Bombyx Mori Silkworms, native to Asia are like the Michelin star of livefoods. Their almost flawless nutritional content, overall appeal, their soft easy to digest body and along with the fact that they have also been known to instantly stop hunger strikes, really make this acclaimed miracle feeder one of the best! Silkworms contain an enzyme called Serrapeptase which has many healing properties; it’s an anti-inflammatory, breaks down arterial plaque and proves a catalyst for calcium absorption, these are just a few of the benefits silkworms provide. It is the shared belief of many around the world that silkworms are the most nutritious feeder you can offer your pets!
Chart of nutrition
For best results when you receive purchased silkworms, is to either keep them in the container they arrive in, or transfer them (using tweezers, gently) to a larger slightly vented container. Ensure that you give them a small amount of food every day if you wish to grow them on. Silkworms neither jump nor do they move too quickly but they can climb most surfaces. These caterpillars’ (commonly mistaken for worms – which is confusing given their name..!) secrete silk from tiny pours in their feet which act like glue. It’s always best to keep a lid on them to prevent them from escaping. To prevent any illness effecting your colony, be sure to remove any dead silkworms from the container as soon as/if you spot any.
Silkworms do not require any water at all, they get all the moisture they need from their food, either mulberry chow or fresh mulberry leaves. Given that they comprise of 76% moisture, its essential they are given top quality food such as mulberry leaves or premium quality chow, anything else will probably not be eaten or if it is may cause eventual death.
In total silkworms go through 5 instars (name for each stage of growth) throughout their life cycle. They shed their skin to enable growth through the next instar, and by doing this they maintain a soft full body which can grow constantly and remain firm to the touch. However this is also very delicate.
Silkworms require feeding daily, the size and amount of silkworms kept, dictates the amount of food required. For example, a tub of 40-80 medium silkworms (2-2.5”) would require a small cube of chow, 2” square and this should be sufficient for 24 hours. Just wait until the food has dried out before feeding again. If you feel that their food is still moist the following day, wait until it’s has been eaten or has dried out. If you continue to feed when there is still slightly moist old food in their container, mould can begin to form. So make sure old food is eaten, dried out or needs to be removed.
Silkworms are delicate and should be handled with care at all times. Always ensure your hands are clean when feeding and handling the worms. It’s advised to use tweezers when moving silkworms in order to eliminate any risk of disease. Also, once a silkworm has been removed from the container do not put it back in as this could contaminate the others. The silkworms can be placed at various points of any enclosure and will move around any direction, offering a fun game for your pets to find and catch them. Ensure that every other day you remove the majority of frass (silkworm poop) from their container, as keeping them clean will give you a better colony and remove risk of illness.
Temperature and Humidity
Silkworms need to be within a temperature range of 78-85 degrees Fahrenheit, this keeps their metabolism working at an optimum rate. If kept at a slightly lower temp, they will slow down slightly and could begin to have problems if the temp is dropped too much. Generally at room temp they will stay relatively still but will not last longer than a few days and will likely not eat while at this temp.
If kept among the correct temperature range, the food given to them daily and the moisture it holds will provide enough humidity for their container, just make sure that you keep their lid on so as to not dry them out too much (This is also important because when silkworms go through an instar (shed their skin), if the temp and humidity isn’t correct they are sometimes unable to shed their skin properly which can restrict their movement and ability to get to food). If you find the walls of their container with condensation, add more vents to their container as there is too much humidity and their container requires more air flow.