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Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Demise of the Silkworms

Well, I've been planning to write this post for a little while.  This year's silkworm experience has been disappointing to say the least.  From between 600 and 800 baby silkworms, I have about 20 cocoons!!  I've been battling with various disease issues I think for quite a while.

In an ideal situation, the journey from baby silkworms hatching to cocooning should take a month or maybe a little more.  Mine hung around for well over two months, a lot of the time eating their heads off.  My mulberry tree was absolutely ravaged in the process (it's recovering now) and my neighbour offered his tree should I need it (and I did!).

Gradually, they all died : either just died, or started to make cocoons and then died.  So imagine my surprise yesterday to find these two hardy souls in the box where I kept the cocoons :-

Not only was I amazed that any moths emerged from the cocoons, but also that the two who did make it were a male and female.

Whenever there has been disease in a batch of silkworms, the advice is not to breed from them as sometimes the disease can be carried through the eggs.  What the heck - these two have survived against all the odds and seem strong enough to mate and lay eggs. Maybe I'll keep the eggs and try some of them next year, just a small amount as a trial.  I do like a challenge!!

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