Volume 65: Macarthur-Onslow correspondence, 1846-1929: No. 426

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[Page 426]

  After the first mulberry leaves have appeared on the trees, submit the silkworm graine to gentle even heat, 75o Fahr.; or where that is not available, a corner in the kitchen, away from the fire will do.  In ten to twelve days the eggs will begin to hatch.  Throw away the few worms that come out the first day; in the evening after their appearance scatter a few small twigs of mulberry over the eggs.  These will be covered with little worms the next morning, the second day.  At noon remove them to the trays in the place where you intend to have the rearing.  Do the same on the third and fourth days, throw away the few remaining eggs.  To produce uniformity of size and development in the worms hatched on three successive days, keep the last in the warmest place and feed them oftener, act in the opposite manner with the first and they will all be ready for the first moult at the same time.

  In the following paragraphs an even, artificial temperature is presupposed to allow of a unity of time to be stated.  The quantity of food is for the worms of 1/2 oz. of graine and the whole age, and the space to be gradually reached toward the end of the age.

   I. Age, five days from last hatching.  From the egg to the first moult, 3lbs. of finely chopped leaves, 4 ft. square.  Feed every three hours, beginning at 5 o'clock in the morning till 11 at night; increasing the quantity of food at each meal till the fourth day after the last hatching, then decrease again.  On the sixth day the worms go into their first moult, and require hardly any food.  Give clean trays on the third day; when changing the trays increase the space by lifting off the trays when only half the number of worms have risen to the fresh food.

    II.  Age, four days, 7 lbs of leaves chopped less finely, 8 ft. square.  On the morning of the sixth day, put trays, with the smallest meshed net over the worms, and sprinkle the fresh food on.  The worms will cast their skins and rise through the net to the fresh food above.  Lift the trays off when about half the number has risen, and give new trays for the other half, for the purpose of increasing the space.  Give clean trays on the third day (evening), and decrease after that.  On the fourth day the worms enter the second moult.

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