We have been raising our silkworms for almost four weeks. During this time we have been learning so much as we observe their interesting behaviors. The silkworms definitely prefer the most tender mulberry leaves we can find for them, and as they feed they like to crawl along the mulberry leaf twigs and stretch out. In this position they raise their head and thorax and seem to look very Sphinx-like. We have also noticed that although the silkworms appear to eat non-stop, they do have periods of rest when they are very, very still.
Visitors to Moth to Cloth have been careful observers. Their observations have generated some good questions that we will answer here:
A visitor from Oregon asked:
How do you know when it is time to put the silkworms in the cocoonery?
When a silkworm is about four weeks old and about four inches long, it stops eating mulberry leaves. Its body begins to look slightly transparent and we can see silk coming from its spinnerets. At this point we carefully put the silkworm in a cardboard tube in the puparium.
A visitor from Northampton, MA asked:
I would like to raise silkworms. Where could I find some?
The silkworms we are raising are called Bombyx mori. They no longer exist anywhere in the wild. But if you would like to raise your own silkworms you can order them from a Biological Supply Company. They sell eggs and small silkworms to anyone interested, particularly scientists and teachers. In several school systems across the country, silkworms are part of a science program about life cycles.