Raising silkworms to produce a silk cocoon is called “sericulture”.
We store our silkworm eggs in the refrigerator until required, then incubate 2000-4000 at a time at around 25 degrees to enable hatching. Hatchlings are “brushed” from the egg paper to small rearing trays where they eat and grow for the 4-5 days of their life as a caterpillar. They are then transferred to a larger rearing tray and placed in temperature and humidity controlled cabinets inside our workrooms.
At 35 days old, the worms are ready to make silk and are transferred again – this time into individual “pots” where they spin their silk thread in dark and quiet conditions. In 8-10 days, the worm has completed spinning and has fully transformed into the adult moth.
At this point our cocoons are removed from the pot and dehydrated for shipment to Cambodia.
We do retain some cocoons for breeding of course! These are placed in large breeding trays and the emerging moths are assisted to mate and lay their eggs. Silk moth eggs are a light creamy colour when laid, but turn grey within a few days if fertilised. Once fertilisation is confirmed, the eggs are placed in the refrigerator for future incubation.
The moths die naturally within a few days of emergence.