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Starving Silkworms in shoeboxes across the Territory

By rob68 - 4 November 2009 34

There are silkworms starving to death in shoeboxes across the Territory every year.   Carers, eager to give their children an experience from their own childhood, purchase silkworms from pet shops, school fetes and even from the internet, in the hopes that little Johnny and little Janey will be enriched from the encounter. 

Unfortunately, we don’t always think these decisions through.  Silkworm food cannot (yet) be thrown into the trolley with the oven fries and the soymilk!  We actually have to hunt and gather to keep our creepy little friends alive, and it is daily occurrance for up to two months.  Many a pair of pantyhose has been laddered in an unladylike scramble over a fence, resorting to leaf-theft in the desperate attempt to avoid the heart-wrenching moment when little JJ cries “..but Mummy, you killed my pets!”

Is it possible for someone, somewhere, to host a list of Mulberry tree locations, both publicly and privately owned?  Surely the knock-on effect would be worth it:  less mental illness and stress in our community, less wriggling pets being sacrificed to baby magpies, less guilt-generated presents being purchased just weeks before Christmas.. the list is endless.

Let’s try to salvage this once common-place joy from one’s childhood and make mulberry tree locations, around our capital, public knowledge!

PS:  If anyone has a tree in the Gungahlin or Belconnen areas, please let me know! 
[Ed] Does anyone actually buy silkworms as pets?

What’s Your opinion?

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34 Responses to
Starving Silkworms in shoeboxes across the Territory
Quokka 10:24 pm 05 Nov 09

Buxton St! That was the one in Deakin, thanks smilesr it was really bugging me that I couldn’t remember the street name.

briggspc 8:28 pm 05 Nov 09

I would love some silkworms can you help?

rob68 12:29 pm 05 Nov 09

Yes Ed, they do. They are sold in some pet shops, trading post, all classifieds etc. \

Unfortunately, Curtin PS prunes their mulberry tree so that even adults cannot reach the leaves. I know some of the other public trees are pruned that way too.

Silkworms do eat the white mulberry leaves. I’ve bought a white mulberry tree myself (less staining on the washing line!).

Thanks for the contributions everyone! Maybe I’ll start the location map myself…

smilesr 8:18 am 05 Nov 09

According to “Trees and Shrubs in Canberra” (L.D. Pryor & J.C.G. Banks), Morus alba (white mulberry) and Morus nigra (black mulberry) are found in Buxton Street Deakin and Gillen Street Ainslie respectively. Not sure if silkworms eat the white mulberry leaves though.

jessieduck 7:02 am 05 Nov 09

There used to be one near the back of the car park to the right of the takeaway shop on Lowananna St, Braddon. The last time I was there was about 3 years ago so no guarantees.

cleo 2:28 am 05 Nov 09

You can also feed them cabbage, which makes green silk, or carrots which makes orange silk, as I did as a kid.

Thoroughly Smashed 10:05 pm 04 Nov 09
knuckles 8:55 pm 04 Nov 09

If you get stuck with too many silkworms let me know. My bearded dragons love them

switch 8:28 pm 04 Nov 09

There’s a mulberry tree at Curtin PS.

Used to do a roaring trade when I was in primary school whenever the silkworm craze went on, since we had the only mulberry tree for miles around in our backyard.

deezagood 8:06 pm 04 Nov 09

Save yourself some time and effort and order some blocks of food from Mulburry Farms in the USA …. so much easier (you can buy eggs from there too). Once they have eaten leaves though, they won’t switch to purchased food … they need to start on it from hatching.

Quokka 7:54 pm 04 Nov 09

I used to collect leaves for silkworms when I was kid from a street in Deakin that was lined with mulberry trees, unfortunately I can’t remember exactly which street.
I also remember getting leaves from mulberry trees at Weston Park, somewhere between Prescott Lane and the next carpark to the north.
A bit vague I know, but it was a long time ago…

There is also a book that lists the trees planted on various streets that might be a little more useful.
“Street Trees in Canberra”. A H Edwards. ANU Press 1979
Available for $8.95 at the National Library.

PM 6:08 pm 04 Nov 09

I hope the original post will help Canberrans think their decisions through in the future.

Skidbladnir 4:57 pm 04 Nov 09

I could tell you, but then I would have no free mulberries to eat when I walk the dog in mulberry seasons…

Grrrr 4:43 pm 04 Nov 09

Never heard of anyone keeping Silkworms as pets. The couple of pet stores I’ve been to in the ACT weren’t selling them, either.

Anyway, the ABC (and Bourke’s Backyard) inform me that lettuce leaves will do for feed – unless you’re after good silk, in which case grow your own damn Mulberry trees!

Inappropriate 4:15 pm 04 Nov 09

Google Maps mashup anyone?

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