Raising silkworms can be a very profitable business, especially when you consider the low costs involved as well as how little space is required for a silkworm operation. In fact, raising silkworms is only second to beekeeping when it comes to the world’s most profitable insects in insect farming.
Important Considerations When Raising Silkworms
The most important factor to consider when raising silkworms is the food they eat. Ideally, silkworms should be fed mulberry leaves – and even better is when this is white mulberry from Asia or red or black mulberry trees from North America.
Temperature & Timing
Moth eggs at just 30 cents per egg are very inexpensive. But if you happen to buy the eggs before mulberry trees are leafed out, then it is best to store the eggs in a refrigerator until the time comes to place them in their nursery. Once ready, the goal is then to make sure that warmth is gradually increased to room temperature, and humidity is as high as 90 percent.
When the eggs hatch, it is then time to lower the humidity to approximately 50 percent or less. The worms and any food should then be away from direct sunlight. If you want to maximize the growth of the worms, then it is recommended to supply fresh mulberry leaves at least once a day.
It takes about a month for the silkworms to be ready to spin their silk. To be able to do this, the worms need a protected space. Common cocoon holders that can be used include egg cartons, chicken wire, berry boxes, baskets, or leafless branches. This is because they easily allow the silkworms to attach their silky anchors to.
Killing the Pupae
Once the cocoons are complete, it is time to kill the pupae inside the cocoons. This can be done through steaming, boiling, or baking the cocoons.
The final stage is the reeling process. While techniques may vary, all involve hot water baths because it is the best way to loosen the strands and enable spooling onto reels.
Impressively, just a single cocoon can hold a strand of silk that can stretch up to a mile and a half.