Article by Natalya Mallia

Three years ago, I wanted to start breeding Silk Worms. Silk worms are the source of silk and millions of them are killed every year to create silk.

They are white and silky, and they are scientifically also called Bombyx Mori. They are not able to live in the wild anymore because they have been so extensively domesticated, in fact I bought mine online. At first, I only bought about 60 worms and as the cycle went on, they multiplied. I have been breeding them for 3 years and by now I have about 150 worms hatching every year.

They start to hatch in the beginning of April right before spring. When they hatch, they are the size of an ant so I have to pick all of them by a toothpick one by one. They eat leaves from Mulberry trees. In 1984 the Mulberry trees became illegal because the pollen that these trees create is harmful to humans. That is why these trees are very rare and only a few of them are found in specific areas in Malta. I always wash my hands after I feed them as the pollen can cause rashes and infections.

However, this pollen is really important to the Silk Worms as it help them grow silk inside of them, to use later to build their silk cocoon and after 2 weeks inside the cocoon they become a Silk Moth. This Moth is white and furry and it cannot fly. It finds a partner and mates with it. After that the female Silk Moth starts to lay eggs and the moth dies. At early spring, these eggs hatch, allowing the cycle to repeat.