Feeding Mulberry Leaves to Silkworms, Japan

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Silkworm eggs are hatched in an incubator. The young worms are then taken to a feeding room such as you see here. Groves of mulberry trees are grown to furnish food to the hundreds of thousands of hungry little mouths. But at first the worms are too tiny to feed on the coarse leaves. So the leaves are made into an ash which is sprinkled in the trays where the worms are kept. In a short while the worms are large and strong enough to eat chopped leaves. A little later they are big enough to enjoy a meal of full-sized leaves. They appear to be hungry all the time. It requires a half dozen feedings a day to satisfy them. For thirty days they are so fed with the exception of four periods of rest, each of two days length. During these rests they sleep. By the time they are a month old they are fully two inches in length. Then they quit eating, and make ready to pass into their next stage of life-the sleeping or chrysalis period. During the feeding period Japanese workmen are busy in the mulberry groves. The mulberries grown there are short bushy trees and are kept cut back. This allows the men, while standing on the ground, to cut the topmost branches. The upper branches contain the tenderest leaves, and these must be given to the baby worms. A good deal of skill is needed to make ready the six meals for the hungry boarders. Inside the feeding room, the women in charge are kept busy feeding the worms just the food they want, in the right quantities. Of what are the trays made? How many tiers of trays do you see? Why must these rooms be kept quiet? If eggs are placed in the incubator on May 1, when do the worms quit eating? Keystone ID: 14748 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.