Oh deer! We're spinning.
I've been meaning to write about this for awhile, but I just haven't had the chance. Here is a picture of my weeping mulberry.
A few weeks ago it was beautiful, completely leafed and full. Then one night the deer came by our yard and almost stripped it. I'm very glad that I didn't have any B. mori that I had to feed, or I'd have been in trouble, Next year I'm going to get netting on it early to protect the buds from the squirrels, and then I'll leave it on to keep the deer off of the leaves. Honestly, they could have eaten ANY of the other crappy shrubs that we have in our yard. Why pick on my mulberry!!??
In bug news, this morning I saw that I had two spinners. They had just started the beginnings of the cocoons, and by this evening they had completely enclosed themselves in silk.
I have one spinner each in colony A and B, and I think I have one starting in Colony C. I think I may have figured out a spinning structure for them. I took short sections of used oak twigs and tied them together in the middle to form bundles of twigs. I'm hoping the silkworms will crawl upwards out of the leaves to spin in the twigs. It would be much easier to raise these outside!
Something that I haven't mentioned is that the worms seem to prefer leaves from certain trees. I'm not great with identifying oak trees, but I'm pretty sure that the oak leaves I collect out at the farm are pin oaks. The worms will eat the pin oak, but they seem to far prefer the leaves from our church's oak tree out back, and the oak leaves from our neighbor's oak tree which I think are the same species. Compared to the pin oak the leaves are a much darker green and the leaves are not as skinny and spiky as pin oak leaves. I'll have to see if I can figure out what species the preferred trees are, because I think it's interesting that they have favorites within a species.