Heleyna is keeping silkworms.

P1020705For her birthday i n April Heleyna got “nature!” as she calls it. Part of her nature presents was a silkworm rearing kit. Sadly, thanks to the lovely cold start to summer the first lot of tiny worms died. Insectlore answered my email and sent us more eggs straight away. Very impressive, so I recommend them.

P1020721The second lot began hatching on the 8th May and now we have 16 lovely worms of various sizes. The two biggest are named Rhubarb and Rupert. Then there’s a Russell and a Bernard, but I don’t know which ones. The rest are not yet named. In order to keep this lot alive through the cold where’s-the-summer days I’ve lent them my lavender heatable velvet cushion. So they sit in style and can be kept around 20 to 23° C and be happy.

The kit comes with mulberry mash to feed the little darlings with. There’s a plastic tub and some mesh for them to climb on as well as tweezers for adding food and very gently lifting them up if you can’t manage with your fingers.  So long as you keep them warm they seem to do fine. They are easy to clean out. I recommend a paintbrush (size 6 or 8) for carefully moving them when they are little and for brushing the pooh out.

They are slow growing, thanks to how cold it’s been this Summer, but that just makes them last longer. Heleyna loves them but Iona thinks they are disgusting. I am rather fond of them.

P1020873 P1020876They should make it to about 7.5cm and then start their silky cocoons. As moths they are flightless, so they wont be scattered around your house and garden.

We will be making a lapbook about them.

We’re running out of food for them now. The food is a mash made from Mulberry leaves and Insect Lore sent enough to see the worms through but because we’re on a second batch and the weather hasn’t been good enough for them, we’re nearly at the end. I emailed Insect Lore about buying some more. Again they got back to me straight away and are sending more food out, at no extra charge.

I know a lot of people think the live animal kits seem a little expensive, but the aftercare from them is very good and they obviously do care about what happens to the wee beasties, which is good and sign they have respect even for them.

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