My friend Xiao Ning, knowing I have an interest in silk and knowing I had a desire to experiment with silk at the cocoon stage, came up with a 3 kg bag of silk cocoons as a parting gift.
There were two kinds available for purchase: one with live silkworms within the cocoon, and the other with the worms dead. The price per kilo of the cánbâo with dead silkworms is 300% more than that of a cánbâo with live ones. Xiao Ning gifted me with the more expensive cocoons with the dead worms. Right now, I’m sitting here going through the bag and cleaning out any extraneous matter, and ensuring there are no live critters. After all, this is China and big roaches abound; I would hate to strand a big Chinese roach so far from home.
Apprehensive about making it through customs with the cocoons, I’ve been searching the internet diligently to find what restrictions the are on the imports, especially since the silkworms may be considered animal matter, dead though they may be. It would be excessively annoying to arrive in the USA only to hear “you can’t bring this into the country, ma’am”.
My friend Rog, in the USA, has contacted the requisite authorities whom, he said, would email me directly. They have yet to do so.
Today, I will call the US Consulate in Guangzhou to enquire about getting an animal permit, as Joanne Hall of Glimåkra USA has kindly suggested, if there are indeed restrictions on taking cocoons filled with dead silkworms into the USA.
If there are no restrictions at all, and some US Customs official says, “you can’t bring this into the country because of the worms, ma’am”, I shall sit right there in Customs and extract every single worm just to keep the cocoons.
Please get in touch with me if you know there are restrictions on the import of dried silk cocoons.
UPDATE: Eureka! U.S. Customs! That’s the place to go for information! I’m definitely having senior moments!
UPDATE: From the document found here, one can say that there is no import restriction on the silk cocoons. However, the proof will be in the Customs and Immigration entry form that must be filled in before arrival. Ah well.