Sunday, August 30, 2009

We have moths!

All of our silk worms have now gone into cocoon. Yesterday our first moth broke through. Three more came out at dawn today. We have 30 more to go.

The moths secrete an enzyme that eats a hole through the cocoon, creating the escape hatch. Unfortunately, that damages the silk. We're debating whether or not to bake a couple of the cocoons; that would kill the larvae, so that we can unwind the silk. That might reduce the number of eggs we end up with, too (a factor to consider, since each female could lay up to 300 eggs!) But we all think we'd feel bad about killing off our pals.

If you're in the neighborhood and want to adopt some silkworm eggs, let me know. You can probably get a full cycle in before the mulberry trees drop their leaves this fall. For inspiration, check this great site with silkworm info and lots of photos. They're not smelly or messy, they don't need to be walked, and they stay in one place.

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