Exclusive Interview with Three Worms

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: A Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Kids), ill. by Stéphane Jorisch, comes out this month. In the book, insect parents-to-be ask questions of the narrator. Here, author Bridget Heos turns the table, interviewing a silkworm, a waxworm, and a real worm—a night crawler.

Bridget: Thank you all for talking to me this morning. Let’s start with the basics. Silkworm, describe a typical day.

Silkworm: Typical. Ha! That’s hilarious. No, every day is so different. One day, I might spend the whole day eating a leaf. And the next day, I eat a different leaf. Then the following day: a new leaf!

silkworm Bridget: It sounds like you spend most the day eating.

Silkworm: No, not most the day. The WHOLE day. If you read the book—

Bridget: I, uh, wrote the book.

Silkworm: Then you must know that we larvae can multiply our weight by 10,000. If a human baby grew that fast, it would soon weigh as much as 7 elephants!

Bridget: I’m glad you enjoyed that passage. How about you, waxworm? What do you do all day?

Waxworm: In the wild, I invade beehives and eat the bees’ wax.

waxwormBridget: Which is how you got your name.

Waxworm: Yes, that’s right.

Bridget: Waxworm is named for what he eats. What about you, Silkworm? Do you eat silk?

Silkworm: No, I eat mulberry leaves. I spin silk to make my cocoon. It’s the same silk you find in wedding gowns and fine ties.

Bridget: Interesting. On the topic of names, we have a real worm here, a night crawler. Night Crawler, does it bother you that larvae such as silkworms and waxworms are called “worms.”

Night Crawler: It absolutely bothers me. I take pride in my worminess, and to have larvae say that they’re worms, too, is a slap in the face. They’re not worms. They’re baby insects. Goo goo. Gaa gaa.

Bridget: Well, that’s not very nice.

Waxworm: No it’s true. We’re babies. Silkworm and I will both grow up to be moths. But larvae can also become flies, beetles, ants, and more. It’s all in the book.

Bridget: And what was the name of that book again?

Waxworm: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: A Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Kids). A darling title. Now, if there are no hives to invade, could I please have some oats and honey for breakfast?

Bridget: Of course!

Silkworm: And I would like some mulberry leaves.

Bridget: Coming right up.

Night Crawler: As the only grownup here, I’ll take the newspaper and some coffee (grounds).

Bridget: Certainly. This concludes our interview. Thank you all for your time. And please tell the insect world to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting Larvae: a Guide for Insect Parents (and Curious Kids).

Night Crawler: I’m not an insect.

Bridget: Of course not. But perhaps you could tell the worm world. Tell everybody! It’s a fun way to learn about bugs—even if you’re not a bug.

breakfast of champions