WE ARE TEMPORARILLY CLOSED -- All orders placed now will be shipped 5/30/2022.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Fruit Flies - Frequently Asked Questions General Shipping Questions:
Q1 - When will my order ship?

Q2 - When will I receive my order?

Q3 - Do you ship outside the U.S. or to Hawaii and Alaska?

Q4 - I have an emergency and need an order ASAP. What can you do?

Q5 - Are your animals guaranteed to arrive alive?

Q6 - It's cold, far away, etc. where I live. Is it safe to ship live animals to me?

Q7 - May I pickup an order at your shop instead of having it shipped?

Customer Service and Ordering:
Q8 - May I place an order over the phone instead of on the website?

Q9 - I have a problem with my order. What should I do?

Q10 - What is your phone number?

Q11 - I would like to order praying mantises, silkworms, fruit flies, etc. How much is that and what is the total, including shipping?

Q12 - I placed an order, but have not received it or gotten any confirmation. What's going on?

Q13 - I did not receive tracking information for my shipment?

Q14 - May I return my purchase?

Q15 - What forms of payment do you accept?

Q16 - I'm having trouble placing an order. Can you help?

Q17 - When I place an order, is my personal and banking information safe?

Fruit Fly Questions:
Q18 - Why don't your flies fly?

Q19 - I'm new to this. How do I care for and culture your fruit flies?

Q20 - What the heck is a fruit fly "culture"?

Q21 - My fruit flies died. What happened?

Q22 - How do I deal with all these flies without getting them everywhere?

Q23 - How long will my fruit fly culture stay viable and continue production?

Q24 - How many flies should I feed my pet?

Q25 - What do fruit flies eat?

Q26 - Which one of the two fruit flies you offer is better, D. hydei or D. melanogaster?

Q27 - Why use our Drosophila fruit flies for scientific study and research?

Silkworm Questions:
Q28 - I have lots of questions about silkworms?

Praying Mantis Questions:
Q29 - I have lots of questions about praying mantis?



Q1 - When will my order ship?
A - We ship Monday through Wednesday only. Sorry, no exceptions. Orders placed after 10am Wednesday are shipped the following Monday. Otherwise, your order will ship the next day. If the scheduled shipping day falls on a postal holiday, your order will ship the next scheduled shipping day. For more information, please see our Shipping Info Page.
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Q2 - When will I receive my order?
A - We ship Monday through Wednesday only. After your order is shipped, it will usually take 2-3 days in transit until you receive it, occasionally longer. If you live in the San Diego area, it will most likely take one day in transit. Please note, USPS does not guarantee that your priority mail shipment will arrive within the 2-3 day window, so it may sometimes take longer. In such a case, we would please ask for your patience and understanding. If you need 1-2 day shipping guaranteed, please contact us to make arrangements.
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Q3 - Do you ship outside the U.S. or to Hawaii and Alaska?
A - No, we do no ship outside the U.S. We do not ship to Hawaii. We DO ship to Alaska, but cannot offer a live guarantee.
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Q4 - I have an emergency and need an order ASAP. What can you do?
A - We understand you have an emergency and will try to help. We can ship via 1-2 day USPS Priority-Express. Please contact us with your zip and what you will order. We will quote you the cost for the 1-2 day express option. Please note, we can only ship Monday through Wednesday.
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Q5 - Are your animals guaranteed to arrive alive?
A - Yes, we include a live guarantee with your purchase. However, there are certain conditions of that guarantee. Before you place an order, please be sure to read our live guarantee policy HERE.
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Q6 - It's cold, far away, etc. where I live. Is it safe to ship live animals to me?
A - Yes, we ship our products all over the country in cold and hot weather and very seldom have a problem. The biggest potential danger comes AFTER delivery. Please be sure you attend to your package right away and be sure it's not sitting in the sun or a hot mailbox for any length of time. Even in mild temperatures, the sun can bake your package. If your daytime high temperature will be 40 degrees or below, do order a heat pack and you should be just fine in freezing weather. Long shipping delays can occasionally result in a DOA. We do, however, offer a live guarantee. You'll find the details and terms of the live guarantee HERE.
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Q7 - May I pickup an order at your shop instead of having it shipped?
A - Unfortunately, no. We ship orders only.
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Q8 - May I place an order over the phone instead of on the website?
A - For security and administrative reasons, we can only accept orders placed on the website. Don't worry, our site is completely safe and secure and we do not sell your personal data. For more information about your privacy and data security, please see our privacy policy and pledge HERE.
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Q9 - I have a problem with my order. What should I do?
A - Please contact us right away and we will do our best to secure your satisfaction and make it right.
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Q10 - What is your phone number?
A - As an online business, the fastest and most efficient way for you to contact us is by using our contact form HERE.
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Q11 - I would like to order praying mantises, silkworms, fruit flies, etc.
How much is that and what is the total, including shipping?

A - All products and prices are listed on our website. If you would like to know what your grand total would be, the best way is to add the items to your shopping cart and pretend you are going to check out. Your shipping and total will be displayed without entering any payment information.
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Q12 - I placed an order, but have not received it or gotten any confirmation. What's going on?
A - There are several possibilities. Perhaps you did not complete the order to the final step. Or maybe the shipment is on its way and is running late. We also may have tried to contact you with a problem or question about your order and did not receive a reply. In such cases, the correspondence is most likely in your junk mail folder. Whatever the case, please contact us and we will let you know the status of your order.
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Q13 - I did not receive tracking information for my shipment?
A - We automatically send the tracking information to the email address you gave when you placed the order. If you did not receive that message, please check your junk mail folder or your deleted items folder in case you missed it. If you still cannot find it, let us know and we'll happily have that resent.
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Q14 - May I return my purchase?
A - Living and perishable items cannot be returned due to obvious reasons. Silkworm food is a perishable item. Gift cards cannot be returned or transferred. Non-living items can be returned unused and unopened within 30 days. The shipping cost will not be returned unless the item was defective or otherwise not as described.

Please contact us and then return your purchase to:
The Silkworm Shop
PO Box 84773
San Diego CA 92138

Please see the full details of our return policy HERE.
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Q15 - What forms of payment do you accept?
A - We accept all major credit cards and mobile/digital payment methods including paypal. We also accept money orders and personal checks.
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Q16 - I'm having trouble placing an order. Can you help?
A - Of course we can. Contact Us and let us know what's up and we can certainly remedy the problem. Please note- For security reasons, we can only accept orders from the website. We cannot accept phone orders.
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Q17 - When I place an order, is my personal and banking information safe?
A - Absolutely! Our store checkout uses https/ssl technology. HTTPS uses an encryption protocol to encrypt communications. The protocol is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), which secures communications by using what’s known as an asymmetric public key infrastructure. In this way, you can be sure your data is safe as it travels over the internet.

Many ecommerce websites will sell your non-banking personal data. But The Fruit Fly Shop recognizes that individuals with whom we conduct business value their privacy. As such, we do not under any circumstances nor have we at any time sold any of our user's personal information. And we pledge never to do so.
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Q18 - Why don't your flies fly?
A - Our flies don't fly. That's the great thing about them. They cannot fly because the 1/8'' Drosophila hydei have been genetically engineered so that their wing muscles are too week for flight. The Drosophila melanogaster have been breed so that they do not have wings at all. No wings, no flight. Because our flies do not fly, they are perfect for many uses, including as a live feeder and for conducting various experiments on.
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Q19 - I'm new to this. How do I care for and culture your fruit flies?
A - It's a fairly simple process actually. Our products do come with detailed instructions on keeping and propagating the flies. But a quick run down goes like this: If you order fruit flies with the breeding culture, you'll receive a large container with white food in it and a smaller container with excelsior and the flies. Scrape down the sides and tap the container repeatedly on a hard surface so the food settles into an even layer on the bottom. Place about 50 flies into the feeding culture. The rest can be used to feed your animals or for whatever use you have. The breeding culture should be kept at least in the 70s and should be left alone except for an occasionally misting if it looks dry. In a week or two, you will begin to see little white worms, which are actually the fruit fly larvae. These larvae will grow larger for a number of days before pupating. The pupae look like brown oblong cases. After a week or so, the pupae will begin hatching out into the new adult flies. Each breeding culture can produce hundreds of new flies over a life span of 4-5 weeks. Your new flies will be abundant, vigorous and just waiting to fulfill your needs.
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Q20 - What the heck is a fruit fly "culture"?
A - "Culturing" is defined as growing (microorganisms, tissues, etc.) in or on a controlled or defined medium. So when we say "fruit fly culturing," we simply mean breeding fruit flies in a certain self-contained enclosure with food for them. When we say "fruit fly culture," we mean the whole shebang- the container and lid, food and perching material as well as the flies themselves and their future offspring.
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Q21 - My fruit flies died. What happened?
A - Although culturing and breeding fruit flies is a rather easy process, some things can go wrong. As long as you follow our included instructions, you shouldn't have any problem. It's mostly common sense. Don't put the culture in direct sun or a hot/cold place. Be sure the temperature is warm enough. Around 80 is ideal, but temperatures in the 70s should be fine. Another thing that actually happens is that folks use the wrong lid. The feeding culture is shipped with a non-breathable lid. The flies are shipped separate in a container with a breathable lid. This breathable lid is the one that will be put on the larger breeding culture after transferring the flies. Also, don't let the culture dry out. Especially if you live in a dry climate, give the food on the bottom a misting when needed. Some folks are surprised when their order of "flies only" begin to die. This is our product that does not include the feeding culture and the flies die if not fed your own food or used right away.

Overall our flies are very easy to care for and culture. But sometimes things such as these do happen. While we do guarantee live delivery, please understand that we cannot offer a further live guarantee after your shipment has arrived. If your flies do arrive dead, please let us know right away so that we can apply our live guarantee policy.
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Q22 - How do I deal with all these flies without getting them everywhere?
A - We send you many many flies and they must be put in places, such as your pet's enclosure and into the feeding culture. It's not always easy to avoid having some escape because these little guys are active and want to trot off into all directions. In our experience, the best way to handle them is to use a plastic bowl with high sides. Pour the flies from the shipping container into the bowl. Keep the shipping excelsior (straw) out of the bowl. As they fall into the bowl, continue tapping the sides so the crawling flies fall back down to the bottom. Just keep moderately tapping throughout and none will be able to get to the top. After all the flies are in the bowl, tilt it over the destination and firmly tap them out until the desired number have been deposited. You'll get the hang of it soon. Another helpful hint is to put the container of flies in the fridge for a couple of minutes. The flies will then become lethargic and slow moving, thus making handling easier.

If you need to deposit just a few flies into your pet's enclosure, gently tap the bottom of the breeding culture against the top of a table to knock them all down to the very bottom, then tip the culture over where you want them to fall into. Shake it a bit to get just a few to fall out.
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Q23 - How long will my fruit fly culture stay viable and continue production?
A - Each culture has a life span of about 4-6 weeks. The first generation of flies will be used by you or die, and their offspring will continue to thrive and reproduce for some time, providing a continuous supply of new flies. Please note, your life span results may vary according to conditions such as temperature and environment.
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Q24 - How many flies should I feed my pet?
A - Sorry, we cannot offer instructions on the feeding and care for your pet. We can, however, offer instructions and advise on caring for any and all of the creatures we sell.

Each species of animal and each individual animal have different feeding needs and requirements that we cannot properly advise you on. It also depends on how much your specific animal is used to eating as well as size and age. We recommend thoroughly researching the subject of your particular animal's care so you'll know exactly what and how much to feed.
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Q25 - What do fruit flies eat?
A - The fruit flies feed on decaying materials, including fruits and vegetables. If you're really on a budget, you can go this route. But it's messy and difficult to maintain. A much easier route is to feed them our specially formulated fruit fly medium. This can be purchased ready-to-use in containers with the flies. Or, you may be interested in our dry feeding media. Just pour into a suitable container, add water, mix and add flies. We also offer kits which include the feeding media along with everything else needed to successfully culture flies by the thousands.
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Q26 - Which one of the two fruit flies you offer is better, D. hydei or D. melanogaster?
A - It depends on your needs. The main difference is the size- Drosophila hydei, at 1/8th of an inch, are a larger than Drosophila melanogaster, at 1/16th of an inch. They are two separate species and technically one is no better than the other. The hydei reproduce slower but are more food per fly since they are larger. The melanogaster reproduce faster but each fruit fly isn't as much food.
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Q27 - Why use our Drosophila fruit flies for scientific study and research?
A - 1. They are small and easy to handle, especially since they do not fly.
2. They can be easily anesthetized and manipulated individually with unsophisticated equipment.
3. They are sexually dimorphic. In other words, males and females are different. This makes it quite easy to differentiate the sexes.
4. Virgin or juvenile fruit flies are physically distinctive from mature adults, making it easy to obtain virgin males and females for genetic crosses.
5. These flies have a short gestation time (10-12 days).
6. Drosophila does well at room temperature.
7. The care and culture of our fruit flies requires little equipment, is low in cost and uses little space and resources.
8. Our flies and cultures are mite-free and you, therefore, do not run the risk of having the mites skew your results or interfere with the healthy culturing of flies. Some vendors cannot say the same.
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Q28 - I have lots of questions about silkworms?
A - Please visit our Silkworm Shop FAQ Page. This is our sister website, and you'll find a wide range of silkworm information there.
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Q29 - I have lots of questions about praying mantis?
A - Please visit our Praying Mantis Shop FAQ Page. This is our sister website, and you'll find a wealth of praying mantis information there.
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