic on Robertus.
viewtopic.php?f=55&t=8532

I think a few may have been imported in 2013, but there was a more significant import in 2014 of around 100 animals by Snakes at Sunset and managed by Marcus from SNDF. This import seems to be yielding offspring so I'd look for F1s being offered this year. Exciting times Smile

Good luck with the DE. Let us know how it goes.
Jim from Austin --- Lorenzo keepers PM me about a US breeding program
lorenzo | nominant fants | highlands | summersi | bakhuis | azureus

http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs
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#11
I'll try and pick up some DE this weekend. Before I bought my group of Azureus years ago I almost chose Cobalts instead because of the yellow, blue and black in them. I like the mixture of colors on the Robertus and each animal doesn't seem to have the same patterning.

I really like my pair of Azureus. They are just a little over two years old now. These two are really bold and don't seem to be bothered by my hand inside the enclosure when I come near them. I use a 40 dram vial to place the flies in the enclosure and there are times when the female will come right up to the vial and put her front feet on the vial and try and steady herself so she can get a good shot at the flies. I wonder if other people have really bold Tincs like this.

Anyway..I'll let you know when I get the DE and set up the tub.
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