Tricks to Prevent Flying Insect Escapees at Feeding Time

For some people, the idea of having to feed praying mantises flying insects is a major turn off, and prevents them from adopting a praying mantis as a pet. Often they are afraid that there is no way to feed their mantises without accidentally releasing some flying insects into the house.  To the surprise of many new mantis owners, this is simply not true, and I will explain why below.

Using these tricks, you will never have a single flying insect escapee during feeding time ever again! :D

Fruit Flies

All fruit flies sold on our site are flightless or wingless fruit flies, so they are incapable of flying, unlike the fruit flies that you find in the wild. This is extremely helpful, but even though they can’t fly, they are still incredibly fast little crawlers, so the best way to feed your mantis nymphs their fruit fly dinner is by stunning them into stillness right before feeding time. How do you do that? Well, you can actually put your entire fruit fly culture into the freezer for 2-3 minutes before feeding them out to your mantises. This is not long enough to kill them, but just long enough to give you a short window of a few minutes where they will not be able to move quickly.

Immediately after removing the fruit fly culture from the freezer, tap an appropriate amount of fruit flies into your mantis enclosure, and then quickly replace the lid of the fruit fly culture. The fruit flies will then “wake up” safely inside the mantis enclosure, without any getting loose in your house!

Blue Bottle Flies

We sell our blue bottle flies in the pupa stage, and you can store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to feed them to your mantis. At that time, you can put the pupae directly into your mantis enclosure, where they will hatch into adult flies.  Using this method, you don’t ever have to worry about flies escaping during your feeding sessions! The only catch to this method is that you must plan ahead: when stored at room temperature, the pupae will typically hatch in 2 – 4 days, so you will need to add new pupae to the enclosure every few days to ensure a steady supply of food for your mantis.

Blue bottle pupae can be stored in the fridge for up to a month, after which time hatching rates will naturally decline.  Some flies will continue to hatch, but it will get more inconsistent and unreliable with time. We recommend buying more pupae every three weeks to ensure maximum hatch rates.

If you accidentally hatch out too many flies at once, or prefer to feed your mantis live, already hatched flies, no problem – you can store adult flies in the fridge as well! Just supply them with a little food and water on occasion, and you can still keep them in the fridge for up to a few weeks.

We suggest refrigerating live adult flies in 32 oz deli cups with vented lids and some kind of DRY substrate at the bottom, such as wood shavings, coconut fiber substrate (or Eco Earth), saw dust, or no substrate and just excelsior to climb around on. Keep them in the fridge this way for a few days while they go dormant, and take them out for a few hours every few days to warm up and eat. When you take the cup out, drop in some organic honey on a tooth pick or wooden skewer, and mist the lid of the deli cup with water. The key is to use enough water so they can drink through the vent holes in the lid, but not too much as to make things moldy and nasty in the deli cup. Every week or two, it is best to transfer them to a new deli cup with fresh, clean substrate. 

If you follow this routine, your flies should be fine for up to several weeks.