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How to Raise Silkworms

A 7-Step Guide on How to Raise Silkworms Like a Pro

Know about the perfect way of raising silkworms. You can also know about how to go about caring for them with the hopes of procuring silk from them.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Oct 11, 2018
Silkworms have always been a kind of intriguing phenomenon. The way in which nature works is really something else and needs to be applauded. For how else can you explain the workings of a silkworm? But that apart, let's focus on some of the more important issues on hand.
Silk moth on cocoon
Silk is produced by the larva of the Bombyx Mori moth which is a native of Asia. Many people who are native to Asia raise these silkworms for silk and make a profit from them thus.
Grandfather introducing grandson to silkworm
Raising silkworms for silk requires great skill and a whole lot of preparation. Let us focus on how to raise silkworms and the process of it.
Raising Silkworms for Silk
You need to have commitment and patience to carry through this process well enough and make sure that you see it through till the end. Let us see and understand whether you can manage to do this well enough and are ready for the responsibility.
Step 1
Silkworm cocoons in process to get silk at Turkey
The Eggs: There are specialized places that you can buy the silkworm eggs from. Silkworm eggs can be stored in the refrigerator until you need them for further use. Make sure that they are safe until you want them for use.
Step 2
The Storage Area
The silkworm eggs, when ready to be hatched, have to be kept onto a plastic tray or a box that is lined with mulberry leaves. Make sure the temperature is maintained between 78 degrees and 88 degree F. Cover the box with a plastic sheet and puncture it. Keep the eggs in this and wait for them to hatch. The eggs will hatch within a week.
Step 3
Feeding the Worms
The next important step in raising silkworms is to make sure that you are feeding the worms well enough. The deal is that they can go without food for over a week but they can die of dehydration.
Thus it becomes your duty to make sure that there is enough food to last. Put in fresh mulberry leaves at least 3 times a day and check constantly. Add more if necessary. There should be no water droplets on the leaves or it can get dangerous for the little worms. The worms will need lots and lots food and you need to make sure that you provide them with it.
Step 4
Cleaning the Box
The box needs to be cleaned at least 3 times a week. The rotting leaves need to be cleared out for one, and two, the condensation can cause far way too much humidity in the box which is never good.
Brown empty toilet tissue paper rolls
The ideal thing to do is maintain two boxes so that you can transfer the worms well enough. Make sure that you clean your hands thoroughly before handling the worms.
Step 5
Material for Spinning Silk
The next part of the silkworm life cycle is when the worms are about 3 inches long and about a month old, they are ready to spin the cocoons. By this time the worms will stop eating and turn yellow in color. But for this to happen, you need to provide the worms with some material.
This is usually done by providing paper towel tubes or egg cartons in the box. You can transfer the worms so that each of them have a proper space for itself. It'll take them 3 days to spin their cocoons and during this time they don't need to be fed or their box cleaned. In fact they should be left alone.
Step 6
Silkworm Eggs
Moths and Eggs
After about 3 weeks, the silkworms will turn into moths and appear from their cocoons. Transfer the moths in a new box that has been lined with paper towels.
At this stage, the moths will find their mates through smell and mate to lay new eggs. Collect these eggs and store them in plastic containers in the refrigerator. What happens to the moths is a tragedy. The moths will not feed on anything because they cannot eat and so once they are done mating, they will starve to death within a week.
Step 7
Procuring the Silk
Collect the cocoons that were discarded by the silkworms on emerging as moths. Drop all the cocoons in warm water and let them soak in for 24 hours or so. The silk is kept together by a gummy substance which needs to be gotten rid of.
Alternately, you can also simmer them in water to make the cocoon soft. Then remove it from water and dry. Once dry, you can simply find the end of the thread and pull out the long string of silk. Wrap it around a stick to keep it from tangling. All the cocoons will give you a line of silk, so collecting this comes easy.
These are the important steps that go into successfully raising silkworms for silk. Now that you know what it involves and your involvement in the same, make sure that you have the time, inclination and patience to see it through till the end. If you have any doubts whatsoever then you should be staying far, far from this one.