Silkworm Mini-Factory

Hey all, calling on the silkworm experts to give their two cents

I have a sub-adult ambilobe that eats silks like a pig (in a addition to just about everything else, but we'll leave those out for simplicity)

Right now Im buying pre-hatched silkworms and growing them out, but would like to get into bulk orders of eggs to do my own hatching. I have no desire to breed my own, because I'd rather not deal with diapause issues. Its my general understanding that commercial sources of eggs avoid this via long refrigeration or an acid wash.
...I mean, I have access to acid...but...just no

Ideally, Id like to space out hatchings of 25-50 or so eggs to allow for a harvest of 5 large (5th instar) silks a day.... or 10medium, 15small, or whatever the silkworm conversion rate is.

The plan (I can document as I go along) is to buy a multi-bin storage container much like this

Keeping a heating pad under the bottom most for petri dish egg hatchings, and moving the worms up through the bins as they go through their instars. They would be exposed to the normal 12hr light schedule that my room is on


So, for those with experience:

What, excluding issues with excessive mold or disease, is the hatch % for a clutch of eggs?

How long should the hatchings be spaced out (including the ~12 day incubation time) to allow for adequate growth and feed outs. Ideally Id like to accomplish a sort of 'feeder conveyor belt' operation


any other input or suggestions would be awesome
 

Kate

Established Member
It's a good idea in principal, however you should have a mix of feeders for a healthy Cham. It won't be long before you will feed your every second day. Having all these different stage silks will need a lot of work with feeding and cleaning. I breed my own but find that I cannot predict when the eggs will hatch. Do you have enough food for them? I don't dust mine as they are high in calcium. How will yours get d3? Good luck in your project let us know how you get on.:)
 
It's a good idea in principal, however you should have a mix of feeders for a healthy Cham. It won't be long before you will feed your every second day. Having all these different stage silks will need a lot of work with feeding and cleaning. I breed my own but find that I cannot predict when the eggs will hatch. Do you have enough food for them? I don't dust mine as they are high in calcium. How will yours get d3? Good luck in your project let us know how you get on.:)
yup, he chows crickets, roaches, phoenix worms, pretty much whatever... not a picky cham, I try to vary it up as much as possible, but silkies are definitely always on the menu

The food is covered for now, i think i have 4-5lbs of the powdered stuff

The work aspect is a challenge, and I doubt ill keep each instar sorted. It will most likely be a separation between large and smalls, to prevent injuries. I dont dust the silkies either, but i hit the roaches and crickets with a Ca+D3 and just Ca powder intermittently (D3 comes twice a month, same with a multi-vit). I should have all those bases covered

Do you hatch your own from commercial eggs, or do you deal with the moths yourself?
 

Kate

Established Member
I deal with - worms- cocoons- moths - eggs. It's quite easy to deal with eggs. The only problem I have is that I am impatient LOL and I end up taking more eggs out of fridge and I end up with more worms than I can deal with. They also need a lot of attention when they are tiny with feeding and cleaning several times a day. They don't need lots of food but you need to change it as it gets dried up.:)
 
The only problem I have is that I am impatient LOL and I end up taking more eggs out of fridge and I end up with more worms than I can deal with.
lol, thats EXACTLY what Im afraid ill do.... I was hoping that If I did multiple small hatchings of 25-50 I wouldnt end up with 100 moths. The current plan would probably prove to be too much upkeep though, so i might have to rethink

thanks!
 

Kate

Established Member
I seem to be in same position again. Lots of hatchlings.LOL The last time I did swaps with friends on here. There were little packages going up and down the UK. :)I'm in a better position now as I've found my magnifying glass.:D
 
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