Apr 20, 2011

The Zen of Silkworms

It's been 3 days since the first hatchlings emerged.  If I counted right, 108 hatched that first day (Sunday).  About 30 more hatched the day after, and maybe 15 more yesterday.  Right now, There are 16 eggs left and although I will give them every chance to prove me wrong, I don't think they'll make it. 

The silkworms that did hatch are all still in the incubator at about 79 F.  The humidity fluctuates, but is in the 75-80% range.  They'll stay there until they outgrow it, or are ready to cocoon.  I'm checking them 3+ times a day making sure they have food, and removing the dried up food and frass (silkworm poo).  It is amazing the quantity of poo the guys can make considering how tiny they are. 

To get an idea of just how fast these little guys grow,check out this picture I took yesterday. 
The coin is a nickle.  The silkworm on the left is 2 days old.  The one in the middle  1, and the one on the right has just hatched . Notice, their black shiny bead of a head stays the same size even though their bodies have grown.  The head won't change size until they molt.  When they shed their skin, they'll get a larger head and a looser skin that they can grow into.

This is the 2 day olds next to a pencil. 

Here they are at 3 days.

And this is my sericulturist (silkworm farmer) in training.  He's a very eager learner.

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