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Which Leaves Do Silkworms Eat?

By Rena Sherwood

There are many species of silkworms, although the domesticated species is called Bombyx mori. Anyone hoping to raise silkworms at home needs to have a greenhouse to reproduce the climate needed for them and for their main food: mulberry leaves.


Silkworms only feed from the leaves of mulberry trees, preferring white mulberry. They also will eat lettuce and the leaves of two other tree species: the osage orange leaves, Oclura pomifera; and Tree of Heaven, Ailanthus altissima.


In order to feed the millions of silkworms in the silk industry, a commercial silkworm diet is often used instead of fresh leaves. It is made of powdered, dried mulberry leaves.


Silkworms also given Kenyan royal jelly, or the honey made to rear queen bees of the species Apis mellifera scutellata became heavier and produced more silk, according to a 2007 article in “Journal of Applied Science and Environmental Management.”


About the Author


Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.