Silkworm breeding question

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi! This is my first try at breeding silkworms. I'm wondering if the toilet paper rolls for cocooning should be placed in the enclosure horizontal like I have them or vertical? Also, what temperature is best for this stage as they get big and ready to cocoon? I wasn't able to find a bunch of info on this part. Thanks in advance!
 

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salty dog

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thats how I set mine and they cocooned just fine, and some cocooned on the corner of the plastic etc... I had to keep mine over 75°f. to hatch and physically get them to mate because their wings have been bred out by the silk industry, you will see actually pretty sad, others will chime in that has a little more experience
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
So all of my moths have emerged. 4 females laid eggs after breeding, 2 females laid eggs in their cocoons before emerging, 2 females mated with males but never laid any eggs, and 3 females never mated (not sure why). So even though I got a bunch of fertilized eggs (cant complain!) the majority of my females did not successfully mate/produce eggs for some reason. It this normal, or is it more normal to have all the moth successfully mate and lay eggs? This was my first time doing this so not sure if I did something wrong.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
So all of my moths have emerged. 4 females laid eggs after breeding, 2 females laid eggs in their cocoons before emerging, 2 females mated with males but never laid any eggs, and 3 females never mated (not sure why). So even though I got a bunch of fertilized eggs (cant complain!) the majority of my females did not successfully mate/produce eggs for some reason. It this normal, or is it more normal to have all the moth successfully mate and lay eggs? This was my first time doing this so not sure if I did something wrong.
well either way the moths will lay eggs, maybe your just not seeing it, they will lay fertile or unfertile
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hi! This is my first try at breeding silkworms. I'm wondering if the toilet paper rolls for cocooning should be placed in the enclosure horizontal like I have them or vertical? Also, what temperature is best for this stage as they get big and ready to cocoon? I wasn't able to find a bunch of info on this part. Thanks in advance!
OK I love your setup! with the grate for their poop to fall through! sooooo smart. I still have mine in cocoons. When I put in the rolls I had some up and some on the side. The bigger worms seemed to go for the side ones and the smaller ones went for the ones cut down and sitting up. I took all of mine out of the rolls once they completed their cocoon and put them into a separate container. It has been about a week since the first one spun. I have been keeping my worms at 78-80 degrees. I did have to put a small dish of water in to up the humidity because the food was drying out within a few hours under the heat.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
OK I love your setup! with the grate for their poop to fall through! sooooo smart. I still have mine in cocoons. When I put in the rolls I had some up and some on the side. The bigger worms seemed to go for the side ones and the smaller ones went for the ones cut down and sitting up. I took all of mine out of the rolls once they completed their cocoon and put them into a separate container. It has been about a week since the first one spun. I have been keeping my worms at 78-80 degrees. I did have to put a small dish of water in to up the humidity because the food was drying out within a few hours under the heat.
Thank you? It sits over another box a catches the poops so very easy to clean. Only for bigger silkworms though. The smaller ones have a smaller setup and get transferred in her once they're big enough.

The water dish is a great idea, I'm going to try that. My food dries out soooo fast.

I think I need to up their heat, mine around around 70-72...
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you? It sits over another box a catches the poops so very easy to clean. Only for bigger silkworms though. The smaller ones have a smaller setup and get transferred in her once they're big enough.

The water dish is a great idea, I'm going to try that. My food dries out soooo fast.

I think I need to up their heat, mine around around 70-72...
Yeah I put the water dish in their container... I have it at 78 degrees. I have not had any issue of food drying out since I added the water.
How long did it take for your moths to start to come out from their cocoons?
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yeah I put the water dish in their container... I have it at 78 degrees. I have not had any issue of food drying out since I added the water.
How long did it take for your moths to start to come out from their cocoons?
It took about 3 weeks... I saw the red on the cocoon, waited a day and when the moths didn't emerge that's when I cut the holes. That worked, they all emerged. I had two more females lay eggs yesterday (no sure if those are fertile or not yet), so I think I got about 700+ eggs out of this batch. They've been bagged up and moved to the crisper drawer in fridge (except for the new ones, I'll wait the 3 days on those). I'll try hatching the first batch in 2 months...
 
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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
It took about 3 weeks... I saw the red on the cocoon, waited a day and when the moths didn't emerge that's when I cut the holes. That worked, they all emerged. I had two more females lay eggs yesterday (no sure if those are fertile or not yet), so I think I got about 700+ eggs out of this batch. They've been bagged up and moved to the crisper drawer in fridge (except for the new ones, I'll wait the 3 days on those). I'll try hatching the first batch in 2 months...
So you don't put them in the fridge immediately? How many days do I wait exactly?
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
So you don't put them in the fridge immediately? How many days do I wait exactly?
I read that you wait 3 days after they are laid. They will change from lemon color to dark grey/brown/black if fertile during that time.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
I read that you wait 3 days after they are laid. They will change from lemon color to dark grey/brown/black if fertile during that time.
ohhhhhhh I just love that I can pick your brain on this lol. Thanks hun. So far no changes in my cocoons but the very first one cocooned on the 6th and the last one cocooned on the 13th. So I still have a bit of time if it is 3 weeks lol. I am hoping that I get males and females that emerge at the same time.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
ohhhhhhh I just love that I can pick your brain on this lol. Thanks hun. So far no changes in my cocoons but the very first one cocooned on the 6th and the last one cocooned on the 13th. So I still have a bit of time if it is 3 weeks lol. I am hoping that I get males and females that emerge at the same time.
Mine emerged over 5 days and I did have to physically pair them up. I put clear deli cups with airholes over the mating pairs and removed the males after they were done (12-24 hrs) but left the females confined so that she laid all eggs on a circle of paper towel. Made it easier to control. after the 3 days, I cut out the paper towel circles, bagged and dated the baggies, and put them in the fridge.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Mine emerged over 5 days and I did have to physically pair them up. I put clear deli cups with airholes over the mating pairs and removed the males after they were done (12-24 hrs) but left the females confined so that she laid all eggs on a circle of paper towel. Made it easier to control. after the 3 days, I cut out the paper towel circles, bagged and dated the baggies, and put them in the fridge.
Uggg I am really thinking this will be my first and last attempt at this lol. These are sooooo demanding :(
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
May I ask why silkworms? They are lower in calcium and higher in phosphorus if I'm not mistaken? Which is the opposite of what we're shooting for in our diets. Aren't there much better feeders out there for our Chams? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
May I ask why silkworms? They are lower in calcium and higher in phosphorus if I'm not mistaken? Which is the opposite of what we're shooting for in our diets. Aren't there much better feeders out there for our Chams? Please correct me if I'm wrong.
They are very healthy... here is a chart I found.
1EF1ECBE-38DB-429C-ACA0-6969515AB920.jpeg
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
They are very healthy... here is a chart I found.
View attachment 227104
Yes that's what I was looking at. But in reading the chart they are higher in phosphorus and lower in calcium to that of even a cricket. So wouldn't they not be the healthiest? Unless the moths make up a different nutritional value than the larvae? Idk I just saw the chart and was curious. Just seems like there are better options out there imo. I guess the one advantage they have is being very low in fat. So maybe a good feeder for already overweight Chams or adults with fat kid issues? Lol
 
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Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
Yes that's what I was looking at. But in reading the chart they are higher in phosphorus and lower in calcium to that of even a cricket. So wouldn't they not be the healthiest? Unless the moths make up a different nutritional value than the larvae? Idk I just saw the chart and was curious. Just seems like there are better options out there imo. I guess the one advantage they have is being very low in fat. So maybe a good feeder for already overweight Chams or adults with fat kid issues? Lol
So they should still be fed as part of a variety but from my understanding it is the fact that they are low in fat but also high in calcium, b vitamins, protein, iron, and magnesium. I believe it is due to the low fat content and nutritional value that they are considered such a good feeder.
 

CamoChameleonsHuman

Chameleon Enthusiast
So they should still be fed as part of a variety but from my understanding it is the fact that they are low in fat but also high in calcium, b vitamins, protein, iron, and magnesium. I believe it is due to the low fat content and nutritional value that they are considered such a good feeder.
OK thank you Beman. Was just curious because I hear about Calcium to phosphorus ratios. Having to much phosphorus to calcium negates the effects of the calcium as far as absorption into the bones and tissues themselves. I have really been doing good with mixing up the feeders for my little guy. Yesterday he had 7 gutloaded crickets, 2 gutloaded Dubias, and 2 superworms! Was super proud of him for eating all his fruits and veggies lol! :)
 

Beman

Chameleon Enthusiast
OK thank you Beman. Was just curious because I hear about Calcium to phosphorus ratios. Having to much phosphorus to calcium negates the effects of the calcium as far as absorption into the bones and tissues themselves. I have really been doing good with mixing up the feeders for my little guy. Yesterday he had 7 gutloaded crickets, 2 gutloaded Dubias, and 2 superworms! Was super proud of him for eating all his fruits and veggies lol! :)
I am by no means a specialist lol. I know it has to do with the total amounts of everything. I also know that the fat content is something that is looked at. Honestly I feed them because this was what I was advised to do by several of the very experienced keepers and breeders here. Due to my guy being extremely picky and no longer being willing to eat crickets, dubia, or superworms. I needed to find another staple feeder that I could use that he would actually eat.
You should post a thread about it so you get someone with the actual knowledge behind it.
You are very good about breaking things down and knowing the details. I do that with most of the husbandry but honestly I know what feeders are good but not all of the why's behind it. :p
 
In nature they would eat a big variety of insects so we are trying to recreate at least some variety in captivity, too. The problem originally was people fed insects that were raised only on bran, used improper lighting, and didn't properly supplement their reptiles all of these things led to severe problems. Personally, I try to cycle through the majority of available suitably sized prey, but with gutloaded crickets and roaches still being the majority, supplements used, and appropriate lighting changed annually..
 
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