Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silkworms are taking over my Life!

What a cutie!
I just love my little friends.
Ok, I will admit 500 silkworms are too much for me to handle at one time. To start out they are so small, just a spec really. Now they are between 1-4 inches long and they are taking over. It only takes about 30 min a day to clean and feed, but I am now making food for them to eat every day. They are also taking over every flat surface in my living room. I am so thankful my family understands and makes room for them.

This little guy and several of his friends have graduated to the spinning boxes. They are close to 4 inches long and should start spinning soon. This is the most fragile state of their little lives many will die before spinning cocoons. So I wait and worry.

Today I cooked up an experimental batch of chow for my little friends. Last summer my mother-in-law dehydrated mulberry leaves for me. I have kept them in the freezer all winter waiting for the right time to use them. Silkworms spin best when they have fresh leaves to eat, but as I am in Iowa we will not have leaves for at least another month. So today I added 5 grams of dehydrated leaves to 2.7 ounces of powdered commercial chow and 1 cup of water, then I steamed the chow for 30 minutes. I am hoping that the leaves will trigger the silkworms to spin. We shall see.

This is a group of silkworms that are 3-4 inches long, they are eating commercial food with blue cake dye added. I was hoping to replicate an experiment that was done last summer in China. So far none of the silkworms have changed color.
More soon. Happy Spinning!

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