How Long do Silkworms Live? Lifespan of Silkworms

Silkworms are fascinating creatures that have been an integral part of human history for thousands of years. These tiny creatures have played a crucial role in the production of luxurious silk, but have you ever wondered how long silkworms live?

In this article, we will dive into the captivating world of silkworms and explore their lifespan, why they die after laying eggs, their time spent in a cocoon, whether they can be kept as pets, their survival without food, their existence in the wild, the hatching of silkworm eggs, how long they can go without food, and where they naturally reside.

How Long do Silkworms Live
How Long do Silkworms Live

How long do silkworms live? Lifespan of Silkworms

Silkworms have a relatively short lifespan, lasting just a few weeks. On average, a silkworm’s life cycle can be broken down into four main stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult moth. Let’s take a closer look at each of these stages and how long silkworms live during each phase.

Egg8-12 days
Larva (caterpillar)20-30 days
Pupa (cocoon) 10-14 days
Adult Silkworm5-10 days
lifecycle of silkworm

As you can see, the larval stage, where they are in their caterpillar form, is the longest, lasting approximately 20 to 30 days. During this time, silkworms eat voraciously and grow rapidly. After this stage, they spin a cocoon and transform into pupae. Once they emerge as adult moths, their lifespan is relatively short, silkworm live around ranging from 5 to 10 days.

How Long Do Silkworms Stay in a Cocoon?

After the larval stage, silkworms spin a protective cocoon around themselves. Inside the cocoon, they undergo a remarkable transformation from a caterpillar to a pupa. This stage is critical for the production of silk. Silkworms remain in their cocoon for approximately 10 to 14 days, during which they secrete silk threads continuously.

How Long Does It Take for Silkworm Eggs to Hatch?

Silkworm eggs typically hatch within 8 to 12 days after being laid by the adult female moth. The exact duration can be influenced by factors like temperature and humidity. Warmer conditions tend to accelerate the hatching process, while cooler temperatures may delay it slightly. Once the eggs hatch, tiny silkworm larvae, also known as caterpillars, emerge and begin their journey through the various stages of their life cycle.

Why Do Silkworms Die After Laying Eggs?

One of the peculiar aspects of silkworms is that they often die shortly after laying eggs. This phenomenon is related to their biology and life cycle. Adult female silkworm moths lay hundreds of eggs, and this intense reproductive effort takes a toll on their bodies. The energy expended in laying so many eggs depletes their reserves, leading to a decline in their overall health. Consequently, many adult female silkworm moths do not survive long after laying their eggs.

How Long Do Silkworms Live Without Food?

Silkworms, like all living creatures, require food to sustain themselves. Without food, they cannot survive for long. Silkworms are particularly voracious eaters during their larval stage, and they need a constant supply of fresh mulberry leaves or suitable silkworm food. If they are deprived of food for an extended period, they will weaken and eventually perish.

How Long Do Silkworms Live in the Wild?

In the wild, the lifespan of silkworms can vary depending on environmental factors and the presence of predators. Their life expectancy is generally shorter than that of their domestic counterparts, as they face numerous challenges in the wild, such as adverse weather conditions and natural predators like birds and insects. In their natural habitat, silkworms may only live for a few weeks to a couple of months.

How Long Can Silkworms Go Without Food?

Silkworms have a relatively short window of time in which they can go without food. During their larval stage, they eat continuously and require a constant supply of food to support their rapid growth. If they are deprived of food for more than a day or two during this stage, their health will deteriorate rapidly, and they may not survive. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure they have access to food throughout their caterpillar phase.

Where Do Silkworms Live?

Silkworms are native to China, where they have been domesticated for thousands of years. They are primarily found in regions where mulberry trees, their preferred food source, grow abundantly. However, due to their economic significance in silk production, silkworms are now cultivated in many countries worldwide, including India, Brazil, and several regions in Europe. In these areas, silkworms are typically raised in controlled environments to maximize silk production.

Can You Keep Silkworms as Pets?

Yes, you can keep silkworms as pets! Silkworms are low-maintenance and fascinating to observe as they go through their life cycle. To keep them as pets, you will need a container, preferably a shoebox or plastic container with holes for ventilation. You’ll also need mulberry leaves or artificial silkworm food, as they primarily feed on mulberry leaves. Silkworms are an excellent choice for those interested in insect husbandry, and they make a unique and educational pet.

Related article – What do Silkworms Eat


Silkworms are remarkable creatures with a relatively short lifespan. They go through four main stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult moth. While they can be kept as pets, they require constant access to food during their larval stage. Silkworms are also known for their role in silk production, but they often die shortly after laying eggs due to the energy expended in reproduction. In the wild, their lifespan can vary, with numerous environmental factors at play. Understanding the lifespan of silkworms sheds light on their intriguing biology and the importance they hold in various aspects of human culture and industry.

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