This post is for all those that received silkworms from me this month. I gave away about 60 silkworms to the Hemet Christian Homeschoolers, and exactly 118 silkworms the V-CHEA homeschoolers.
The silkworm’s whole life lasts about 11 weeks. The silkworms I gave you began spinning cocoons on July 23rd. I am expecting the first moths to emerge approximately 18 days after June 23nd. I recommend a park play date near July 11th so your moths can find their mate. Then everyone can take home mated pairs.
When my moths found their mate I moved the pairs into a paper muffin tin liners. After they lay their eggs wait about three days until they turn brown. Brown means they are fertile eggs. Store the fertile eggs in a dark container in the cool cupboard or refrigerator as soon as they are brown. They will be viable for up to a year. Remember silk moths do NOT eat. They just mate and die within about two weeks. I did all the work. All you have to do is keep them safe and out of direct sunlight. The moths cannot fly. After they mate, move them into paper muffin tin cups (or similar) and then place that on a tray in a box or in a bug viewer. They flutter their wings and walk around a lot. They are interesting to watch. Keep them in a highly visible area.
How I Became a Silkworm Farmer
I received 38 silkworms on March 30th, 2012 from a teacher who gave them away on Craig’s List. I was told they were about 2 weeks old. I gave Charlotte 8 of them. They started spinning cocoons April 17th-22th. The first moth emerged on May 5th. The last one emerged a week later. The last moth died near May 31st. The silkworm’s whole life lasts about 11 weeks.
I was planning to store the eggs to raise them in February, but instead some of them hatched on May 31st. That is a lot of oops babies! Charlotte’s silkworm eggs did not hatch and we have not figured out why. The lesson is that I need to put the eggs in the refrigerator as soon as they turn brown.
This group of silkworms were huge and healthy. I feed them several times day. I enjoyed their company. They were very curious and they would frequently stop to stare at whatever I was doing. I had a busy summer planned so I needed to find them new homes by the end of June.
I read that once the first silkworm spins a cocoon that I can stop feeding all of them so they will spin out of self preservation. These silkworms were bigger than their parents and most had yellow feet so I removed all food after the first two silkworms cocooned on June 23nd. I was surprised that they did not all spin cocoons by June 28th. The ones that did not spin by the 28th will probably die. Taking them to the park on June 28th for the final give away probably stressed them too much.
Raising Silkworms: Their Lifecycle
The only food a silkworm needs is Mulberry leaves. They do not need water. They get all the water they need from fresh Mulbery leaves or silkworm chow (which is reconstituted Mulberry leaves). Silkworms only eat when they are a caterpillar. They never eat again once they spin a cocoon. Within seconds of emerging from their cocoons silkworms search for a mate. Females are larger than males. The female lays eggs. Silkworm moths live for less than two weeks. Silkworm eggs can be stored for up to a year in a dark container in a cupboard or refrigerator.
I will post photos and more information later. I don’t have time to do this all in one shot. My goal is to get all critical information up by July 11th. If I don’t get to it, then just rely on this site: http://www.suekayton.com/silk.htm.
Here are a bunch of sites also read. I realize this is too much information, but I don’t have time review and pair them down. I probably will leave them here until I raise silkworms again.
Silkworm Life Cycle
Silk Worm Care / Metamorphosis Part 1
Silk Worm Care Part 2
Things to eat, made from silkworms
Sericulture Farming by Award Winner Farmer Geevarghese Mathew from Central Silkboard
Additional Information on Eating Silkworms:
Japanese and Chinese Astronaouts recipe for Space Cookies
Beondegi, a Korean snack food
Five Weird Korean Foods To Try in Seoul
Girl Meets Bug: Silkworms are edible
http://www.livestrong.com/article/479240-how-to-eat-mulberry-leaves-in-a-salad/#ixzz1ylobAruK – How to Eat Mulberry Leaves in a Salad
Additional Information on Silkworm Lifecycle:
Silkworm Life Cycle
From Cocoon to Silk – Silkworm processing
The Story of Silk
Miniture Mulberry Tree
Silkworm Food / Chow
Additional Information on Harvesting Silk:
Stretching Silk Cocoons + Knitting from a Hankie (mawatta)
I found these science experiments, but misplaced the links:
Raising Fluorescent silkworms
Choosing what color silkworm will spin
I have a slew of links in my bookmarks on how to make your own silk rendered. Peace silk is silk that is rendered without killing the silkworm.
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FUN FACT: Did you know that Silkworms don’t have mouths – http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081108032715AAkeaKy