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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 Wed. August / 12 / 2020

Lifelike robotic pets are helping isolated seniors avoid loneliness - CNN
Lifelike robotic pets are helping isolated seniors avoid loneliness  CNN

How to Care for Pets as Adoption Rates Rise - Caravan News
How to Care for Pets as Adoption Rates Rise  Caravan News

Entertaining pets during the pandemic - Atlanta Journal Constitution
Entertaining pets during the pandemic  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Cuddle Buddies! Nearly 75% of Dog Owners Let Their Pets Sleep on the Bed with Them, Survey Says - PEOPLE
Cuddle Buddies! Nearly 75% of Dog Owners Let Their Pets Sleep on the Bed with Them, Survey Says  PEOPLE

Greenlin Pet Resorts offers a perfect getaway for pets - ABC27
Greenlin Pet Resorts offers a perfect getaway for pets  ABC27

International study indicates shift to raw/home-made food diet for pets over past decade - Jill Lopez
International study indicates shift to raw/home-made food diet for pets over past decade  Jill Lopez

Survey: 44% of women would pick quarantine with pets over significant other - WFLA
Survey: 44% of women would pick quarantine with pets over significant other  WFLA

Pets of the week - Chicago Tribune
Pets of the week  Chicago Tribune

Mandan Police tracking down pets from apartment fire - KX NEWS
Mandan Police tracking down pets from apartment fire  KX NEWS

New tick and mosquito repellent will help protect humans and pets, CDC says - Fox News
New tick and mosquito repellent will help protect humans and pets, CDC says  Fox News

Pets of the Week at Pasadena Humane Society – Pasadena Weekendr - Pasadena Now
Pets of the Week at Pasadena Humane Society – Pasadena Weekendr  Pasadena Now

Pets of the week: 8-11-2020 – WBKB 11 - WBKB-TV
Pets of the week: 8-11-2020 – WBKB 11  WBKB-TV

Kitten tests positive for rabies in Oneida County; multiple adults and other pets exposed - syracuse.com
Kitten tests positive for rabies in Oneida County; multiple adults and other pets exposed  syracuse.com

August 13 Arts and Entertainment Source: Poundstone relies on pets through virus - Vallejo Times-Herald
August 13 Arts and Entertainment Source: Poundstone relies on pets through virus  Vallejo Times-Herald

Landlords cannot prohibit support animals in New York, even if pets are not allowed - FingerLakes1.com
Landlords cannot prohibit support animals in New York, even if pets are not allowed  FingerLakes1.com

Pets of the Week: Aug.11 | The Herald-News - The Herald-News
Pets of the Week: Aug.11 | The Herald-News  The Herald-News

PHOTOS: Gwinnett Animal Shelter Adoptable Pets of the Week -- Aug. 10 - Gwinnettdailypost.com
PHOTOS: Gwinnett Animal Shelter Adoptable Pets of the Week -- Aug. 10  Gwinnettdailypost.com

Austin company paying employees to adopt pets, encourages 'pawternity leave' - FOX 7 Austin
Austin company paying employees to adopt pets, encourages 'pawternity leave'  FOX 7 Austin

Many Americans have adopted pets amid Covid-19. But beware the costs - CNBC
Many Americans have adopted pets amid Covid-19. But beware the costs  CNBC

PETS ALIVE - ConchoValleyHomepage.com
PETS ALIVE  ConchoValleyHomepage.com

Company Paying Employees to Rescue Pets By Covering Adoption Fees for Cats and Dogs - PEOPLE
Company Paying Employees to Rescue Pets By Covering Adoption Fees for Cats and Dogs  PEOPLE

Tips on keeping pets safe during summer months - Fox 59
Tips on keeping pets safe during summer months  Fox 59

How to Help Your Pet With Post-Quarantine Separation Anxiety - The New York Times
How to Help Your Pet With Post-Quarantine Separation Anxiety  The New York Times

Help us find these senior pets a loving home - WATE 6 On Your Side
Help us find these senior pets a loving home  WATE 6 On Your Side

All About Pets: Remember — make mealtime special for your pets - Prescott Daily Courier
All About Pets: Remember — make mealtime special for your pets  Prescott Daily Courier

Northport Adoptable Pets Of The Week: Dexter And Rita - Northport, NY Patch
Northport Adoptable Pets Of The Week: Dexter And Rita  Northport, NY Patch

Vets: Pets with coronavirus very rare - WRAL.com
Vets: Pets with coronavirus very rare  WRAL.com

Furever Friends: Adoptable pets available - WJAC Johnstown
Furever Friends: Adoptable pets available  WJAC Johnstown

#ClearTheShelters Pet Gallery: Adopt one of these lovable pets at a local shelter near you - WAVY.com
#ClearTheShelters Pet Gallery: Adopt one of these lovable pets at a local shelter near you  WAVY.com

Pet pantry’s ‘car hops’ roll out pet food for needy LA families - LA Daily News
Pet pantry’s ‘car hops’ roll out pet food for needy LA families  LA Daily News

Why the French are 'European champions' at abandoning pets - BBC News
Why the French are 'European champions' at abandoning pets  BBC News

Lubbock Animal Shelter sees increase in lost pets, urges owners to microchip - KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com
Lubbock Animal Shelter sees increase in lost pets, urges owners to microchip  KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com

Mohawk Hudson Humane Society offers new helpline for pet owners - NEWS10 ABC
Mohawk Hudson Humane Society offers new helpline for pet owners  NEWS10 ABC

Pets enjoy a seat at the quarantined family dinner table - Supermarket News
Pets enjoy a seat at the quarantined family dinner table  Supermarket News

Pets of the Week for Aug. 11, 2020 - WKRN News 2
Pets of the Week for Aug. 11, 2020  WKRN News 2

Robotic pets used to remedy loneliness in nursing homes across Alabama - WKRN News 2
Robotic pets used to remedy loneliness in nursing homes across Alabama  WKRN News 2

Harriette Cole: Dog mom defends ‘over-the-top’ pet funeral - The Mercury News
Harriette Cole: Dog mom defends ‘over-the-top’ pet funeral  The Mercury News

Toxic Algae That Can Harm Humans, Pets Found In 2 County Lakes - Rockville, MD Patch
Toxic Algae That Can Harm Humans, Pets Found In 2 County Lakes  Rockville, MD Patch

Paw-sing 4 Pets with Forever Vets | River City Live - WJXT News4JAX
Paw-sing 4 Pets with Forever Vets | River City Live  WJXT News4JAX

Adorable Adoptable Pets Of The Week From Humane Rescue Alliance - Patch.com
Adorable Adoptable Pets Of The Week From Humane Rescue Alliance  Patch.com

Wilson woman captures pets through her art - WIVB.com - News 4
Wilson woman captures pets through her art  WIVB.com - News 4

Trupanion Reveals 20 Unique Pet Names That Are Truly Awesome - GlobeNewswire
Trupanion Reveals 20 Unique Pet Names That Are Truly Awesome  GlobeNewswire

How to make grooming part of your weekly pet care routine - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
How to make grooming part of your weekly pet care routine  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

N.J. pets in need: Aug. 10, 2020 - nj.com
N.J. pets in need: Aug. 10, 2020  nj.com

Pets Need Homes, Even During A Pandemic - FOX 15
Pets Need Homes, Even During A Pandemic  FOX 15

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

Lawsuit seeks to overturn Hillsborough pet sales ban - Tampa Bay Times
Lawsuit seeks to overturn Hillsborough pet sales ban  Tampa Bay Times

One of A Kind Pet Rescue to hold ‘Clear the Shelters’ adoption event Aug. 15 in Akron - cleveland.com
One of A Kind Pet Rescue to hold ‘Clear the Shelters’ adoption event Aug. 15 in Akron  cleveland.com

We aren't ticking around — parasites are serious - MSUToday
We aren't ticking around — parasites are serious  MSUToday

Pumpkin Pet Insurance is Now Available in All 50 US States - PRNewswire
Pumpkin Pet Insurance is Now Available in All 50 US States  PRNewswire

Company offering employees $300 for pet adoption - UPI News
Company offering employees $300 for pet adoption  UPI News

Want to keep spoiling your pets during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s the latest in 'pet tech' - USA TODAY
Want to keep spoiling your pets during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s the latest in 'pet tech'  USA TODAY

SMVHS Pet of the Week: Blanca - Lompoc Record
SMVHS Pet of the Week: Blanca  Lompoc Record

Did your pet seem to ‘know’ the earthquake was coming? - WBTV
Did your pet seem to ‘know’ the earthquake was coming?  WBTV

The Push to Keep Pet Stores Open During COVID Shutdowns - PetProductNews.com
The Push to Keep Pet Stores Open During COVID Shutdowns  PetProductNews.com

Key to harmonious pet relationships: Pheromones - Science Daily
Key to harmonious pet relationships: Pheromones  Science Daily

Biscuit is KLBK’s Pet of the Day! - KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com
Biscuit is KLBK’s Pet of the Day!  KLBK | KAMC | EverythingLubbock.com

Coronavirus in pets, French research strategy and a duplication detector - Nature.com
Coronavirus in pets, French research strategy and a duplication detector  Nature.com

Vulgar graffiti found on building as pet shop owner opens new business - Charleston Post Courier
Vulgar graffiti found on building as pet shop owner opens new business  Charleston Post Courier

Alligators make terrible pets: 'You're basically dealing with a dinosaur.' - National Geographic
Alligators make terrible pets: 'You're basically dealing with a dinosaur.'  National Geographic

Pet of the Week: Dreamy - KEZI TV
Pet of the Week: Dreamy  KEZI TV

Two brothers raise money for pet adoption center - WAOW
Two brothers raise money for pet adoption center  WAOW

Pet of the Week - Temari | | kokomoperspective.com - Kokomo Perspective
Pet of the Week - Temari | | kokomoperspective.com  Kokomo Perspective

Fargo man accused of starting fire that killed pets sentenced to prison - INFORUM
Fargo man accused of starting fire that killed pets sentenced to prison  INFORUM

Gateway Pet Guardians to open new East St. Louis clinic - KSDK.com
Gateway Pet Guardians to open new East St. Louis clinic  KSDK.com

App Uses Pet Selfies to ID Shelter Pets - Bay News 9
App Uses Pet Selfies to ID Shelter Pets  Bay News 9

Our Pets Heads Are Falling Off - College and Magnolia
Our Pets Heads Are Falling Off  College and Magnolia

Adopt-A-Pet Tuesday: Peach, Doug & Laker - 9 & 10 News - 9&10 News
Adopt-A-Pet Tuesday: Peach, Doug & Laker - 9 & 10 News  9&10 News

Pet and livestock owners should be aware of tick season in Tennessee - williamsonherald.com
Pet and livestock owners should be aware of tick season in Tennessee  williamsonherald.com

Pet supply options - Downtown newsmagazine | Birmingham/Bloomfield
Pet supply options  Downtown newsmagazine | Birmingham/Bloomfield

Pets of the Week: Rico and Tigger - Daily Bulldog
Pets of the Week: Rico and Tigger  Daily Bulldog

Pet cats in Texas first in state to test positive for coronavirus - Fox News
Pet cats in Texas first in state to test positive for coronavirus  Fox News

Man shares how his pet Chihuahua saved his life - WRBL
Man shares how his pet Chihuahua saved his life  WRBL

Montgomery County park officials urging pet owners to keep dogs out of two lakes after toxic algae reported - FOX 5 DC
Montgomery County park officials urging pet owners to keep dogs out of two lakes after toxic algae reported  FOX 5 DC

Western Colorado Fires Require Pet Prep - WesternSlopeNow
Western Colorado Fires Require Pet Prep  WesternSlopeNow

Getting Answers: What if my pet shows signs of COVID-19? - KVOA Tucson News
Getting Answers: What if my pet shows signs of COVID-19?  KVOA Tucson News

Army vet finds peace fostering pets, finding them homes - ArmyTimes.com
Army vet finds peace fostering pets, finding them homes  ArmyTimes.com

Pet Improvement: Dog days of summer - Newport News Times
Pet Improvement: Dog days of summer  Newport News Times

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

Harris County Pets announces free adoption days in August - KTRK-TV
Harris County Pets announces free adoption days in August  KTRK-TV

‘Americas Got Talent' Stars Talk About the Benefits of Having a Pet - NBC 10 Philadelphia
‘Americas Got Talent' Stars Talk About the Benefits of Having a Pet  NBC 10 Philadelphia

KRDO's Tuesday Afternoon Pet of the Week - KRDO
KRDO's Tuesday Afternoon Pet of the Week  KRDO

COVID-19 can affect pets; cases confirmed | AgriLife Today - AgriLife Today
COVID-19 can affect pets; cases confirmed | AgriLife Today  AgriLife Today

Homeward Bound: Pets' Incredible COVID-19 Journeys To Reunite With Owners - NPR
Homeward Bound: Pets' Incredible COVID-19 Journeys To Reunite With Owners  NPR

Meet Pace, FOX8’s Pet of the Week - WGHP FOX 8 Greensboro
Meet Pace, FOX8’s Pet of the Week  WGHP FOX 8 Greensboro

San Antonio Pets Alive! places two dogs up for adoption after owner dies of COVID-19 complications - KSAT San Antonio
San Antonio Pets Alive! places two dogs up for adoption after owner dies of COVID-19 complications  KSAT San Antonio

Owner warns of large lizard on the loose in Livingston; wildlife officials now investigating exotic pet - WBRZ
Owner warns of large lizard on the loose in Livingston; wildlife officials now investigating exotic pet  WBRZ

Adopt-A-Pet: Erwin from Independent Animal Rescue - Chapelboro.com
Adopt-A-Pet: Erwin from Independent Animal Rescue  Chapelboro.com

Clear the Shelters Presents Virtual ‘Bark Week' Pet Adoption Event - NBC 10 Philadelphia
Clear the Shelters Presents Virtual ‘Bark Week' Pet Adoption Event  NBC 10 Philadelphia

Haz-Mat team responds to formaldehyde spill at Beaver Dam pet store - WBAY
Haz-Mat team responds to formaldehyde spill at Beaver Dam pet store  WBAY

Pet of the Week: 8/11/20 - WANE
Pet of the Week: 8/11/20  WANE

Carson City Humane Society's Pets of the Week: Sir Newton, Lord Leonard, and Lord Rock of Rochester - Carson Now
Carson City Humane Society's Pets of the Week: Sir Newton, Lord Leonard, and Lord Rock of Rochester  Carson Now

Pasco to end retail pet store sales of dogs and cats - Tampa Bay Times
Pasco to end retail pet store sales of dogs and cats  Tampa Bay Times

This $150 Pet Feeder Saved My Sanity When I Got a Second Cat - Gizmodo
This $150 Pet Feeder Saved My Sanity When I Got a Second Cat  Gizmodo

United States Pet Market Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis - PRNewswire
United States Pet Market Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis  PRNewswire

Pet Advice: Adverse reactions to vaccinations - KSNT News
Pet Advice: Adverse reactions to vaccinations  KSNT News

PHOTOS: Local family-owned pet store survives during COVID-19 pandemic - WWLP.com
PHOTOS: Local family-owned pet store survives during COVID-19 pandemic  WWLP.com

Majority of Pet Owners Give Their Pets Some Homemade Food - The Bark
Majority of Pet Owners Give Their Pets Some Homemade Food  The Bark

WATCH: Pet of the Day, Meet Homestead - WIVT - NewsChannel 34
WATCH: Pet of the Day, Meet Homestead  WIVT - NewsChannel 34

Tim’s Travels: Gateway Pet Guardians opens first-ever vet clinic in East St. Louis - fox2now.com
Tim’s Travels: Gateway Pet Guardians opens first-ever vet clinic in East St. Louis  fox2now.com

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