Friday, August 12, 2011


Raising silkworms is a tradition at our son's preschool. There are several mulberry trees there so it makes keeping them really easy.

For us it was a little more difficult because we don't have a nearby mulberry tree that we know of so we had to keep a sharp eye out for them when we needed to harvest leaves in order to keep our caterpillars happy and healthy.

Once they started to spin their cocoons I started to think about harvesting the silk.
Eventually all of our caterpillars turned into moths and we were left with empty cocoons. Like chickens - the moths have lost the ability to fly so you can keep them in a box like we did quite easily. The traditional way to harvest the silk is to boil the cocoons pupae and all before the moths emerge leaving only enough to lay eggs for the next cycle.

The moths are really cute once the emerge from the cocoons. The don't have mouths and only live for about two weeks with nothing to do but procreate. We have far more eggs than we need for next year so we might choose to boil some pupae before they hatch. Some people even eat them but I'd have to be pretty hungry for that to happen. We let all of ours come out before I decided to try to make some thread from the cocoons. Even though I have no experience and did no research, it worked pretty well. I'll write about that in tomorrow's post.


  1. That is so cool! I have been interested in raising silk worms for a few years, after I saw this stunning lamp made out of the cocoons and realized there were so many options. Don't they need a special climate or conditions to raise? Or do you just plop them in a mulberry tree and they do their thing?

  2. We just put them in a box in the house on a table and fed them mulberry leaves. If you put them outside in a tree I think you'd loose a lot of them to birds. The moths don't fly but they make a little bit of fluttering noise. It's pretty fun and super easy if you have access to mulberry leaves.

  3. Oh, that is very exciting! Where did you get your silk worms from?

  4. A friend (Kelly) gave some of her surplus to Julia. Now we have eggs coming out of our ears. 20 or 30 will multiply into hundreds in one cycle. I think you can buy them online though.

  5. Okay, thanks! I'll look around.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.