The Secrets of Raising Silkworms

If you're seeking an unusual hobby or part-time pursuit, consider raising silkworms—one of the world's most profitable insects after honeybees.



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The product of a successful season raising silkworms. That paper grocery bag holds about 10,000 cocoons, each composed of 600 to 1,000 yards of thread—enough to produce about 5 pounds of raw silk or about 30 pairs of silk stockings.
PHOTO: CLYDE E. WITT
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Marry Cook skillfully spins a cocoon into thread.
CLYDE E. WITT
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The tiny black spots on the tissue are eggs, which will hatch into silkworms (shown munching on a mulberry leaf) in about three to ten days. After 30 days of grazing, these critters will encase themselves in robes of silk, producing cocoons a little larger than a quarter. Silkworm farmers may kill the fat, brown pupa (on the paper towel) that inhabits the cocoon, or allow the chrysalid to hatch into the silkworm moth (again, perched on the leaf). Such adults will soon mate, reproduce, and die ... thereby completing their life cycle (the entirety of which is shown in this photo!).
CLYDE E. WITT
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Marry Stock demonstrates a method of rolling waste silk into a strand.
CLYDE E. WITT

















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