Over the years I have lost quite a bit of money due to failure with silkworms, that’s a big reason I made this site is so that you won’t make the same mistakes.  Silkworm chow can get really expensive when ordering elsewhere in small quantities so be sure you order from us if you need a half pound or a hundred!

Hatching Eggs

You will find many sites saying you must do this in order for the eggs to hatch. Some say you must have an incubator, it’s not necessary (but I would recommend it even if you build your own). When I first started I did not have an incubator, but I had a room that I always kept in the 80’s which is ideal for silkworms. One of the most important parts, in my opinion, in the very beginning is overcrowding. Every site that I can remember has said to use Petri dishes to hatch eggs, DON’T! they cost way more than necessary! What I do is go to the dollar store and buy some cheap Tupperware (be sure to clean them very well before use, 10% bleach water works great). After you have them cleaned put about 200-300 eggs per small Tupperware container (less eggs = higher survival rates). Get them as close to 80-84 as you can and they should hatch in about a week

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The First Feeding

The first feeding can be nerve racking, if you grate chow on top of them and it lands on a few it will kill them, if you put chunks in there it will do the same. This is why I came up with my own method of feeding the new born silkworms. I’ll tell you how I came up with the idea (no, it shouldn’t be too long). When I first got my Tegu he wasn’t eating properly so I had to use a syringe to force yogurt into his mouth.  At this time I had 5,000 silkworm eggs about to hatch and I thought instead of losing a lot of them with less controlled feeding methods I could put the food in the syringe and make a very controlled line of food where ever I want it to be! This was the most effective feeding method I had ever seen, I would be surprised if I lost a single worm! At the time I was using a tiny syringe that would take forever to refill.  I did some searching and found some large syringes on amazon and they make feeding the small worms super easy! When the eggs hatch you put a string of food next to them NOT on them! They will crawl over to it to eat. The next feeding you can put it where they were the first time and they will go back! It makes it so mold doesn’t form because you are giving the food plenty of time to dry by not putting more
food on top of the old.

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Past the critical stage

Getting past the critical stage is huge, they are no longer as fragile as the babies are. The critical stage is the first 7-10 days after hatching. At this point it is now safe to transfer them to another clean container. If you think mold may have started to grow and your worms are not past the critical stage you can still transfer them, but be very careful and wash your hands extremely well before handling the baby worms. They should all be fine after the transfer. Once they have reached this stage I no longer use the syringe for feeding, I just put chunks of food around the container, it’s faster and easier. Also at this point you can cut back on feeding if you want to prolong the life of your worms, you will lose a few but for the most part they will last longer.

Large silkworms

When they are approaching full grown size they eat a lot more than you may think! I put a pound of cooked chow into a pile in one of my containers of silkworms to see how long it would last and it was gone the next morning (this was a big container with a couple thousand worms)! Be sure you have enough food to last you through their entire life cycle, buy in bulk – the food can last up to two years!

Spinning cocoons

When they start spinning cocoons they will start eating less, and once they start their cocoon they will never eat again! When you think that your worms are getting close to making their cocoons put toilet paper rolls or even little disposable cups in with them. Give the cocoons a few days to finish before you remove them so you don’t dent the cocoons. Once they are completely done with the cocoon you will be able to shake it and hear them rattling around inside. In a couple of weeks the moths will emerge.

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