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Captive Bred Praying Mantis found all over the world!

 Mantis FEEDER INSECT CARE ©  House & blue bottle fly care sheet

     House & blue bottle pupae or spike care When you receive your spikes or pupae place them in the fridge until chilled. You will need a fruit fly bottle, or cup o fly container for putting the pupae in. If using the fruit fly bottle, the pupae can be fed to the mantis right from the bottle with no feeding of the flies. Just take out the amount you want to hatch each day and place in the bottle until hatched. If using the cup o flies to gut load your flies, take out each day the amount of pupae you want to hatch & place in one of the portion cups. In another cup put the honey or Yens blend or house & blue bottle fly food, & in the third cup put either water with wood chips (to prevent drowning) or use our water crystals. 

     In a day or so the pupae will start hatching. Keep the remaining pupae in the fridge, it will last 2 good week or more. When you see the pupae not hatching good then it is time to reorder. The spikes will take around 8 days to hatch if sat out of the fridge. If you keep it in the fridge you can take some out to pupae. Leave it out for 4 whole days and at the end of the forth day place them back in the fridge, use directions above to hatch the 4 day pupae. 

      Sometimes the pupae will be to fresh if they are a reddish brown color, leave them another day if you see them this color instead of just dark brown. They will also release from the container easy as opposed to sticking to the sides. (Here is some tips I gave a customer and thought it would be helpful to others.) At the 2 days shipping and they were still wiggling, they needed to stay out at least 3 to 4 days to finish pupating. If it was cold in shipping then they did not finish and needed more time to set up.

     The pupae should after the proper 4 days should be able to pop off of the container they are in. meaning if you tapped it hard against the table top, the pupae should move pretty freely around. Some will stick to the container, but most should not. They probably died being put in fridge before pupating fully. Hope that helps. The pupae will also be really dark, if you see a few that are lighter in color (reddish brown) it means they are not done, best to leave out another day in that case, but only if a few are lighter, don't waste the whole container for a few, in most cases the rest will be fine and finish when taken out again.    Housefly pupae: can be stored in the refrigerator for about 7 days after you receive them from Mantis and stay viable. The closer you get to the 7 day mark, the less pupae hatch. We suggest that you hatch out all the pupae when you get them since the adults will live about 30 days with our house fly food & water  which will double your viability. Please see Cup-O-Flies Hatching Container.

   Fruit Flies

    The 32 ounce D. melanogaster or hydei fruit fly culture needs nothing but the right temperature to produce THOUSANDS of fruit flies. At 78 degrees you obtain maximum production, at 68 degrees you will keep the culture alive, but slow the rate of production. At 68 degrees the culture will last for a couple weeks. Mantis medium has mold inhibitors and yeast in the medium. To obtain 78 degree temperatures, do not put direct heat on the culture as it will dry out the medium, reducing your culture’s life.  Scroll down for culturing information.


   Mantis offers homemade food for your crickets. You may feed them our food or you can use wheat bran and quartered potato or our water crystals for water. The potatoes are a source of moisture for them if you don't use the crystals.. The Cricket Chop I make has Yens Blend in it for gut loading the feeders. Store the crickets at room temperature and not in direct light. I put them in a Sterilite container where I have used a 4 " hole saw to make holes in the lid for ventilation, and I use aluminum screen over the holes. You can use Aquarium Silicone or hot glue to attach the screen to the plastid lid. I do not use crickets for my mantis any longer. I find them to dangerous for a molting mantis and they do not seem so healthy as my flies are. I mainly feed flies of one species or another depending on mantis size and a waxworm or meal worm once or twice a week as a treat. Never feed them super worms, as I notice a lot of mantis die after eating them. I raise them myself so I know they do not have parasites or anything so I do not know why the mantis die after eating them. 



   Mantis offers homemade food for your roaches. You may feed them our food or you can use any table scraps you desire. Use our water crystals for their moisture or a potato sliced. The Roach Roast I make has Yens Blend in it for gut loading the feeders. Keep your roaches at room temperature and not in direct light. I put them in a Sterilite container where I have used a 4 " hole saw to make holes in the lid for ventilation, and I use aluminum screen over the holes. You can use Aquarium Silicone or hot glue to attach the screen to the plastid lid.


Some people leave them in the medium they are shipped in, and store in the refrigerator. Every 10 days warm up the mealworms to room temperature for 24 hours, and put a split carrot on the medium for moisture. After the 24 hours is done, pull the carrot off the medium and refrigerate. Mealworms will be viable for about 90 days using this system.


  Super Worms

     Take the shredded paper out of the container and add a fresh split carrot or potato slice to the top of the medium for moisture. I also put my superworms in my homemade Worm Food! It is full of different grains that the worms love, this is great food for gut loading them. Keep at 75 degrees - REFRIGERATION KILLS SUPERS. Will be viable for months.


   The Waxworm is actually a larvae of the Bee Moth. They are creamy white and have a soft body with no chiton, and are easy to digest. They are rich in protein water and fat, and due to the high fat content should not be the main part of a pets’ diet. Waxworms do not eat or drink, can be kept in the refrigerator, but are viable longest when kept at 50 to 60 degrees. Make sure that the container is dry, as moisture will kill the culture. Wipe out any condensation inside the container.


  Butter Worms 

     Butterworms are a user-friendly feeder insect. They do not need food or water (although they may eat a little of their bran bedding), they can be refrigerated for 2 months with minimal loss. Keep the bedding dry, pick out any dead worms, and that is all the maintenance there is to this feeder! This worm is imported from Peru, and will not pupate, as it has been irradiated to stop pupation.

Spring Tails

     Mantis offers four types of Springtails for the feeding of your tiny nymphs like the Humbertiella, Ephestiasula, Gambian or any other tiny mantis, frogs or fish. We have the Temperate & the Tropical varieties. The Tropical like room temps at 72 degrees or higher, where the Temperate species likes a bit lower temps. They also like a shady area to live, so a container like the one we send them in is a good one, because it lets in light, but not to much. I set mine under my shelves on the floor so they get light from the room, but not directly on them. They like a moist environment and without it they will not live and thrive, we offer the medium and the containers for culturing your own springtails and their food. When you receive your springtails, it is best to start a new culture so you always have a good supply on hand. They will last for years if took care of properly. Make sure you use distilled water for the culture and place the medium in the container and add 1/2" of the distilled water over the medium, then take a big spoon and scoop up some of the medium with the springtails and place in the new culture, put in a few pieces of food or some uncooked rice and put the lid on. Every few days, check the culture making sure to spray the medium and replace their food. That's all there is to it.

Fruit Fly Culturing Medium

          Fruit fly culturing is easy to do if you follow a few basic principals, and keep the process simple.

    1) Decide which species you want to culture, if you want them "flightless" or not, and the size you need. Most common cultures are Melanogaster, the smaller fruit fly, and Hydei which is about three times the size of Melanogaster. Getting fruit flies from your fruit bowl is not generally a good idea unless you want fruit flies everywhere! Buy from a seller who can give you good starter cultures, we stock them here at Mantis .

    2) Most fruit fly food (called "medium") is pretty much the same type of ingredients, a base of usually potato flakes, or a meal, sugar or honey, yeast, white vinegar or another mold inhibitor like Calcium Propionate (which does not smell) and water or fruit juice or mashed fruit is added. Mantis mediums already have mold inhibitors and yeast in them. Which ever culture you use is basically up to you. Our Milk Hails Mighty FF Mixture has been used by a number of people on one of our Mantis forums with much success. We NOW offer the ingredients for Mikhail's Mixture which a lot of people haven't been able to find up till now!

    3) Preparation is fairly easy, & so is the recipe.
Mantis offers a few different climbing surfaces for the spikes and flies to climb on. So once you have added the climbing surface, add the flies, about 50 or so, put the insect lid on tightly, and let nature begin her work.

    4) Raising fruit flies is all about temperature. At 68 degrees, you will have fruit flies multiply, but not at a great rate. At 78 degrees you will get maximum reproduction. As too approach 90 degrees production will drop off. It must be noted also that direct heat on the container will dry out the medium and kill the culture.

    5) Feeding fruit flies to your pets has some tricks. If your pets container has a wide opening, you just take the lid off and shake some in the pets enclosure. On smaller openings if you don't want fruit flies EVERYWHERE, use the funnel and graduated cylinder found under "General Supplies." After you dump some fruit flies in the cylinder, just tap the cylinder on the counter to knock them back down to the bottom. We call this "tapping" and you will get GOOD at it after a while! Have several cultures going so you are not dependent on one culture to feed your beasts. If you feed off most of the adults the culture will die off-you stopped the "Circle of Life." If you feed flightless flies indoors to your pets, escapees will die within a few days as long as there is no food source near enough to crawl to. With winged flies, I would suggest you feed outside to keep the peace!

    6) Over-production of flies can also cause the death of the culture. If you have a culture that is really producing a lot of flies, and then one day all the adults are dead, you over-produced the amount of flies that could be supported by the space in the container. To avoid this I have several cultures starting up, and after feeding my pets, I add more adults to the new cultures. If I still seem to have too many adults, I dump some outside.

    7) If you get any other colors growing on the medium other than beige or brown, you probably have mold. Red, green, yellow, and black molds should be thrown out as the spores can contaminate your healthy cultures. And, who knows what those spores do to your beasts, or you! (It is normal for most cultures in to get some molds, and I don't discard them unless it looks like an epidemic in the container)!


   In summery, let me share a few final thoughts. Mantis makes and offers some of the best fruit fly food that is available. We make this food and offer it to you so that you can make the culture for your own use too, Without an excellent source of food, the flies you feed to your pets do little good. Both culture have sometimes milk, mold inhibitor & other fine ingredients in it. It is much cheaper to start several cultures and keep adding cultures as old ones die off, than to buy new cultures, which typically cost $9.00 to $11.00 each, plus shipping which is about $10.00.

You can buy reusable containers that are washable, but if the container is not sterile, you risk contaminating the culture before you have even started! We use the 32 ounce insect cup that costs $0.45, and throw them away when done!

   Mantis now offers a new product to put in the culture for the flies & spikes to crawl on, this is in addition to our Plastic Black Mesh currently used in the cultures. This new product is the corrugated one sided cardboard. All you do is take a 12" or 24" piece and roll up and set on top of the culture and add your flies. The spikes will crawl into it and on it and they won't be sitting in the wet culture like before. There is plenty of room for them to pupate and the cardboard will not fall over like the coffee filters do and won't rot like the excelsior does. When the culture is through, just throw it all away.

  The Melanogaster fly will show maggots in as little as five days.
  The Hydei produce at a much slower rate, at seven days to show maggots, so be prepared to wait longer for feeder flies from that culture.

    Another important note on the cultures, shipping them is never easy. If you get a culture that the flies have died, do not throw it away, give it about 3 to 5 days to see maggots in it, as long as eggs were laid, you will get flies from it. Even cultures that have been placed in the freezer and forgotten about for an hour or more, once thawed will show maggot movement. The are hard to Kill !!! So don't be so eager to throw away a culture, set it somewhere where you pass each day and wait and see what happens, if after a week you do not see any sign of life, then you know it is time to throw away. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and ask at . That's what I am here for!


Air Plant care sheet


   Air plants(airplants) are the common name for Tillandsias , a type of Bromeliad that grows on rocks, trees shrubs etc without soil ...they receive all of their water and nutrients from the air through specialized leaves. Unlike other plants, the roots of tillandsias are not used for absorbing water and nutrients but serve only as anchors to attach anything in reach like trees or rocks.

   Most belong the the genus Tillandsia. There are over 600 known species plus many new hybrids. Tillandsias grow in many parts of the United States, Mexico, Central America and South America on trees as epiphyses, and on rocks (saxicolous). Tillandsias make unique houseplants and can be used in vivarium's, terrariums or just sitting in a cup or in a mantis container.

    EASY CARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR TILLANDSIA AIR PLANTS LIGHT - Bright, but filtered. Grow your plants in the house within 2m(6 feet) of a bright window or outside under a tree or patio cover. No direct sun in summer, late spring or early fall. WATER - Thoroughly wet your tillandsia plants 2 - 3 times per week; more often in a hot, dry environment, less often in a cool, humid one. Plants should be given enough light and air circulation to dry in no longer than 4 hours after watering.

   TEMPERATURE - 7 - 35C, 45 - 95F FERTILIZE - Monthly during spring, summer and fall, using any high quality house plant or orchid fertilizer at 1/4 the recommended strength. You can glue them to many objects using the E6000 series glue. It will not harm the plant or the mantis when dry.

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