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General Information, Caring For & Breeding Silkworms


Background

Silkworms are the larva of a moth (Bombyx mori) native to Asia that spins a cocoon of fine, strong, lustrous fiber that is the source of commercial silk. The culture of silkworms is called sericulture. The various species of silkworms raised today are distinguished by the quality of the silk they produce. Silkworms feed on the leaves of the mulberries (genus Morus) and sometimes on the Osage orange (Maclura pomifera).

Bombyx Mori will not bite, making an ideal worm for feeding most reptiles, amphibians and other animals, and they offer great nutritional value.

Newborn are small enough for most baby reptiles to eat and young silkworms can even be fed so they will grow to a desired size. Silkworms are soft-bodied, slow moving and can grow to 3 inches in length. They are also relatively fast growing, reaching about 3 inches in length and ready to cocoon in as little as 25 - 28 days.

Silkworms go through four stages of development, as do most insects: egg, larva, pupa and adult. The adult (imago) stage is the silkworm moth. The larva is the silkworm caterpillar. The pupa is what the silkworm changes into after spinning its cocoon before emerging as a moth. Since the silkworm grows so much, it must shed its skin four times while it is growing. These stages-within-a-stage are called instars.

Today, the silkworm moth lives only in captivity. Silkworms have been domesticated so that they can no longer survive independently in nature, particularly since they have lost the ability to fly. All wild populations are extinct. Also contributing to their extinction is the extraordinary fact that they only eat mulberry leaves.

Silkworms have been used by researchers to study pheromones or sexual attractant substances. The pheromones are released by female moths and the males detect the chemicals with olfactory hairs on their antennae. This allows the male to find the female for mating. The male antennae are made of many small hairs to increase the chances of picking up small amounts of the pheromones over long distances.

How to Grow Your Worms to the Perfect Size

The great thing about silkworms is that they only grow as much as you feed them, and they can go for a week or two without food. Say you have a couple hundred small silkworms, but you have a big bull frog or iguana. All you have to do is feed the worms as much as they'll eat, keep them warm and dry, and in a few days, you'll have some good sized worms. Have too many silkworms? Not a problem, feed them once or twice a week and they'll stay alive until you need them without growing much larger.

Wash hands thoroughly before handling the worms or the food or they may develop bacterial problems. Using a cheese grater, grate a small amount of food onto the worms and repeat until the worms reach the desired size. For best results, maintain temperatures between 78° and 88° F.

Excessive condensation forming in the container after feeding is the leading cause of failure. If this condensation does form, take the lid off your container and allow the container and old food to completely dry out. In the future, make sure the previous food is dry before feeding again. Old damp food is a breeding ground for mold and other problems, dry food is not.

As the silkworms grow, you may need to transfer your worms to a larger plastic container. The lid needs to have ventilation holes. If not, you need to vent the lid so the silkworms won't suffocate and to allow condensation to dissipate. You can also use a shoebox. The old food and waste matter can be removed, but does not have to be if it remains thoroughly dry.

Under ideal conditions (78° to 88° F and allowed to feed nearly continuously) silkworms can go from egg to 1 inch in length in about 12 days, and 3 inches in under 30 days. The worms will begin to spin cocoons at about 28 - 30 days old or when they are between 2 1/2 and 3 inches long.

From Cocoon to Moth

Silkworm moths emerge from their cocoons after spending about two to three weeks metamorphosing. As moths, they do not eat or fly. They will usually mate, lay eggs and die within a week. Fertile eggs turn from yellow to gray or purple in a week or so. If the eggs don't hatch within 3 weeks, they usually will not hatch until the following year (see above-from egg to larva).

Proper Handling Procedures

Again, in order for your worms to stay healthy for many weeks, you'll need to keep the silkworms as dry as possible. If condensation builds up during feeding, vent the container lid to prevent excess humidity.

Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling the worms or their food. Silkworms can be susceptible to bacteria if you don't properly handle them. As long as the container environment remains dry, your worms will be fine.

Mold develops from high temperatures and high humidity. If the worms are covered with droppings, silk and old food for too long, mold may develop and kill the worms. If mold does develop, grate about 1/4 inch of food (sold separately) all over the worms with a cheese grater. As the worms crawl to the top of the new food pile you can transfer them off the moldy food and place them into a new container.

Silkworms are susceptible to bruising and dying if not handled with care, especially as they grow larger. When handling and transferring the worms, be very gentle.

Shop for Silkworms

Mark Spranger is the owner of http://www.silkwormshop.com and http://www.buyfruitflies.com


TODAYS NEWS BY OFFICEJAX FREE ADVERTISING AND AD EXCHANGE SOLUTIONSMORE PETS INFORMATION RESOURCES updated Fri. May / 29 / 2020

3 ways your pets feel the COVID-19 anxiety, too - Futurity: Research News
3 ways your pets feel the COVID-19 anxiety, too  Futurity: Research News

Pets Q&A: Dealing with a digger - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Pets Q&A: Dealing with a digger  Minneapolis Star Tribune

Pets of the Week | Pets - Index-Journal
Pets of the Week | Pets  Index-Journal

How to introduce a new dog to other pets - WTOC
How to introduce a new dog to other pets  WTOC

Briona and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week - AZCentral
Briona and more pets up for adoption in Phoenix-area shelters this week  AZCentral

Captain’s Log: Pet Food Oddities for Odd Pets During the Pandemic - Noozhawk
Captain’s Log: Pet Food Oddities for Odd Pets During the Pandemic  Noozhawk

Letter: Legislation would protect pets, livestock and people - Reading Eagle
Letter: Legislation would protect pets, livestock and people  Reading Eagle

Rio animal shelter delivers pets to Brazilians in lockdown – in pictures - The Guardian
Rio animal shelter delivers pets to Brazilians in lockdown – in pictures  The Guardian

Your pets are stressed out, too - Purdue News Service
Your pets are stressed out, too  Purdue News Service

You likely won't get COVID-19 from your pets—but you could give it to them - Medical Xpress
You likely won't get COVID-19 from your pets—but you could give it to them  Medical Xpress

Is it safe to take your pet to groomers as states reopen? Here’s what experts say - Fresno Bee
Is it safe to take your pet to groomers as states reopen? Here’s what experts say  Fresno Bee

American Heart Association brings back Best Friend Fridays to highlight how pets can help during COVID-19 - WTVB News
American Heart Association brings back Best Friend Fridays to highlight how pets can help during COVID-19  WTVB News

Animals Matter: How to prepare your pet and prevent separation anxiety when you return to work - San Antonio Express-News
Animals Matter: How to prepare your pet and prevent separation anxiety when you return to work  San Antonio Express-News

10 things to do with pets in L.A. this coronavirus summer - Los Angeles Times
10 things to do with pets in L.A. this coronavirus summer  Los Angeles Times

Fire and Rescue saves ten pets from house fire in Toledo, Ohio - WCYB
Fire and Rescue saves ten pets from house fire in Toledo, Ohio  WCYB

A Paws for Pets - York News-Times
A Paws for Pets  York News-Times

Betty Chinn's Homeless Foundation Receives Grant to Care for Pets - North Coast Journal
Betty Chinn's Homeless Foundation Receives Grant to Care for Pets  North Coast Journal

Adoptable pets for May 29-June 4 - Knoxville News Sentinel
Adoptable pets for May 29-June 4  Knoxville News Sentinel

Pets perish in fire | News, Sports, Jobs - Fort Dodge Messenger
Pets perish in fire | News, Sports, Jobs  Fort Dodge Messenger

Pet Of The Week And Free Food For Pets - The Transylvania Times
Pet Of The Week And Free Food For Pets  The Transylvania Times

dvm360® and Banfield Pet Hospital Set to Host Virtual Career Fair - Odessa American
dvm360® and Banfield Pet Hospital Set to Host Virtual Career Fair  Odessa American

Animal Welfare League of Alexandria distributes 5K pounds of free pet supplies during coronavirus pandemic - WTOP
Animal Welfare League of Alexandria distributes 5K pounds of free pet supplies during coronavirus pandemic  WTOP

Pet of the Week Ruby | News - Independent Tribune
Pet of the Week Ruby | News  Independent Tribune

'The Kaylee Project' warns against dangers of leaving pets, kids in hot cars - WBAY
'The Kaylee Project' warns against dangers of leaving pets, kids in hot cars  WBAY

Global Pet Oral Care Products Market Forecast to Generate Revenue of USD 2.81 billion by end of 2025 - PRNewswire
Global Pet Oral Care Products Market Forecast to Generate Revenue of USD 2.81 billion by end of 2025  PRNewswire

Toledo Fire and Rescue saves ten pets from house fire in East Toledo - WNWO NBC 24
Toledo Fire and Rescue saves ten pets from house fire in East Toledo  WNWO NBC 24

Rescue pets of the week: Ella and Shadow and Pirate and Slipper - SC Times
Rescue pets of the week: Ella and Shadow and Pirate and Slipper  SC Times

Oshkosh Area Humane Society has small pets for adoption - WBAY
Oshkosh Area Humane Society has small pets for adoption  WBAY

Man’s grooming routine for ‘pets’ will make you ROFL. Watch - Hindustan Times
Man’s grooming routine for ‘pets’ will make you ROFL. Watch  Hindustan Times

Give Back Thursday: H.O.P.E. For Animals – low cost vet for pets - WANE
Give Back Thursday: H.O.P.E. For Animals – low cost vet for pets  WANE

How to Cope with Losing a Pet - Tufts Now
How to Cope with Losing a Pet  Tufts Now

Pets of the week: Muese is a sight for sore eyes - Bucks County Courier Times
Pets of the week: Muese is a sight for sore eyes  Bucks County Courier Times

Pets of the Week: Speckles and Blythe - Daily Bulldog
Pets of the Week: Speckles and Blythe  Daily Bulldog

Craven-Pamlico pets of the week - New Bern Sun Journal
Craven-Pamlico pets of the week  New Bern Sun Journal

Homeward Bound Pet Rescue's Pet of the Week - Simon - Gilmer - Fetchyournews.com
Homeward Bound Pet Rescue's Pet of the Week - Simon - Gilmer  Fetchyournews.com

PET OF THE WEEK, JUNE 1, 2020: MEET NALA - wvua23.com
PET OF THE WEEK, JUNE 1, 2020: MEET NALA  wvua23.com

Adoptable Pet Of The Week - Sol - Santa Monica Daily Press
Adoptable Pet Of The Week - Sol  Santa Monica Daily Press

Greeley cop log: ‘Cracked out’ women fight on yard; upstairs pets relieve themselves on porch, leaking to lower level - Greeley Tribune
Greeley cop log: ‘Cracked out’ women fight on yard; upstairs pets relieve themselves on porch, leaking to lower level  Greeley Tribune

DIGGING DEEPER: Pandemic pet problem - KVOA Tucson News
DIGGING DEEPER: Pandemic pet problem  KVOA Tucson News

Local pet kennel comes to aid of victims of abuse and their pets - Steamboat Pilot & Today
Local pet kennel comes to aid of victims of abuse and their pets  Steamboat Pilot & Today

Veterinarian Addresses Concerns About Pets & COVID-19 - WHMI
Veterinarian Addresses Concerns About Pets & COVID-19  WHMI

Castro Valley artist creating 3×3 masterpieces to support pet rescue - East Bay Times
Castro Valley artist creating 3×3 masterpieces to support pet rescue  East Bay Times

AWLA Provides 5,000 Lbs. of Pet Supplies to Pet Owners This Spring - Alexandria Living Magazine
AWLA Provides 5,000 Lbs. of Pet Supplies to Pet Owners This Spring  Alexandria Living Magazine

KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Coco - KCBD
KCBD’s Pet of the Day: Meet Coco  KCBD

24 Adoptable Shelter Pets Available Right Now in San Antonio - San Antonio Current
24 Adoptable Shelter Pets Available Right Now in San Antonio  San Antonio Current

Pets of the Week: May 28, 2020 - WSIL TV
Pets of the Week: May 28, 2020  WSIL TV

Furloughed workers hold pet food drive - WANE
Furloughed workers hold pet food drive  WANE

Colonial Capital pets of the week - New Bern Sun Journal
Colonial Capital pets of the week  New Bern Sun Journal

Ariana Grande Has Almost 1 Dozen Pets; Here Are Their Names and Types - Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Ariana Grande Has Almost 1 Dozen Pets; Here Are Their Names and Types  Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Are you paying more attention to your dog or cat during coronavirus quarantine? You're not alone, survey shows - USA TODAY
Are you paying more attention to your dog or cat during coronavirus quarantine? You're not alone, survey shows  USA TODAY

Pet Tales: Guardian Angels train and meet up with partners, finally - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pet Tales: Guardian Angels train and meet up with partners, finally  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Virus delays flooding solutions at Austin Pets Alive! building - KXAN.com
Virus delays flooding solutions at Austin Pets Alive! building  KXAN.com

PetValu invites pet owners to enter photo calendar contest - Middletown Press
PetValu invites pet owners to enter photo calendar contest  Middletown Press

May 29 roundup: Lawsuit protections, no layoffs and Pet Friday - Inside Higher Ed
May 29 roundup: Lawsuit protections, no layoffs and Pet Friday  Inside Higher Ed

Pet Owners Making the Cannabis Connection - Progressive Grocer
Pet Owners Making the Cannabis Connection  Progressive Grocer

18 products that actually remove pet hair - USA TODAY
18 products that actually remove pet hair  USA TODAY

Online Pet Adoptions a Success, Chicago Shelters Say - WTTW News
Online Pet Adoptions a Success, Chicago Shelters Say  WTTW News

Hidden Paws Network helping pet owners in need with free food, supplies - WeAreGreenBay.com
Hidden Paws Network helping pet owners in need with free food, supplies  WeAreGreenBay.com

Animal Humane Society hoping families adopt pocket pets who still need a home - KSTP
Animal Humane Society hoping families adopt pocket pets who still need a home  KSTP

How to Handle Your Pet's Anxiety - Lifehacker
How to Handle Your Pet's Anxiety  Lifehacker

Thief makes off with dozens of puppies and birds from Bronx pet store - New York Post
Thief makes off with dozens of puppies and birds from Bronx pet store  New York Post

Adopting a Pet During the Coronavirus Pandemic - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Adopting a Pet During the Coronavirus Pandemic  NBC 10 Philadelphia

Adoptable pets from Arizona Humane Society and Maricopa County Animal Care (5/27/20) - ABC15 Arizona
Adoptable pets from Arizona Humane Society and Maricopa County Animal Care (5/27/20)  ABC15 Arizona

Pet Talk | Features | mtexpress.com - Idaho Mountain Express and Guide
Pet Talk | Features | mtexpress.com  Idaho Mountain Express and Guide

Mass. Pets Getting Seriously Hurt in Grooming Mishaps, Veterinarians Say - nbcboston.com
Mass. Pets Getting Seriously Hurt in Grooming Mishaps, Veterinarians Say  nbcboston.com

Families Foster Classroom Pets During Coronavirus Shutdown - NPR
Families Foster Classroom Pets During Coronavirus Shutdown  NPR

Local veterinarians seeing an increase of pets with snake bites - WBRC
Local veterinarians seeing an increase of pets with snake bites  WBRC

This is what happens to the pets left behind when their owners die from coronavirus - CNN
This is what happens to the pets left behind when their owners die from coronavirus  CNN

Grad student ‘brings’ pets to group homes - University of Georgia
Grad student ‘brings’ pets to group homes  University of Georgia

Pet of the Week, May 29, 2020 | News | kokomotribune.com - Kokomo Tribune
Pet of the Week, May 29, 2020 | News | kokomotribune.com  Kokomo Tribune

Coronavirus and pets: Scams exploit animal lovers in crisis - Los Angeles Times
Coronavirus and pets: Scams exploit animal lovers in crisis  Los Angeles Times

Want to adopt a pet? Here are 6 cuddly kittens to adopt now in Orlando - WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando
Want to adopt a pet? Here are 6 cuddly kittens to adopt now in Orlando  WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

N.J. pets in need: May 25, 2020 - nj.com
N.J. pets in need: May 25, 2020  nj.com

Local realtors team up with animal rescue for pet food giveaway in Boardman - WKBN.com
Local realtors team up with animal rescue for pet food giveaway in Boardman  WKBN.com

Which Celebrity's Pets Would You Want to Quarantine With? Vote! - Billboard
Which Celebrity's Pets Would You Want to Quarantine With? Vote!  Billboard

Your quarantined pet may be acting odd. Here’s how to help. - The Washington Post
Your quarantined pet may be acting odd. Here’s how to help.  The Washington Post

Humane Pennsylvania gives away 2,500 pounds of pet food in 30 minutes - Reading Eagle
Humane Pennsylvania gives away 2,500 pounds of pet food in 30 minutes  Reading Eagle

This Nationwide Virtual Pet Adoption Is a ‘First-Ever’ - NBC Southern California
This Nationwide Virtual Pet Adoption Is a ‘First-Ever’  NBC Southern California

Will pets have separation anxiety when we go back to work? - Globalnews.ca
Will pets have separation anxiety when we go back to work?  Globalnews.ca

Pets strange behavior amid COVID-19 - 11Alive.com WXIA
Pets strange behavior amid COVID-19  11Alive.com WXIA

How to tell your dog or cat that Beshear said it's OK to leave and go back to work now - Courier Journal
How to tell your dog or cat that Beshear said it's OK to leave and go back to work now  Courier Journal

Pets and the Humans Who Loved Them - The Wall Street Journal
Pets and the Humans Who Loved Them  The Wall Street Journal

Man stabbed his dog, dumped pet in garbage bin, police say - The Spokesman-Review
Man stabbed his dog, dumped pet in garbage bin, police say  The Spokesman-Review

Pets will feel the shock when you go back to work. Here's how you can help - KUTV 2News
Pets will feel the shock when you go back to work. Here's how you can help  KUTV 2News

Protecting the pets | Toledo Blade - Toledo Blade
Protecting the pets | Toledo Blade  Toledo Blade

Veterinarians reveal the biggest mistakes you're making when buying toys for your pets - Insider - INSIDER
Veterinarians reveal the biggest mistakes you're making when buying toys for your pets - Insider  INSIDER

We have 19 special pets ready to be adopted: May 23-24 - SILive.com
We have 19 special pets ready to be adopted: May 23-24  SILive.com

Owner's negative energy may adversely impact pets - The Daily Journal
Owner's negative energy may adversely impact pets  The Daily Journal

Pet of the Week: Meet Tyson - The News-Messenger
Pet of the Week: Meet Tyson  The News-Messenger

9 organizations giving a voice to US pet food processors - Pet Food Processing
9 organizations giving a voice to US pet food processors  Pet Food Processing

Hill's Pet Nutrition to Support Animal Shelters Impacted by COVID-19 - PetProductNews.com
Hill's Pet Nutrition to Support Animal Shelters Impacted by COVID-19  PetProductNews.com

Meet this week’s Perfect Pet: Pablo - WSAV-TV
Meet this week’s Perfect Pet: Pablo  WSAV-TV

Nightmare scenarios as travelers attempt to fly with pets amid coronavirus - ABC News
Nightmare scenarios as travelers attempt to fly with pets amid coronavirus  ABC News

Cumberland County family looking for escaped pet bird - ABC27
Cumberland County family looking for escaped pet bird  ABC27

Pets for Life helps Madison pet owners survive the pandemic - Madison.com
Pets for Life helps Madison pet owners survive the pandemic  Madison.com

How Safe Are Pets from Coronavirus? - Yahoo Finance
How Safe Are Pets from Coronavirus?  Yahoo Finance

Local veterinarian gives tips on preventing pet separation anxiety - 47abc - WMDT
Local veterinarian gives tips on preventing pet separation anxiety - 47abc  WMDT

How to adopt your next pet safely and virtually - The Verge
How to adopt your next pet safely and virtually  The Verge

Kennels at Austin Pets Alive! flood due to severe weather - FOX 7 Austin
Kennels at Austin Pets Alive! flood due to severe weather  FOX 7 Austin

Expert Tips on How to Keep Pets Happy and Safe at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic - PEOPLE
Expert Tips on How to Keep Pets Happy and Safe at Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic  PEOPLE

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