When mailing Drosophila stocks, the animals should ideally be at the embryonic, larval or pupal stage during transit, as adult flies present additional containment problems. Allow adult flies to lay in a plastic fly tube for 1-2 days, remove the adults and then package and mail the tube. Try to time the process so that the package can be collected by your mail service on the same day that you remove the adult flies. You should also consider when the package will reach the recipient, as it is probably best that it doesn't arrive during a weekend or a holiday period. In general, try to avoid your package being delayed for any period of time, as the storage conditions may not be optimal for fly survival, and the delay will increase the chance that adult flies will emerge during transit. Ideally, your package should reach the recipient within a week of leaving your hands. Note that although Drosophila are fairly temperature tolerant, you might avoid mailing during extreme hot or cold spells when possible.
Packaging Fly Tubes
When mailing flies, you should always use plastic (not glass) tubes containing solid food. The fly tube must have a tightly-fitting, but breathable, plug (cotton wool or commercial) which should be firmly held in place with tape to prevent it falling out during transit (see Photo 1). The tube should be packed in a container using bubble wrap, or other packing material, to prevent it moving around during transport. The container should then be sealed with tape to provide a second level of containment. Possible containers include a cardboard postal tube (see Photo 2) placed within a padded envelope, or a cardboard box (see Photo 3).
Simon Collier June 2015 - adapted from John Roote April 2012