• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dan Boone
  • Dave Burton
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Barkley

raising silkmoths (silkworms) - Sericulture, Moriculture, and the wild ones

 
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Still more hatching.  I think we must be nearing half hatched.

I'm a bit worried about the hatching being so spread out.  I understood it would be over three days, but we're on day four and there's a long way to go. Could it be because I have mixed eggs?  Different varieties of silkmoths take different times to hatch?  The first hatchlings will probably want to moult or whatever, today.  The size difference between the kego is HUGE!  I'm wondering if I might split the batch from early hatchers and late hatchers.  See if there are any other differences in how they grow.

I'm going to move them to a bigger tray today.

Wondering if unbleached parchment paper would be okay for the base of the tray.  
 
Posts: 29
Location: zone 7
chicken forest garden wood heat
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a gorgeous Youtube channel Liziqi in a sericulture episode she dices up leaves for babies, and then throws armloads of leaves to the big caterpillars.  And it shows processing.

Lifestyle design like Jack Spirko speaks of would have this fantasy life Liziqi portrays on one end of the scale and Jerry Springer guests on the other end of the same continuum.
 
Posts: 22
4
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:  I understood it would be over three days, but we're on day four and there's a long way to go.  



I cant say it's not that, but it also could be the use of normal temps. It doesnt look like you've put them in a heated incubator. I put all mine in a constant 80 -81, night and day for 2 weeks, and I know temps affect their growth. There's very little variation when they are incubated. I think they like to be nice and warm throughout their growing time, so I've been working on a tall heated cabinet. I bought a premade pressboard cabinet, the kind with white vinyl covering the pressboard, but I cant get the wood smell out of it, so I'm redesigning right now.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know not everyone is comfortable with eating bugs, so I created a thread about cooking and eating silkworms.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Christina Doyle wrote:

r ranson wrote:  I understood it would be over three days, but we're on day four and there's a long way to go.  



I cant say it's not that, but it also could be the use of normal temps. It doesnt look like you've put them in a heated incubator. I put all mine in a constant 80 -81, night and day for 2 weeks, and I know temps affect their growth. There's very little variation when they are incubated. I think they like to be nice and warm throughout their growing time, so I've been working on a tall heated cabinet. I bought a premade pressboard cabinet, the kind with white vinyl covering the pressboard, but I cant get the wood smell out of it, so I'm redesigning right now.



That could be it.

This time of year, I expect this room to stay between 78 and 84 degrees F.  But this year is unseasonably cold.  We're staying between 72 and 76 degrees F.  I have the heat on so it won't go below seventy which is totally crazy for this time of year.  

The incubator is in use for chickens otherwise I would have tried that.  

Maybe these first hatchlings are less temperature sensitive.  Probably a good idea to try to divide into two batches based on hatch time... if I have space.  I'm still uncertain how much space two hundred worms will need.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 338
Location: South of Capricorn
88
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

r ranson wrote:I know not everyone is comfortable with eating bugs, so I created a thread about cooking and eating silkworms.  


lol! I didn't want to be the monster in the room saying "wow your new little sweeties are one of my favorite foods", but...... it's true.

 
Christina Doyle
Posts: 22
4
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tereza Okava wrote:

r ranson wrote:I know not everyone is comfortable with eating bugs, so I created a thread about cooking and eating silkworms.  


lol! I didn't want to be the monster in the room saying "wow your new little sweeties are one of my favorite foods", but...... it's true.



At what stage do you eat them? Ive seen pupae and worm both being eaten. They're..very smooth and plump. Hakuna matata!!
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jim Wineteer wrote:There is a gorgeous Youtube channel Liziqi in a sericulture episode she dices up leaves for babies, and then throws armloads of leaves to the big caterpillars.  And it shows processing.

Lifestyle design like Jack Spirko speaks of would have this fantasy life Liziqi portrays on one end of the scale and Jerry Springer guests on the other end of the same continuum.



Is it this one?



It's one of my favourite videos.  
 
Tereza Okava
pollinator
Posts: 338
Location: South of Capricorn
88
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Christina Doyle wrote:. Hakuna matata!!


Yeah, I'm not sure i could do the ooey gooey stage. Mine were crunchy pupas.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't know if this will work, but here is a youtube play list of videos related to home silk production.  There are even a few about moriculture in there (growing and propagating mulberry trees)
 
Posts: 8
1
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a Canadian weaver living in Japan on a sericulture farm. Brian Whitehead has taught here in Vancouver at Maiwa's program many times. His website has lots of interesting info: http://japanesetextileworkshops.blogspot.com/

 
Posts: 1
Location: Southwest Montana
trees ungarbage
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi!
An awesome co-worker shared this forum with me because I am starting to raise silkworms too! I ordered some as adults and have 17 total right now, about 13 of them seem to be in their 5th instar and the rest are in either 3 or 4, not sure. I have had them for about a week and it has been so fun and fascinating Looking forward to sharing and learning more here!
 
Christina Doyle
Posts: 22
4
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Emma Massick wrote:Hi!
An awesome co-worker shared this forum with me because I am starting to raise silkworms too! I ordered some as adults and have 17 total right now, about 13 of them seem to be in their 5th instar and the rest are in either 3 or 4, not sure. I have had them for about a week and it has been so fun and fascinating Looking forward to sharing and learning more here!



Go figure here is where I'd find other weird people also doing the weird things I do. 😆

Are you planning on breeding them?
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Today was the first day I left them alone all day.  Wage work pays the bills.  

I didn't move any of the hatchlings today, so there are all the overnight and early morning hatchlings still in with the eggs.  I just kept putting more leaves on top.  I gave the older ones three leaves instead of the usual one, just in case I was late home.  They didn't eat all that much, so I think this will work for tomorrow.

I also tried something new today.  I picked a bunch of leaves last night and put them in a plastic container in the fridge.  That way I could feed them breakfast before I had got out of my PJs.  I imagine eating an hour earlier in the day makes them happy.  But I really have no idea what worms are thinking or saying.  They seem so alien to me.  Not at all like chickens.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The hatchlings seem to like to crawl upwards.  I found one of them had crawled out of the hatching container and was entering the big-worm container yesterday.  I need to keep a close eye on them in the mornings as the upward instinct is stronger than their ability to find leaves.  Once they find the leaves, they are much better.

I think there's still a quarter or so of the eggs grey which makes me think they are still viable.  New hatchlings every morning.  Next year I might wait until later in the summer.

It's been far too cold this week.  I can't believe I have the heat on in JUNE!  I'm keeping it so it doesn't dip below 72F at night.  I'm wondering if one of those under-pot grow mats for starting seedlings would work.  That's supposed to keep things at about 22C.  But no temperature control, so I don't want to risk it this year.

I got to watch some of the bigger ones shed their skin yesterday.  I was worried because they were very, very still for over a day.  Like the one in the picture below.  Then suddenly, one of them got up and walked out of his old 'pants', just like it says they would.  Isn't it lovely when things come together?  or... um, in this case, come apart.  
IMG_6822.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_6822.JPG]
getting ready to shed
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can't really count that high, but I suspect I may have a lot more than two hundred.  I think I can hear them eating.

I may need to give some moths away when they get bigger and I run low on mulberry branches.  But that means interacting with humans... shudder.  Better that than feed the extra worms to the chickens.

The mulberry tree I heard about in Fernwood isn't where they said it would be.  I don't know where it is.  But I do have some friends with trees... except that may mean a boat ride to get there.  Maybe an advert in the local Used Anywhere for leaves later on.

I wonder... once upon a time, someone told me there was a map of wild forage trees in town.  I wonder if that still exists.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
crazy thought - do worms respond well to music?  My chickens love having music when they are young.  
 
Posts: 43
Location: Ontario, Canada
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Or you could do what Teresa suggests and eat the extras.  Though you will see that will be difficult because you do get attached to those baby Kegos.
I wouldn’t be able to feed them to the chickens either. Not after all that work.  
Too bad you don’t live closer.  I have 6 trees and I know of 6 others nearby.
Good luck on your quest.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This morning I found a kego in a sealed bin where I'm stashing my extra silk supplies.  He was lethargic but alive.  I put him on a mulberry leaf.  

No hatchlings overnight, but lots of grey eggs still.
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
Posts: 43
Location: Ontario, Canada
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Raven,

Do you have the eggs in a separate container from the baby Kegos? For the the eggs I would just give them a fresh leaf 2 times a day. Just to give them incentive.  Keep the container they are in with maybe a sheer curtain on top with an elastic around the brim.  Those babies are little too precious to lose.  It’s amazing how they can wander if they are searching.
Keep us updated on their antics.  Keep up the good work.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More heat equals more hunger!

Three days ago I had the heat on to keep the room over 70F.  Yesterday, the weather shot up and it was 80F overnight and hotter during the day.  We had to take measures to keep the room below 85F.  Crazy!

But even more crazy is in the first two hours after 'breakfast' yesterday, the worms were hungry.  By noon they had eaten two days worth of food.  I'm glad I had someone check in on them otherwise I would have had a mutiny.

We already have some that have shed their skin twice.  Maybe third instar?  Or possibly forth?  I don't know.  
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
very hungry Caterpillar is right.. Their appetite is almost doubling daily!  

 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 14603
Location: Left Coast Canada
3224
books chicken fiber arts cooking sheep writing
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yesterday morning there was a pesticide drift from the north.  Second time in under a week.  I think it's something they use on their horses as it smells like seven.

The problem is, my back-up mulberry trees are on the north property line.  These trees are growing in a STUN situation so they aren't' as tender as the leaves from the trees that are growing next to the chickens.  I was saving these mulberry trees for last because the bigger worms can eat tougher leaves.  But now...

... I don't know if it is safe to use these leaves.  I don't know enough about sprays.  Can the leaves just be washed off?  I'm hoping I won't need them for a week, but would a week be long enough for the chemical to dissipate?  

 
Mary-Ellen Zands
Posts: 43
Location: Ontario, Canada
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Raven,
Wash a few leaves in a bowl of water with a tsp of baking soda.  Rinse well and dry well.  Try it on a few worms now.  Better now on the small ones than to lose the bigs ones later.  
 
Men call me Jim. Women look past me to this tiny ad:
Thread Boost feature
https://permies.com/wiki/61482/Thread-Boost-feature
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!