It’s silkworm time again! In Auguest each year in Brisbane the leaves on the Mulberry trees start to appear and thats the signal to get the shoebox off the shelf!
I got these silkworms when they were a few weeks old so they had already grown and shed their baby black skins revealing these grey/white ones. They are not worms but larva or caterpillars.
These are domestic sikworms bred for this purpose and totally dependent on people to provide the leaves. If someone introduced these to Mulberry tree I’d imagine the birds would have a feast! I’ve never seen wild silkworms.
This was the childrens idea to remind everyone not to touch the silkworms! They are very delicate and any soap etc on the childrens hands will poison them.
You need to check that the trees you collect the mulberry leaved from haven’t been sprayed either. Since we eat the Mulberry fruit as we collect leaves for the silkworms this is really important.
Soon they were this big and it was time to start moving house! They are fascinating to watch as they just eat and eat and the leaves are gone in no time. As they get bigger you can actually hear them eating.
I clean house by putting in a leaf and when there are a few on it moving the leaf to another box. This way you can clean out the old leaves and poo! The one year I didn’t do this lots of them died.
It was very sad to hear that the only way to get the silk from the cocoon is to boil them before the moths hatch. When they hatch they break the single thread. The chinese have been farming them for silk for over 5000 years!
Here is our first moth! You can see where it has come out of the cocoon and the fluid it uses to make it’s way out.
another post with activities related to the life cycle of the silkworms.