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Excessive condensation forming in container after feeding is leading cause of failure. If this condensation does form, take lid off your container and allow container and old food to completely dry out. In future, make sure previous food is dry before feeding again. Old damp food is a breeding ground for mold and other problems, dry food is not.
Newly hatched silkworms are tiny As silkworms grow, you may need to transfer your worms to a larger plastic container. The lid needs to have ventilation holes. If not, you need to vent lid so silkworms won't suffocate and to allow condensation to dissipate. You can also use a shoebox. The old food and waste matter can be removed, but does not have to be if it remains thoroughly dry.
Under ideal conditions (78° to 88° F and allowed to feed nearly continuously) silkworms can go from egg to 1 inch in length in about 12 days, and 3 inches in under 30 days. The worms will begin to spin cocoons at about 28 - 30 days old or when they are between 2 1/2 and 3 inches long.
From Cocoon to Moth Silkworm Moth Silkworm moths emerge from their cocoons after spending about two to three weeks metamorphosing. As moths, they do not eat or fly. They will usually mate, lay eggs and die within a week. Fertile eggs turn from yellow to gray or purple in a week or so. If eggs don't hatch within 3 weeks, they usually will not hatch until following year (see above—from egg to larva).
Proper Handling Procedures Again, in order for your worms to stay healthy for many weeks, you'll need to keep silkworms as dry as possible. If condensation builds up during feeding, vent container lid to prevent excess humidity.
Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before handling worms or their food. Silkworms can be susceptible to bacteria if you don't properly handle them. As long as container environment remains dry, your worms will be fine.
Mold develops from high temperatures and high humidity. If worms are covered with droppings, silk and old food for too long, mold may develop and kill worms. If mold does develop, grate about 1/4 inch of food (sold separately) all over worms with a cheese grater. As worms crawl to top of new food pile you can transfer them off moldy food and place them into a new container.
Silkworms are susceptible to bruising and dying if not handled with care, especially as they grow larger. When handling and transferring worms, be very gentle.
For more information about caring for silkworms, see our Frequently Asked Questions.