Now, what's the secret to keeping them alive and well on chow/
just a little bit more diligence than usual.
After many trials and errors, I think I finally have it down, and I'm giving away a fault proof method:
1. Use incubator. Use a hatching dish. Pour a hot layer of chow, just 1/4 inch deep. Freeze till ready.
2. Incubate your eggs. Be sure you maintain right temp and humidity. Low humidity WILL compromise hatch rate.
3. When your eggs are due to hatch, place it on a bench (one of those craft things that are included in my kit) and place the bench side ways.. into your chow (assuming your eggs are laid on paper, or glue your eggs onto paper). The egg will absorb a little bit of water, so long as it doesn't contaminate the eggs, it'll be alright.
4. At this time you would have thawed out your frozen chow. Place that into incubator along with the benched eggs. Once the hatch, the kegos will just migrate down and walk on to the chow.
5. Let them be. Do nothing. (How easy is that?) in 4 or 5 days they would have reached their 2nd stage, you'll need to move them over to a rearing tray.
6. Prepare your piped chow. Each time you remove it from the fridge microwave for 15 sec. The bag is safe and is used to melt candy in the microwave for as long as 8 min. After the bag cools a litte you can feed to your 1/4 inchers. Use a mesh if you like to separate food from frass.
7. Now, you should ventilate your incubator. So that the chow dries out after 12 hours. If it stays too moist, you will FORE sure run into problems.
At this stage, I pipe them and they turn into a ramen dry rack.
8. Eventually, they get big enough that you can hand pick them off. Continue feeding piped chow however way you want. The piping bag is great, you never touch the chow and you sanitize it every time you heat it up! You can always squeeze out the tip if you are afraid of contamination. I do not find it to be a problem.
9. At one inch, they'd be done all the food you feed them within one day. So I feed them 2-3x a day.
10. Their frass becomes mingled with some food and the rearing trays becomes a huge hazard this way.
11. I use lean cuisine trays. I change their tray once a day or whenever I find the need.... or when they outgrow it. This minimize diseases and these trays are machine washable. It' s a no brainer.
12. And guess what, the chow I am using is from a SUPER sized powder bag that I kept frozen for three years! Still good for the silkworms!
Chow isn't that hard. I can see why some would find it easy. BUT you have to have the right environment. You MUST be sure the chow gets dried off (you may not even have to remove dried chow).. and you MUST be sure to sanitize chow prior to feeding. This is done possible only through the piping bag, and you use chow much much more efficiently this way.
So, what else can I offer you? this is fool proof! Following these very simple steps, you will for sure have a greater appreciation for chow!
IF you are knowledgeable about their voltinity, YOU CAN actually control these silkworms to delay diapaused vs non diapaused eggs for the next generation! If I haven't already mentioned it in my blog already....
Have fun raising them in the winter!!