View Full Version : Tezza - Tell us some more about your silk worms.
23-11-2005, 10:33 PM
Where did you get them from?
How do you house them?
How do you intend to use them?
24-11-2005, 02:05 AM
Yes, I was wondering about that, too!
COME ON, TELL ALL!
24-11-2005, 02:54 AM
I am in line waiting for the info, too, Oh Great guru Tezza!
Your humble supplicant,
24-11-2005, 04:38 AM
Just googled "silkworm" and came up with this:
Mrs Monica Fenner
30 Keyes Street
Ashburton VIC 3147
Phone: (03) 9885 3169
33 Maryvale Avenue
Liverpool NSW 2170
Phone: (02) 9602 1686
Silkworm and mealworm suppliers
The Nature Education Centre
39 Osmond Terrace
Norwood SA 5067
Phone: (0 8) 8363 0238
EDITED: to include http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/2000/a ... /silkworms (http://www.burkesbackyard.com.au/2000/archives/2000/pets,_pet_care,_backyard_&_native_animals/silkworms)
The silkworm is one stage in the development of Bombyx mori, the silk moth. After hatching from their eggs the worms grow to seventy times their original size and shed their skin four times. The tiny creatures have huge appetites. Bridget says that silkworms are more demanding than babies, and during peak feeding times she has to replenish their supply of mulberry leaves four times during the night. When the silkworm matures it spins a soft, creamy white cocoon made from one continuous thread of fluid silk which hardens on contact with air.
Bridget immerses the cocoons in hot water and soap and stirs them around. She then finds a loose end and unravels the thread. Forty good quality cocoons make a fine unbroken thread of silk about a mile long. Bridget then spins the silk in her weaving room and makes fabrics. Over the years she has made clothes for the whole family just using silk produced in her own home. It takes about 800 cocoons to make three silk scarves, and one year's crop of silkworms makes about three skirt lengths of material.
Only 30% of Bridget's efforts produce silk. The other 70% is in the form of by-products that are used around the house and garden. The pupae are high in protein and essential oils. They can be eaten, and have a fishy taste. After each harvest Bridget is also left with pellets of concentrated fertiliser which she uses on the garden.
24-11-2005, 07:31 AM
me too :lol:
your "public" is waiting tezza :lol: :lol: :lol:
They're easy to keep as long as you have a supply of Mulberry leaves. I used to keep them when I was in Primary school in a shirt box with a cellophane lid.
When they pupate you can unwind the silk without killing the moths - though I suspect they might get quite dizzy. I made a "silk-winder" with my brother's meccano set when I was about 12.
In Korea in the markets the sell the pupae. I was a little curious and tried one. I'm sure it's an aquired taste b'cos I wasn't game to chew it. One was enough. :lol:
24-11-2005, 08:35 AM
widgee, I used to have silk worms when I was a kid too. It was a common kid's thing then. Sadly I think most of the mulberry trees have been cut down in Sydney now but back in the day they used to be all over the place.
I'd have to go for a walk before school everyday to get leaves. There were two mulberry trees in our area. The caterpillars, like many other varieties are very leaf specific. I kept monarch caterpillars too as there were mikweed plants all through the Adelaide hills. Here in Manila we had a heap of Swallowtails - which like citrus. The caterpillars look like blobs of bird poop. And the hawk moths like an ornamental taro plant. I can't help myself if I see chewed up leaves to try and find the caterpillar that's eating it and bring it home "for my kids" ... who take one look and lose interest. Sometimes if I see big balls of poop on the ground under a tree I can find different caterpillars like that.
24-11-2005, 09:42 AM
Hi veggie boy and other interested silko persons..
Yes There still hanging in there they must be close to cocooning very soon,
Good job i got a few mullberry trees as they eat like hungry elephants.I got some pics of em,and been waiting till i get som,ething better to post,and then
get joel to post em for me afterwards ,i cant figure how to post pics yet.
Not sure what ill do with them,as its been blind leading the blind so far 8) 8)
My first task was to keep alive....( sucsess)
next is to get them to pupate(allmost getting there)
I dont know how many it takes to make a set of nylon sheets, or even a silk hanky yet :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
I got them of a freind who works at the local hospital she bought them home for her nephew,unfortunatly neither her or nephew have mullberry trees,I begged for some to get me started,as id been interested about 12 years ago when i heard mention in my permie lessons.....i tried then but only ones who i found were only looking for food not silkos,then i only had 1 small tree.Years later I have 3 trees growing madly,so i took the oppertunity to start off...
I keep them in a shoe box with a loose lid to allow fresh air and are sitting next to my computer.i have two boxes one with about 20 silkos.the others got a lot more, over double that.To produce more silkos youd need to go up a level in housing i think.have heard aqauriams are good(dont have 1)
Have heard that there almost extinct in the wild,and are usually kept by school kids or are dying out in some asian countries.
Id like to preserve them first off.If they survive past the moth and reproducing stages,and i can produce enough leaves,ill see how it goes.
Id like to offer to our local primary school,maybe next batch,then after that ill see what happens,To go commercial youd need a fair few mull trees.allthough these grow quickly,they arte decideous and bear no leaves over winter,they do apparently have a great mechanism to stop their growth untill the next leaf growing season(chilled)..
Would love to grow em free range on my trees but not sure how the local bird population would take to em.myself and neighbers dont use chemicals at all,so should be ok,but not game yet for that..
It seems that a few of you have more experience then i do(lots)Anyone help with what to do to allow normal pupation,Do i need to give them something to pupate with/in/on?
Hi Tezz! are you an amateur! It's easy. Just keep feeding them. When they get big enough they'll pupate without any help at all. At about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches. After about 2-3 weeks the moths'll chew a hole in the cocoon and mate. Then they lay eggs and die. I'm not sure how long the eggs take to hatch. My mum threw them out at that stage...
Once they've emerged the cocoons are useless for silk. Commercial growers drop them in boiling water to soften the silk and makes it easier to find an end. It kills them. When i was a kid I fiddled with them until I found the end (the silk strand is one long continuous thread) and unwound it. Eventually when you get near the end the cocoon thins out. This doesn't kill them and they still emerge alright. Moths have a coccoon and the pupa is a little brown thing inside - they don't need the coccoon to emerge - on the other hand butterflies don't have a cocoon and go into a chrysalis stage.
24-11-2005, 10:24 AM
From memory, the eggs take about 10-14 days to hatch.
Tezza, they attach themselves to a twig from the mulberry tree and start their cocoon on that. I think it takes about a month from the egg stage to that point. I'm going back 50 years, I forget a lot of what I did.
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