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cmzaha

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Be very careful. If you have only a small tree they can destroy it. Much better to raise them on chow and feed them mulberry leaves as a treat. I used to raise silk worms for my Chameleons. The following link is where I used to purchase my eggs and baby caterpillars, much cheaper than Aurora Silk. They are fun for kids to watch grow
http://www.mulberryfarms.com/
 
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Jstar

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:shock: While that's cool and all about the silk..being an avid gardener for most of my life, the thought of purposely putting worms on my trees so they can munch is just...ohhh noooo :lol:
 

not_ally

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When I was really little I went to school in a place where there were bushes w/silk worms. The cocoons were so beautiful and pearlescent! I remember thinking that they looked like decorations for the bush. I might be mis-remembering though, this was an awfully long time ago :)

The bushes survived year after year, they must have gotten a good start before the moths arrived.
 
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zolveria

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OH THEY SELL COCCOONS!

Are they hard. or do we have to spin the thread from them.. do i have to steam them boil them etc. to release the threads...
 

Jstar

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I believe you have to boil or soak the cocoons so that the glue melts away.
 

Obsidian

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I have quite a few hatched cocoons, thats what I use in my soap. I cut them in half, soak in hot water for a few minutes to clean and loosen them up. I use half a cocoon for a 1 lb batch.

Not_ally, those were probably tent worms, silk worms are native to asia. Jstar, you pick the leaves to feed the worms, you don't put the worms on your trees.

I too raised silkies for reptile food, the chow is easy to feed and no worries about stripping your trees. Its amazing how much food those guys can eat.
 

cmzaha

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I too raised silkies for reptile food, the chow is easy to feed and no worries about stripping your trees. Its amazing how much food those guys can eat.
Yes it is. I raised around 500 at a time when I had my Chams, they just loved those soft squishy worms. It was amazing how much those guys eat. You could hear them munching the leaves, when I would go pick a bag full and give a treat from the chow. I do not have a Mulberry tree but had customers that had Mulberry trees. I just cut the cocoons in half and toss them in my lye solution. I use 1-2 cocoons for 6 lbs of soap
 

not_ally

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Obsidian, the memories are from when I was in boarding school in India (v. Dickensian, I am sure one of the reasons I remember them so well is that they were some of the few beautiful memories from then.) The cocoons were kind of shaped like long spiral sea shells, I am not sure what kind of worms/moths they were, but they were sooo beautiful.
 
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Obsidian

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I only raised 200 at a time but I only had at the most, two bearded dragons eating them. I would have loved to fed them mulberry once in awhile but they don't grow here. I did find a couple other things they would eat so I was able to supplement their diet a bit.

not_ally, they do sound beautiful. Some cocoons are amazing to look at, silkworms for the most part are pretty boring. They look a awful lot like a smoothish cotton ball. Some are colored though, the golden ones are really pretty.
 

not_ally

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"My" cocoons were definitely not silk worms, then. In memory they were kind of goldy-greeny-silver-pearl. I had almost nothing else beautiful in my life then, I would look at them a lot. It sure is weird what you remember from being a kid!
 

Obsidian

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Were they shiny and hard looking? They sound like a chrysalis, thats the shell caterpillars make around themselves while they turn into a butterfly/moth. Some, like the silkworm makes a fibery cocoon then form the chrysalis inside of that.
This is a silkworm cocoon with a moth emerging


then a butterfly chrysalis, they come in many colors and shapes
 

not_ally

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Definitely the second! That is so exciting, it is just what I remember. And how freaking beautiful is it? No wonder I remember it after all these years. Thanks, O.
 
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dillsandwitch

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so do you need to pull apart the cocoon before adding to the lye water or does the stick blender demolish it? Also what does adding silk to the soap bring to the table?
TIA :D
 

Obsidian

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I soak my cocoon in the soaping water before I add my lye, just long enough to make sure its full saturated. They always dissolve easily but if there were any bits left, I would strain the lye. I don't know if it adds much more then label appeal, maybe a bit silkier lather. I need to make some comparison batches.
 

DeeAnna

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That's a Monarch butterfly chrysalis, if my limited butterfly knowledge is right. We get a few of them around our house every year about this time, since I allow a few wild milkweed plants to grow in my garden for their fragrant blooms and to feed the Monarchs (much to a friend's disgust who only sees milkweed plants as "weeds").

I love the shiny gold dots on the chrysalis -- they shine like real gold. And how you can faintly see the developing butterfly inside. Yes, NA, it's absolutely a precious treat to see them. One of those tiny treasures that make life worth living.
 

cmzaha

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That's a Monarch butterfly chrysalis, if my limited butterfly knowledge is right. We get a few of them around our house every year about this time, since I allow a few wild milkweed plants to grow in my garden for their fragrant blooms and to feed the Monarchs (much to a friend's disgust who only sees milkweed plants as "weeds").

I love the shiny gold dots on the chrysalis -- they shine like real gold. And how you can faintly see the developing butterfly inside. Yes, NA, it's absolutely a precious treat to see them. One of those tiny treasures that make life worth living.
You are correct about the Monarch. Here is one starting to spin. This is one my granddaughter raised last year. She is raising some new ones now
 
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