Silkworm Cocoons

Brenda R

New Member
I have 3 silkworms cocoons now. How long does it take to hatch? Is there anything I should do for them? Do I remove them from where the worms are? I don't have and incubator for when they lay eggs. I tried to hatch some eggs I bought and they did hatch and were doing fine untill we had a cool night. Is there a way to make and incubator instead of buying them?
Hi Brenda,
I'm sure others (Lele) will chime in here but its been my experience that eggs will hatch just fine at room temp (I've never used an incubator and have several hundred more silkworms than I can use right now precisely because they can sometimes hatch before you can get 'em in the fridge!) Moths will emerge from their cacoons 2 -4 weeks after spinning. You'll want to move the moths to a separate enclosure to breed, mostly so you'll be able to easily retrieve the eggs. The moths don't require a lot of room because they're not particularly mobile -- they are programmed to mate right away and then will live only another few days without moving much. The eggs will stick to whatever the female deposits them on. Pieces of brown paper bag, cardboard, or toiletpaper rolls work well for me.

Here's a great article:
I keep my silkworms in a double decker snake cabinet that is heated by a 100 watt lightbulb. It keeps the temperature at about 80+ degrees on the silkworm side of the cabinet, and warmer on the other side where a couple species of roaches and the firebrats reside in their containers. If your room temperatures fall below about 70-75, you will want to figure out a way to keep them warm. Before I used the snake cabinet, I used tupperware containers with the tops cut out and replaced with screen, and then used a clamp lamp with a 60 watt lightbulb trained on the screen portion. The box stayed in the 80 degree range, and I never had any problems keeping them alive.

I remove cocoons and place them in a cardboard box with some slightly crumpled up chunks of brown paper. After they emerge as moths, they breed away and lay eggs. After the eggs turn gray, they can then be gathered and stored in the fridge until you are ready to hatch them. Most people allow them to sit for a month or two in the fridge anyhow, because they hatch better after a diapause, and a lot won't hatch at all without a diapause. Have you read lele's article on Chameleon News?

Thanks you for the info and the links to the pages. I tried once to hatch eggs but after hatching they only lasted a few days with no heat. I kept them at room temp and they all died. At least now I know what to do. Thanks again to you both.
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