Monthly Archives: July 2011

the trouble with silkworms

a silkworm caterpillar begins to spin

Why silkworms? Are you nuts? How gross, and besides, you have to kill the “worms”. Not true, my friends, not true. I can’t raise sheep in my yard, fluffy bunnies don’t like the heat, so silkworms were my next choice.
The trouble with silkworms is that you always decide to hatch more eggs than you need, “just in case”. So far, I have been lucky and had good hatching rates. I don’t stifle my cocoons, so all silkworms that survive pupation are allowed to emerge naturally.
Did you know that adult silk moths have no mouthparts, and can not eat? Bombyx mori is the only fully domesticated insect, and in fact, is so domesticated that it cannot live without human husbandry. Both the caterpillars and moths are completely harmless, and the caterpillars are an important food source in some countries, but not at my house.
Yes, the orange and yellowish green cocoons are naturally colored, but the color will go away when I process and degum the fibers, after the moths emerge.
 I would encourage anyone who is interested in fiber animals to do some research into sericulture.