Flightless Fruit Fly Culture Recipes (Including Potato-Free)

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When you are raising a pet that feeds on fruit flies or other types of flies, making your own fruit fly culture is a great way to save money and ensure a missed delivery doesn’t keep your pet from getting fed.

Praying mantis nymphs are one example of pets that eat fruit flies.

Before we get into the recipes, let’s start with a pro tip!

DIY Fruit Fly Culture Recipes

When making fruit fly cultures at home, why not go ahead and make a full batch or two at once. Then, you can still place the culture 1-2″ think in the bottom of culture cups and then place them in the freezer. The cultures will stay good for up to 4-6 months in the freezer. Just pop them out for a day before using.

And if you are just starting out or thinking about keeping praying mantises, don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Praying Mantises we wrote to cover all the basics in one post.

If you want to raise your own fruit flies but want everything in a kit, Josh’s Frogs has a great kit over on Amazon that includes 10 cups, lids, excelsior, and fruit fly media all in one ready to go package.

Now, on to the recipes.

Potato Free Apple Sauce Culture

Makes 36oz.


1½ cup.............Bottled Water
1½ cup.............Apple Sauce
½ teaspoon.........Methylparaben
¼ cup..............Honey
3 tablespoons......Vinegar
¼ cup..............Brewer’s Yeast
1½ cup.............Raw Oatmeal
½ cup..............Flax Seed Meal
¼ cup..............Cornmeal


  1. Combine Water, Apple Sauce, Methyl Paraben, Honey, and Vinegar over low heat.
  2. Add Oatmeal and cook briefly for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add Flax Seed Meal, stir in, and remove from heat.
  4. Add Cornmeal and stir in.
  5. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Add Brewer’s yeast and stir well.

Banana Oat Fruit Fly Feast

Makes approximately 36oz.


½ cup..............Sugar
1 cup .............Rolled Oats
1 teaspoon.........Methylparaben
1 packet...........Baker’s Yeast


  1. Combine all ingredients except yeast over low heat.
  2. Blend or stir well.
  3. Add water or oats as needed until forming a toothpaste consistency.
  4. Allow the paste to cool to room temperature
  5. Add yeast and stir in.

Oat Bran Potato Flake Cake

Makes 36oz.


1 cup..............Potato Flakes
¼ cup............. Apple Sauce
½ cup..............Bran
½ cup..............Quick Oats (or Rolled Oats)
¼ cup..............Cornmeal/Cornflour (Fine ground)
¼ cup..............Apple Cider Vinegar
1 teaspoon.........Beer (Pick your fav so you can drink the rest)
1 teaspoon.........Sugar
¼ teaspoon.........Methylparaben


  1. Combine all ingredients over low heat and stir together.
  2. Add water or oats as needed to create a toothpaste consistency.
  3. Allow the paste to cool to room temperature.

Makes 48oz.


1 cup..............Water
1 cup..............Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tablespoon.......Dark Molasses
½ can..............Grape Juice Concentrate
2 .................Bananas
½ cup..............Malt-O-Meal (or Rolled Oats)
⅔ cup..............Potato Flakes
⅓ cup..............Brewers Yeast


  1. Combine all ingredients, except yeast, over low heat and stir together.
  2. Add water or oats as needed to create a toothpaste consistency.
  3. Allow the paste to cool to room temperature.
  4. Add culture to the bottom of culture cups.
  5. Separately, activate the brewer’s yeast (See below)
  6. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of activated brewer’s yeast over the culture on the bottom of the cups.

How to activate Brewer’s Yeast?

To activate the yeast, dissolve it in lukewarm water and wait for it to come alive. You may also add sugar or honey to the mix at this point to feed the yeast.

After about 5-10 minutes, a thin layer of fuzzy bubbles will begin to form on top of the liquid, indicating that the yeast is still alive. Now you can use it.

Alternate Yeast Recipe Step #1

Rather than waiting and sprinkling activated yeast on the bottom of the culture in the cups, you can add it at the end of the recipe and stir it into the lukewarm culture before placing it into the cups.

Alternate Yeast Recipe Step #2

For an even easier alternative, just sprinkle a like dry active yeast over the top of the cultures in the cups while still lukewarm. If still dry, give it a misting spray of warm water.

Recipe Options – Add or Remove As You Please

You might notice some common ingredients for the fruit fly culture recipes above. Now, we have some options you can add to or remove from any of the above recipes.

Let’s explain what they are.


Methylparaben is included in some culture recipes. The reason for this is in the nature of all parabens.

Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in many food products. Methylparaben is one particular type of paraben and is often used in insect cultures.

Methylparaben is good at preventing the growth of mold in fruit fly cultures. However, it does reduce the reproduction rate of insects.

Vinegar can be used instead of methylparaben although it is not quite as effective.

So, add it, replace it with vinegar, or don’t include either. It’s up to you, just know that without either, your cultures will mold quickly.


Vinegar can be used in these recipes instead of methylparaben.

As a natural mold inhibitor it is an excellent natural way to go for your fruit fly cultures.

Using apple cider vinegar gives the extra fruity flavor your flies will enjoy while still providing a level of protection against molds.

Now, in all the recipes, we are talking about standard kitchen strength vinegar, not specialty strength vinegar, like those available from feed stores as an herbicide. Stick to your local grocery store brands.


Some people have a stronger sense of smell than others.

Fruit fly cultures can smell like rotting fruit, well because they are in some sense. This smell may be objectionable to some people.

In order to combat this smell, you can try to mask it a bit by adding cinnamon to the the recipe.

The amount to add varies both on the strength of the cinnamon you use and the quantity of culture you are making.

Generally for a 36oz batch of fruit fly culture, you can add between 1 and 5 teaspoons of cinnamon. A little trial and error will help you find the minimum amount needed to achieve the smell level that is acceptable to you and your family/partners.

Calcium/Vitamin Powder

Some praying mantis, frog, chameleon, and other reptile enthusiasts suggest adding calcium and/or vitamin powders to fruit fly cultures. This is most certainly an optional set of ingredients and not something we do ourselves.

Those who do add these ingredients to fruit fly cultures are using a time-tested approach of gut loading.

Gut loading is the intentional process of feeding prey animals/insects supplemental dietary items before being fed to predator animals in order for the predator animal to receive the benefits of the additional dietary supplements.

Vitamins and calcium are typical dietary supplements used in gut loading prey insects.

Brewer’s Yeast Or Baker’s Yeast

While some of our recipes call for brewer’s yeast and others might call for baker’s yeast, truthfully, use the one you have readily available.

The biggest difference between the two is that brewer’s yeast produces more alcohol; baker’s yeast (like Fleischman’s dry yeast) produces much smaller amounts of alcohol.

You may find over time that you like the results better using one versus the other, but honestly, Fleishman’s has worked great for us most of the time. However, I’m a big fan of Josh’s Frogs products, including their Brewer’s Yeast.

Are these winged and wingless fruit fly recipes? Yes, winged or wingless fruit flies will all use these same cultures. That includes both the flightless Drosophila hydei and the smaller Drosophila melanogaster.

How to increase the surface area of fruit fly culture? Folded paper towels, coffee filter layers, and Excelsior can all be used to increase the surface area inside the culture cups. Excelsior is like steel wool but made from wood and is sold in most home improvement or large arts and crafts stores.

How long are fruit fly cultures good for? When fresh, the cultures will remain good for about 1-2 weeks depending on the methylparaben or vinegar contents. Once mold begins to grow it is time to throw them out. Did you know, you can freeze the cultures when making the recipes and they will last 4-6 months.

Where can I buy good quality feeder insect ventilated cups? The 32 oz. Fruit Fly Insect Cups with Ventilated Lids in the 20-pack is a good option.

If you think your pet is ill, call a vet immediately. All health-related questions should be referred to your veterinarian. They can examine your pet, understand its health history, and make well informed recommendations for your pet.

903pets.com Staff

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