Fruit Fly Culture Health Question

#1
Hey....so I have been looking for some articles about the Health of fly cultures and the signs of an unhealthy culture. I have found a few but it seems the information is limited to mold (green/blue being normal), mites, and death black dust.

I can't imagine those are the only things I need to look out for in a culture...

Do you know or do you have some better information I can read about it?

The reason I am asking is because I found an area in one of my newer established cultures that Is a deeper orange color than the media. I haven't found any information stating that this is something to be cautioned about.

Thanks in advance!

Samantha:D
 

d3s5

Avid Member
#2
I've been culturing FF for over 7 years and really, those are the only 3 problems that I have ever encountered. I do vaguely remember some orange coloration at one point in time - but I don't remember it being a big deal. I've only ever had problems with mites once when I introduced a newly bought culture. In the beginning I dealt with a little mold problems but then started using a bit of vinegar and that solved that. Oh! The black death! Haven't dealt with that in quite awhile - but it was the worst of all the problems. I've found you can tell the most about how a culture is doing by its smell.

Deb
 
#3
ffs vs mycology?

not that i havent done it, but using smell as a gauge for the health of your fruit fly cultures is not a healthy practice. there is a never ending list of things that could infect your ff cultures, just about any form of mold/bacteria, virus, (including pathogenic) could be lurking and could be a vector for pathogenic transmission to humans. they could even get infected with drosphilia melongaster, that would be horrible, ICK!

bacterial and yeast infections are common, anything slimy is likely bacterial/yeast related (possibly viral), and anything powdery is likely mold/spore related. viral infections may not even be seen. none of the infections are seen until they reach a certain stage of maturity anyway.

either category is capable of transmitting unhealthy things to humans and even your chams, best practice is to immediately discard even the slightest suspicious cultures so that you are not infecting new nearby cultures with the same thing, (not to mention yourself/family or your cham).

since these types of infections are often airborne, if clean cultures to be, are kept in proximity of infected cultures, (like in the same house), then it is actually possible to establish an environment that will automatically infect your new cultures, thereby making it almost impossible to create and or maintain clean cultures.

my best advice to anyone, setup a proper ff culturing station, discontinue the use of pet store mite infested, unruly melongaster cultures and culture your own hydei. when done on an ongoing basis, diy ff cultures are dirt cheap so just make more than needed, and just discard any/all suspicious ones without exception.

since both ff cultures and most mushroom cultures use a wet/semidry nutritious medium, and since both types of cultures often get infected with the same types of things, and since they are encountered in mycology even more often, this same question is commonly posed amongst mushroom growers, there is a link where this specific issue is discussed at length and in depth, and can sometimes even offer specific ids of the offending infections.

better safe than sorry.

read this;
common infections of mushroom cultures, you will notice that many of these are also ones that frequent ff cultures;

http://www.shroomery.org/5276/What-are-common-contaminants-of-the-mushroom-culture

follow this;
http://www.shroomery.org/forums/postlist.php/Board/22

read this;
http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/introurt.htm

there are pathogens all around us, as adult humans in a normal environment, we inhale as many as 10,000 pathogens a day, this is normal for a healthy adult human. its when the inhaled pathogenic load is excessive, or when the health/immunity of the receiving host organism (you, dog, cat, chameleon,whatever) is compromised, that's when infection is most likely. this also applies to ingested pathogens (ie; infected feeders in the case of chams), and it also applies to your dog, cat, chams, whatever, thats what i meant by the "importance of husbandry" as in this thread; https://www.chameleonforums.com/okay-66614/ chams in the wild often do well for long term with relatively high pathogenic loads, because they have gods husbandry, a perfect 24/7/365 natural environment , imo, generally speaking, this would usually be preferable to even the best of man made environments. so ie, they are either in prime health so the pathogenic load is acceptable, or they perish, its natures way, my guess is, if all the cham pathogens perished, they would probably perish too (as imo, would we).

hopefully this helps illustrate the importance of cham husbandry, and striving to keep your cham in optimum health at all times. whether it be you, or your chameleon, there is a direct correlation between the type/amount of pathogen received, and the health/immunity of the receiving host/rate of infection.

sorry didnt mean to hijack the thread or get off post,

when you inhale an infected ff culture (or mushroom culture/any kind of infected culture), its not inconceivable that you could inhale 10's of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of particles (any airborne bacteria, mold, spores, viruses etc.), in a single wiff.
if you can smell it, you are inhaling it, (ie: the smell sensation is actually triggered by the particles you are inhaling). if those particles are pathogenic, then you could easily exceed the excepted loading levels for that particular pathogen/healthy human adult. this is why laboratories have protocols for handling possibly pathogenic cultures, to protect the operator.

i know everyone is going to write in, and post how they have cultured ffs for years, and smelled hundreds or thousands of infected cultures (as have I), and that may very well be true, but it is also blind luck.

i have cultured ffs, mushroom mycelia, and other things, for the past 40 years. this is an important thread, and i am glad that the op brought this up, i hope all forum members eventually view this thread.

as a 58 yr old non smoker, who is currently dying of lung disease, i tell you and all forum members, that this issue should not be taken lightly. there is now even some question as to whether my past culturing experiences have contributed to this condition.

dont get me wrong, i am not trying to create panic among forum ff culturers, or discourage others from doing so.
i am only trying to point out that before you culture anything, or even keep anything, (like a cham), culture a little common sense, first culture a little knowledge of what you are doing, then culture some awareness and caution, i guaranty you will have safer and better results at what you are trying to culture/raise.

a few basic ff culturing precautions/practices;

1.first and foremost, to minimize the risks involved, be informed, learn a basic understanding of what you are doing, including proper procedures and the risks involved, dont just buy media and start culturing with no knowledge, not safe, not usually successful anyway.

2. set up small station specifically dedicated to ff culturing, dont mingle it with other projects (ie: feeder raising, gutloading, weighing, treating etc).

3. imo, a remote location (like a garage) is preferable. i realize that this is not practical for many (including me) and i dont think its absolutely essential for safe culturing, but, if its available, then why not. a second choice would be a utility closet or something out of the main living space. and for those who can afford it, a true hepa air filter may not be a bad idea. i do think it is possible to culture in a living space as long as common sense and a couple of precautions apply,(next)

4. not so much related to pathogens, but fyi, i culture my ffs in their containers, in a 10 g aquarium that has 1/8" of germicidal soapy water in the bottom, the aquarium is kept on top of contact shelf paper(sticky side up)as part of a ff culturing station, the area, the station, and all equip should be cleaned at every round of cultures (takes like 3 min.)
5. to help reduce/discourage release of airborne pathogens, immediately discard any suspicious cultures, when handling infected cultures wear at least a paper mask and dish washing gloves (not the ones from the kitchen), anything is better than nothing and it cant hurt.
6. hopefully you notice any infected cultures immediately (awareness), when discarding an obviously infected culture, stay up wind and discard the container without opening , never open in the house (common sense)

7. also, to help reduce/discourage release of airborne pathogens, i keep wash cloths on top of my ff cultures, i also keep a small hand towel over the top of the aquarium (i use a small stick or long bamboo skewer to keep it from falling in). even though most pathogens could float right through that, this helps reduce the free exchange of air between your living area and the cultures, in 2 layers

8. treat any suspicious cultures as though they were fully infected and pathogenic. if you notice an infected culture, then do not remove the wash cloth, instead wet the wash cloth with a spray bottle until it is soaked, and leave in place until you have discarded the culture outside. (while wearing gloves, a mask, and standing up wind) hold your breath at the moment you remove the washcloth and stay upwind. do not put it in a plastic bag, if there are airborne pathogens in your culture, removing the wash cloth will only release them in qty, if you put it in a plastic bag, then the instant you release the wash cloth, the airborne pathogens will be released and freely exchange with air in the bag, the instant you close the bag, a woosh of infected air will be expelled from the bag directly at your face, greatly increasing your risk of inhalation. if there are suspicious cultures, i use a germicidal lotion and wash my hands and arms afterwards, probably better to shower. i use a clean wash cloth and hand towel to cover the remaining cultures, so i am not continuing to infect my cultures and environment. this is similar to basic mycological protocol for handling infected cultures in a non lab environment. probably also a good idea to put dirty ones in a bucket of bleach/water before washing with your regular laundry.

9. remember that not all pathogens that you may encounter while culturing ffs are airborne pathogens, many are transmitted by contact, so washing, disinfecting afterwards is prudent, since all infections can not be seen, imo its even a good idea when handling any cultures whether obviously infected or not. and of course never put your hands to your mouth or eyes after handling any culture. jmo
 
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#4
I strongly agree with the above statement... i personaly wouldnt snick my nose in a tub of moist smelly flys,maggots..and who knows what..... sorry to hear of your health....my father has lung cancer and only smoked for 2 years when he was 16-18..hes 70 now.. life gets ya in any way it can.. i wish you luck in recovering...
 
#5
not that i havent done it, but using smell as a gauge for the health of your fruit fly cultures is not a healthy practice. there is a never ending list of things that could infect your ff cultures, just about any form of mold/bacteria, virus, (including pathogenic) could be lurking and could be a vector for pathogenic transmission to humans. they could even get infected with drosphilia melongaster, that would be horrible, ICK!

bacterial and yeast infections are common, anything slimy is likely bacterial/yeast related (possibly viral), and anything powdery is likely mold/spore related. viral infections may not even be seen. none of the infections are seen until they reach a certain stage of maturity anyway.

either category is capable of transmitting unhealthy things to humans and even your chams, best practice is to immediately discard even the slightest suspicious cultures so that you are not infecting new nearby cultures with the same thing, (not to mention yourself/family or your cham).

since these types of infections are often airborne, if clean cultures to be, are kept in proximity of infected cultures, (like in the same house), then it is actually possible to establish an environment that will automatically infect your new cultures, thereby making it almost impossible to create and or maintain clean cultures.

my best advice to anyone, setup a proper ff culturing station, discontinue the use of pet store mite infested, unruly melongaster cultures and culture your own hydei. when done on an ongoing basis, diy ff cultures are dirt cheap so just make more than needed, and just discard any/all suspicious ones without exception.

since both ff cultures and most mushroom cultures use a wet/semidry nutritious medium, and since both types of cultures often get infected with the same types of things, and since they are encountered in mycology even more often, this same question is commonly posed amongst mushroom growers, there is a link where this specific issue is discussed at length and in depth, and can sometimes even offer specific ids of the offending infections.

better safe than sorry.

read this;
common infections of mushroom cultures, you will notice that many of these are also ones that frequent ff cultures;

http://www.shroomery.org/5276/What-are-common-contaminants-of-the-mushroom-culture

follow this;
http://www.shroomery.org/forums/postlist.php/Board/22

read this;
http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/introurt.htm

there are pathogens all around us, as adult humans in a normal environment, we inhale as many as 10,000 pathogens a day, this is normal for a healthy adult human. its when the inhaled pathogenic load is excessive, or when the health/immunity of the receiving host organism (you, dog, cat, chameleon,whatever) is compromised, that's when infection is most likely. this also applies to ingested pathogens (ie; infected feeders in the case of chams), and it also applies to your dog, cat, chams, whatever, thats what i meant by the "importance of husbandry" as in this thread; https://www.chameleonforums.com/okay-66614/ chams in the wild often do well for long term with relatively high pathogenic loads, because they have gods husbandry, a perfect 24/7/365 natural environment , imo, generally speaking, this would usually be preferable to even the best of man made environments. so ie, they are either in prime health so the pathogenic load is acceptable, or they perish, its natures way, my guess is, if all the cham pathogens perished, they would probably perish too (as imo, would we).

hopefully this helps illustrate the importance of cham husbandry, and striving to keep your cham in optimum health at all times. whether it be you, or your chameleon, there is a direct correlation between the type/amount of pathogen received, and the health/immunity of the receiving host/rate of infection.

sorry didnt mean to hijack the thread or get off post,

when you inhale an infected ff culture (or mushroom culture/any kind of infected culture), its not inconceivable that you could inhale 10's of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of particles (any airborne bacteria, mold, spores, viruses etc.), in a single wiff.
if you can smell it, you are inhaling it, (ie: the smell sensation is actually triggered by the particles you are inhaling). if those particles are pathogenic, then you could easily exceed the excepted loading levels for that particular pathogen/healthy human adult. this is why laboratories have protocols for handling possibly pathogenic cultures, to protect the operator.

i know everyone is going to write in, and post how they have cultured ffs for years, and smelled hundreds or thousands of infected cultures (as have I), and that may very well be true, but it is also blind luck.

i have cultured ffs, mushroom mycelia, and other things, for the past 40 years. this is an important thread, and i am glad that the op brought this up, i hope all forum members eventually view this thread.

as a 58 yr old non smoker, who is currently dying of lung disease, i tell you and all forum members, that this issue should not be taken lightly. there is now even some question as to whether my past culturing experiences have contributed to this condition.

dont get me wrong, i am not trying to create panic among forum ff culturers, or discourage others from doing so.
i am only trying to point out that before you culture anything, or even keep anything, (like a cham), culture a little common sense, first culture a little knowledge of what you are doing, then culture some awareness and caution, i guaranty you will have safer and better results at what you are trying to culture/raise.

a few basic ff culturing precautions/practices;

1.first and foremost, to minimize the risks involved, be informed, learn a basic understanding of what you are doing, including proper procedures and the risks involved, dont just buy media and start culturing with no knowledge, not safe, not usually successful anyway.

2. set up small station specifically dedicated to ff culturing, dont mingle it with other projects (ie: feeder raising, gutloading, weighing, treating etc).

3. imo, a remote location (like a garage) is preferable. i realize that this is not practical for many (including me) and i dont think its absolutely essential for safe culturing, but, if its available, then why not. a second choice would be a utility closet or something out of the main living space. and for those who can afford it, a true hepa air filter may not be a bad idea. i do think it is possible to culture in a living space as long as common sense and a couple of precautions apply,(next)

4. not so much related to pathogens, but fyi, i culture my ffs in their containers, in a 10 g aquarium that has 1/8" of germicidal soapy water in the bottom, the aquarium is kept on top of contact shelf paper(sticky side up)as part of a ff culturing station, the area, the station, and all equip should be cleaned at every round of cultures (takes like 3 min.)
5. to help reduce/discourage release of airborne pathogens, immediately discard any suspicious cultures, when handling infected cultures wear at least a paper mask and dish washing gloves (not the ones from the kitchen), anything is better than nothing and it cant hurt.
6. hopefully you notice any infected cultures immediately (awareness), when discarding an obviously infected culture, stay up wind and discard the container without opening , never open in the house (common sense)

7. also, to help reduce/discourage release of airborne pathogens, i keep wash cloths on top of my ff cultures, i also keep a small hand towel over the top of the aquarium (i use a small stick or long bamboo skewer to keep it from falling in). even though most pathogens could float right through that, this helps reduce the free exchange of air between your living area and the cultures, in 2 layers

8. treat any suspicious cultures as though they were fully infected and pathogenic. if you notice an infected culture, then do not remove the wash cloth, instead wet the wash cloth with a spray bottle until it is soaked, and leave in place until you have discarded the culture outside. (while wearing gloves, a mask, and standing up wind) hold your breath at the moment you remove the washcloth and stay upwind. do not put it in a plastic bag, if there are airborne pathogens in your culture, removing the wash cloth will only release them in qty, if you put it in a plastic bag, then the instant you release the wash cloth, the airborne pathogens will be released and freely exchange with air in the bag, the instant you close the bag, a woosh of infected air will be expelled from the bag directly at your face, greatly increasing your risk of inhalation. if there are suspicious cultures, i use a germicidal lotion and wash my hands and arms afterwards, probably better to shower. i use a clean wash cloth and hand towel to cover the remaining cultures, so i am not continuing to infect my cultures and environment. this is similar to basic mycological protocol for handling infected cultures in a non lab environment. probably also a good idea to put dirty ones in a bucket of bleach/water before washing with your regular laundry.

9. remember that not all pathogens that you may encounter while culturing ffs are airborne pathogens, many are transmitted by contact, so washing, disinfecting afterwards is prudent, since all infections can not be seen, imo its even a good idea when handling any cultures whether obviously infected or not. and of course never put your hands to your mouth or eyes after handling any culture. jmo
Oh I love this. Thank you so much!!!!

Great information!
 

Eltortu

Established Member
#7
...and keep the lids tightly closed and use the ones with paper filter on top. No open holes, no matter how small because mites will get in your culture. Coming to CA? Welcome to the jungle...:D
 
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