Volume 65: Macarthur-Onslow correspondence, 1846-1929: No. 422
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INSTRUCTIONS FOR SILKWORM REARING.
THE silkworm is a caterpillar that feeds on the mulberry leaf, and produces in its cocoon the fibre known as silk. Since times immemorial, the silkworm has been domesticated first in China, then in the Western countries of Asia, finally in Europe, chiefly in France and Italy; and the mulberry tree has been cultivated by man for its use, like we grow hay and turnips for our horses and cattle. Sericulture is an occupation which, with comparatively labour, can be made a very profitable one. The knowledge necessary for both its branches, ie., the growing of the trees and the rearing of the worms, can be easily acquired.
The best kind of mulberry for the production of silk is the White Mulberry (Morus Alba). It is grown either from seed or from cuttings, like any other fruit tree. To keep the trees of an accessible size for the picking of the leaves, their branches are cut back either in June or August to within three eyes from the main branch. (see illustration 1 on plate). The trees must be allowed a complete rest at least every fourth year. From 80-150 trees to the acre is the usual number planted; the smaller number for richer ground, and vice versa. Small rearings of silkworms can easily be had in spare rooms, barns, or sheds; provided there is enough light, ventilation, and shelter against wind and weather.
Light Wooden Frames (see illustration 2) 4ft. by 12 ft., or greater length when space admits it, with 4-6 tiers, 18 in. distance from each other. These are required for placing the trays on which the worms are reared, though boards on trestles, common tables, or shelves may be made to answer the same purpose.
The Trays (see illustration 3) are made of 1/2 in. light laths nailed together, 4ft. by 20 in. Two are always used together, the lower one having coarse sackcloth stretched on, the upper one is covered with net of various sized meshes; mosquito netting answers for the small size and 1/4 in mesh for the