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Let’s Talk About a Silk and Silkworms: Adorable, Furry Moths

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Silkworms are adorable, furry moths. However, they can not fly, only hop. This is because of mankind. Humans have bred only the weakest ones over and over so that the silkworms wouldn’t fly. Why would we not want to let them fly? Well, we need to maintain them for more breeding so that we can make silk.

The silk comes from a silkworm’s cocoon. Members of the moth and butterfly family make their own cocoons, but only silkworms make them out of silk. It is almost like how spiders make webs. They pass silk produced by their bodies through the mouth while in the larvae stage. It protects the chrysalis inside from damage while being made. A chrysalis is what helps change a caterpillar into a butterfly or moth.

The first step for a silkworm farmer is to take the cocoon quickly after it is completed, so he can prevent the caterpillar from hatching into a silkworm in the chrysalis inside. He prevents this by boiling the cocoon in hot waters at any sort of temperature he prefers. This also loosens the fibers. The farmer also manages to break the caterpillar carcass out of its shell without breaking it. Then, the farmer douses the hollowed out cocoons in cooler, but still warm, water. This water is commonly at a temperature of 203 to 206.6 degrees fahrenheit. It is then unravelled in the farmer’s hands. Once unwoven, this thread is used to make fabulous silk cloth that is used almost everywhere around the globe.

However, farmers allow various silkworms to make it through metamorphosis, or the time the caterpillar has in its stage of development inside its chrysalis, and into the moth stage. This way, farmers can still have a chance to go through the cycle again. The adult female moth lays hundreds of eggs after the mating session while the male silkworm sets out to find another mate. After she’s laid them, the silkworms will appear through their first stage of life in the egg. The next stage of life appears when they hatch as larvae.

The farmers feed them mulberry leaves twice every 24 hours. They shed multiple times until they end in a hard yellowish shell. This is how the farmer determines it is ready to prepare its silk cocoon. This takes it from the larvae stage to the pupa stage. While in this stage, moths are generally in the chrysalis and going through metamorphosis. It will return from its casing once it has gone toward its imago stage, or adult stage. As an adult, the male immediately wanders off looking for its mate. Each male silkworm is attracted to a certain alcoholic aroma carried off by a female. They then mate and move on. That leads another cycle, then another, and then another, which goes on for longer than the farmer keeps his job.

Silkworms have been domesticated for a long time and carry out serious weakness toward themselves and their offsprings and offsprings’ offsprings. They can become sick easily and have a serious risk of extinction if farmers stop their work. Before you start thinking of silkworm farmers as bug killers or murderers for their own gain, consider how they may be the silkworm’s only hope for survival.

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