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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 Mon. July / 13 / 2020

Report: separation from pets can be 'ruff' when owner returns to work - Times Daily
Report: separation from pets can be 'ruff' when owner returns to work  Times Daily

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

This week's 'Flying Horse' theme: Pets/animals - Bloomington Pantagraph
This week's 'Flying Horse' theme: Pets/animals  Bloomington Pantagraph

MADACC: How to keep your pets safe in the heat this summer - WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee
MADACC: How to keep your pets safe in the heat this summer  WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

Pets show us how to be better humans - Grand Island Independent
Pets show us how to be better humans  Grand Island Independent

Pet Doc: How to keep your pets safe if you test positive for COVID-19 - WJHL-TV News Channel 11
Pet Doc: How to keep your pets safe if you test positive for COVID-19  WJHL-TV News Channel 11

TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER: Grief, the loss of pets discussed in 'Lost Companions' - Goshen News
TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER: Grief, the loss of pets discussed in 'Lost Companions'  Goshen News

Nonprofit needs help to continue providing for pets in the Rogue Valley - KTVL
Nonprofit needs help to continue providing for pets in the Rogue Valley  KTVL

Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of July 12, 2020 - Summit Daily News
Pet Scene: Summit County's adoptable pets for the week of July 12, 2020  Summit Daily News

Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus - The Scientist
Our Pets May Harbor Much More Than Coronavirus  The Scientist

Protect your pets from the heat, hot surfaces - The Daily Journal
Protect your pets from the heat, hot surfaces  The Daily Journal

After 5 months of waiting, Northwood Pets holds Grand Opening - WJFW-TV
After 5 months of waiting, Northwood Pets holds Grand Opening  WJFW-TV

Mystery illness has Arp pet owners worried - KLTV
Mystery illness has Arp pet owners worried  KLTV

87 Coastal Bend area pets received vaccinations, first weekend of low-cost clinic organized by Nueces Co. Animal Services a success - KIIITV.com
87 Coastal Bend area pets received vaccinations, first weekend of low-cost clinic organized by Nueces Co. Animal Services a success  KIIITV.com

7 tips to keep your pet safe during hot Birmingham summers - Bham Now
7 tips to keep your pet safe during hot Birmingham summers  Bham Now

Pet Project 2020: Pets available for adoption in Massachusetts on July 10 - masslive.com
Pet Project 2020: Pets available for adoption in Massachusetts on July 10  masslive.com

Meet One of Our Adorable, Adoptable Pets - Biscuit - Patch.com
Meet One of Our Adorable, Adoptable Pets - Biscuit  Patch.com

Class pets become long-term pandemic house guests while schools are out - Omaha World-Herald
Class pets become long-term pandemic house guests while schools are out  Omaha World-Herald

Mr. Spot: Pet of the Week 071220 - Tyler Morning Telegraph
Mr. Spot: Pet of the Week 071220  Tyler Morning Telegraph

Protect yourself and your pets from harmful algae blooms this summer - redlakenationnews.com
Protect yourself and your pets from harmful algae blooms this summer  redlakenationnews.com

Pet Vet: Hot Weather and Pets - WNDU
Pet Vet: Hot Weather and Pets  WNDU

Wasco Animal Shelter shares pet safety tips - KERO 23ABC News
Wasco Animal Shelter shares pet safety tips  KERO 23ABC News

This July discount can help Houston’s senior pets find ‘fur’-ever homes, you a new friend - KPRC Click2Houston
This July discount can help Houston’s senior pets find ‘fur’-ever homes, you a new friend  KPRC Click2Houston

MADACC reminds pet owners of heat stroke symptoms, provides prevention tips - WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee
MADACC reminds pet owners of heat stroke symptoms, provides prevention tips  WITI FOX 6 Milwaukee

Pet hospitals say they’re seeing a big increase in parvovirus cases this year - WSB Atlanta
Pet hospitals say they’re seeing a big increase in parvovirus cases this year  WSB Atlanta

Pets In Need Delivers Medical Aid To Stockton Animals - Capital Public Radio News
Pets In Need Delivers Medical Aid To Stockton Animals  Capital Public Radio News

Pet Tales: Helping domestic violence centers that shelter pets, too - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pet Tales: Helping domestic violence centers that shelter pets, too  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Eight people displaced after Jefferson City fire, two pets died - krcgtv.com
Eight people displaced after Jefferson City fire, two pets died  krcgtv.com

Pets are stressed out, too - Jill Lopez
Pets are stressed out, too  Jill Lopez

Covid-19 kept them separated from their pets for months. So they've chartered a plane to bring them home - CNN
Covid-19 kept them separated from their pets for months. So they've chartered a plane to bring them home  CNN

LETTER: Chickens, dogs make equally good pets | Letters To Editor - yoursun.com
LETTER: Chickens, dogs make equally good pets | Letters To Editor  yoursun.com

AAA Texas reminding Texans to keep kids and pets out of hot cars - FOX 7 Austin
AAA Texas reminding Texans to keep kids and pets out of hot cars  FOX 7 Austin

Nationwide event helps pets in Mid-Michigan pets find their forever homes - WLNS
Nationwide event helps pets in Mid-Michigan pets find their forever homes  WLNS

Mobile veterinary services tend to Tenderloin's homeless pet population - SFGate
Mobile veterinary services tend to Tenderloin's homeless pet population  SFGate

Pets We Love 2020 - SRQ Daily Jul 13, 2020 - SRQ Magazine
Pets We Love 2020 - SRQ Daily Jul 13, 2020  SRQ Magazine

Pets of the Week July 13 - 17 - The Hartselle Enquirer - Hartselle Enquirer
Pets of the Week July 13 - 17 - The Hartselle Enquirer  Hartselle Enquirer

Seeing Pets as Human - Psychology Today
Seeing Pets as Human  Psychology Today

Angels for the Animals: ALIVE gives safe haven to rescued pets - Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Angels for the Animals: ALIVE gives safe haven to rescued pets  Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CBS3 Pet Project: Bringing New Animals Into Your Home Can Be Tricky For Pets - CBS Philly
CBS3 Pet Project: Bringing New Animals Into Your Home Can Be Tricky For Pets  CBS Philly

Adopt-a-pets: July 12 | News | carolinacoastonline.com - Carolinacoastonline
Adopt-a-pets: July 12 | News | carolinacoastonline.com  Carolinacoastonline

Pepin's Pet Projects: Tips on easing pets into the "new" normal as you return to work - WCYB
Pepin's Pet Projects: Tips on easing pets into the "new" normal as you return to work  WCYB

Pets and fireworks: how to keep your animals calm and safe on July 4 - CNN
Pets and fireworks: how to keep your animals calm and safe on July 4  CNN

Pet food giveaway held in Newville - ABC27
Pet food giveaway held in Newville  ABC27

Adorable & Adoptable–Pets of the Week: Teton, Smokey, & Calypso - SweetwaterNOW.com
Adorable & Adoptable–Pets of the Week: Teton, Smokey, & Calypso  SweetwaterNOW.com

VETERINARY VIEWPOINTS: When your pet needs anesthesia | Lifestyles - Stillwater News Press
VETERINARY VIEWPOINTS: When your pet needs anesthesia | Lifestyles  Stillwater News Press

A photographer's inventive dog portraits show just how human-like our pets can be - Insider - INSIDER
A photographer's inventive dog portraits show just how human-like our pets can be - Insider  INSIDER

CAPA Pet of the Week: Buttercup - Lompoc Record
CAPA Pet of the Week: Buttercup  Lompoc Record

People share who or what they named their pets after in this feel-good Twitter thread - Hindustan Times
People share who or what they named their pets after in this feel-good Twitter thread  Hindustan Times

What you need to know to keep pets safe in the heat - 10TV
What you need to know to keep pets safe in the heat  10TV

These Are The Most Pet-Friendly Airlines In Europe - Simple Flying
These Are The Most Pet-Friendly Airlines In Europe  Simple Flying

CDC gives recommendations on keeping pets safe from COVID-19 - KYTV
CDC gives recommendations on keeping pets safe from COVID-19  KYTV

Pets and Pesticides: Keeping our Companions Safe - Beyond Pesticides
Pets and Pesticides: Keeping our Companions Safe  Beyond Pesticides

23 Adorably Adoptable Cincinnati Pets That Are Looking For Homes This Summer - Cincinnati CityBeat
23 Adorably Adoptable Cincinnati Pets That Are Looking For Homes This Summer  Cincinnati CityBeat

Pet Owners Struggling To Reunite With Their Furry Family Members Amid The Pandemic - NPR
Pet Owners Struggling To Reunite With Their Furry Family Members Amid The Pandemic  NPR

GALLERY: All American Pet Photo Day - WEAR
GALLERY: All American Pet Photo Day  WEAR

Be extra cautious of your pet during the summer heat - Victoria Advocate
Be extra cautious of your pet during the summer heat  Victoria Advocate

The most pet-friendly airlines in the world - Travel Daily News International
The most pet-friendly airlines in the world  Travel Daily News International

As temperatures rise, so should your pet safety awareness - WSMV Nashville
As temperatures rise, so should your pet safety awareness  WSMV Nashville

How To Ease Separation Anxiety For Pets Being Left Alone For First Time In Months - Block Club Chicago
How To Ease Separation Anxiety For Pets Being Left Alone For First Time In Months  Block Club Chicago

Preventing pandemic-related pet anxiety now and later - WTOP
Preventing pandemic-related pet anxiety now and later  WTOP

Area pet services see revenues return to pre-pandemic levels - INFORUM
Area pet services see revenues return to pre-pandemic levels  INFORUM

As weather grows hotter, pets could be at risk - Carolinacoastonline
As weather grows hotter, pets could be at risk  Carolinacoastonline

Animal Control Concerned About Pets During COVID-19 Pandemic - Santa Barbara Edhat
Animal Control Concerned About Pets During COVID-19 Pandemic  Santa Barbara Edhat

Cat Food Recall: Natural Balance Pet Foods pulled for potential deadly side effects - positivelyosceola.com
Cat Food Recall: Natural Balance Pet Foods pulled for potential deadly side effects  positivelyosceola.com

The Animal Foundation takes in more than 270 lost pets in first six days of July - News3LV
The Animal Foundation takes in more than 270 lost pets in first six days of July  News3LV

Empty the Shelters: Pet adoption fees reduced this weekend - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Empty the Shelters: Pet adoption fees reduced this weekend  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Pets: Rx for a happier life - The County
Pets: Rx for a happier life  The County

The Pets Left Behind by Covid-19 - The New York Times
The Pets Left Behind by Covid-19  The New York Times

What you need to do before bringing home a new pet - The Washington Post
What you need to do before bringing home a new pet  The Washington Post

SAFD: Homeowner, six pets rescued from house fire on Northeast Side - KSAT San Antonio
SAFD: Homeowner, six pets rescued from house fire on Northeast Side  KSAT San Antonio

Firefighters rescue pets from house fire in Orange - WFSB
Firefighters rescue pets from house fire in Orange  WFSB

Pet of the Week: Eva - Billings Gazette
Pet of the Week: Eva  Billings Gazette

From 'Loki' to 'Courage the Cowardly Dog', netizens share what their pets are named after with pictures - Times Now
From 'Loki' to 'Courage the Cowardly Dog', netizens share what their pets are named after with pictures  Times Now

Helen Woodward Animal Center Adopt a Pet: Sunny - - KUSI
Helen Woodward Animal Center Adopt a Pet: Sunny -  KUSI

This Guy Found Caterpillars In His Grocery Store Broccoli And Kept Them As Pets Until They Were Butterflies - Delish
This Guy Found Caterpillars In His Grocery Store Broccoli And Kept Them As Pets Until They Were Butterflies  Delish

East Bay pets of the week for July 10 - East Bay Times
East Bay pets of the week for July 10  East Bay Times

These 17 pets would love to share space with you: June 27-28 - SILive.com
These 17 pets would love to share space with you: June 27-28  SILive.com

Warning letter sent to pet food firm after inspectors find Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria - Food Safety News
Warning letter sent to pet food firm after inspectors find Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria  Food Safety News

Pets of the week: July 12, 2020 - Record Searchlight
Pets of the week: July 12, 2020  Record Searchlight

It’s All-American Pet Photo Day: Show us your furry friend - KSAT San Antonio
It’s All-American Pet Photo Day: Show us your furry friend  KSAT San Antonio

N.J. pets in need: July 6, 2020 - nj.com
N.J. pets in need: July 6, 2020  nj.com

Keep your pets safe this weekend with these fireworks safety tips - Clarksville Now
Keep your pets safe this weekend with these fireworks safety tips  Clarksville Now

This cat wants to be pet and is letting her hooman know so in the gentlest fashion possible. Watch - Hindustan Times
This cat wants to be pet and is letting her hooman know so in the gentlest fashion possible. Watch  Hindustan Times

Hot temperatures can create health risks for pets - News8000.com - WKBT
Hot temperatures can create health risks for pets  News8000.com - WKBT

Adopt a Pet: Vader - Ellwood City Ledger
Adopt a Pet: Vader  Ellwood City Ledger

San Diego Humane Society works to reunite pets with owners after holiday weekend - fox5sandiego.com
San Diego Humane Society works to reunite pets with owners after holiday weekend  fox5sandiego.com

Runaway pets wind up in SoCal shelters in the aftermath of Fourth of July fireworks - KABC-TV
Runaway pets wind up in SoCal shelters in the aftermath of Fourth of July fireworks  KABC-TV

4 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet - PRNewswire
4 Things to Consider Before Adopting a Pet  PRNewswire

'We need our pets now more than ever': Phoenix rescue animals find homes during COVID-19 - AZCentral
'We need our pets now more than ever': Phoenix rescue animals find homes during COVID-19  AZCentral

Everything You Need to Know About Buying Pet Insurance - New York Magazine
Everything You Need to Know About Buying Pet Insurance  New York Magazine

Keep your pets cool and safe this summer - KRNV My News 4
Keep your pets cool and safe this summer  KRNV My News 4

I'm a celebrity dog groomer who charges $300 an hour for pet haircuts - Business Insider - Business Insider
I'm a celebrity dog groomer who charges $300 an hour for pet haircuts - Business Insider  Business Insider

Keep your summer fun pet-safe and pet-friendly with top outdoor pet gear - CNN
Keep your summer fun pet-safe and pet-friendly with top outdoor pet gear  CNN

Change Is Coming To The Way Pet Products Are Sold - Forbes
Change Is Coming To The Way Pet Products Are Sold  Forbes

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

Take your pets on a virtual march for a good cause this summer - WDIV ClickOnDetroit
Take your pets on a virtual march for a good cause this summer  WDIV ClickOnDetroit

Dogs, cash stolen in burglary at Daphne pet store - AL.com
Dogs, cash stolen in burglary at Daphne pet store  AL.com

Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands - Community Impact Newspaper
Pet Supplies Plus opens new FM 1488 location north of The Woodlands  Community Impact Newspaper

Pets are even more important during these times - Lowell Sun
Pets are even more important during these times  Lowell Sun

Taking care of pets on the Fourth of July - KATU
Taking care of pets on the Fourth of July  KATU

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