Silkworms are insects that produce silk. The scientific name is Bombyx Mori. The world’s first silk production began in China. A dress made of silk is liked by everyone because of its texture. But how do silkworm produce silk? Let’s Check it out!
Materials made up of thin, continuous strands are called fibers. There are two types of fibers: natural fibers and synthetic fibers. Fibers derived from animals and plants are called natural fibers, and synthetic fibers are called chemical fibers. Examples of natural fibers are cotton and silk, while examples of synthetic fibers are nylon and polyester. Silk is a type of natural or animal fiber. Silkworms are responsible for spinning silk and are farmed for silk production.
The silkworm’s biological scientific name is Bombyx mori (Latin mulberry moth). Silk is produced by this insect. Do you know that silk was one of the first products in the world to be labeled Made in China? Silk has long been grown in China and traded around the world.
Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by the larvae of certain insects, such as moth worms. It is mainly composed of fibroin. There are four types of natural silk: Mulberry silk, Tassar silk, Muga silk and Eri silk. In this article, let’s learn about silkworms and how they produce silk.
History of Silk
Silk was discovered around 3500 BC which was found in China. Silk has long been shipped to other parts of the world through trade. Advances in technology and new developments have enabled manufacturers to create different types of silk from different silkworms, based on luster and texture. However, Mulberry silk is the most commonly used to make silk. It’s a silkworm, raising silkworms is called sericulture.
What is Sericulture?
Cultivation of Silkworm is known as sericulture. The mulberry silk moth or Bombyx Mori is used to produce silk by the commercial silk industry.
Some facts of Sericulture-
- Silk was first discovered in China.
- India is the only country that produces all five of her known commercial silks (Mulberry, Tropical Taser, Oak Taser, Eri and Coral).
- Most of the mulberry silk is produced domestically.
- In 1943, the Central Silk Research Zone was established in Barhampoor (Pasim Bengal).
- Most of the mulberry silk (Bombyx Mori) is produced in India.
- Silk thread is a protein fiber, while cotton and jute thread are cellulose.
- From the article above, silk is nothing more than a protein fiber and how it is made from silkworms.
Now we have reached to a conclusion that Silk is obtained from Silkworms. Now we’ll see the life cycle of Silk.
How silk is obtained?
Cycle of processing of silk and life cycle
Silkworms only survive for a few days but the most unique thing is that the female silkworm simultaneously lays 300-400 eggs on the leaves of the mulberry tree after each sexual contact. Within 10 days, each individual egg gives birth to a tiny female insect called a larvae.
Now the insect turns its head for three consecutive days, forming a solution from a single long thread known as a coya or cocoon. The cocoon is the protective cover or shell around which the silkworm rotates. This thread hardens when exposed to air into a silk thread about 1000 meters long. Now these larvae turn into pupae.
During the pupal stage, the silkworm larval structure decomposes into the adult structure, transforming the caterpillar into a moth. Cocoons help worms protect from harsh and unfavorable weather conditions. Typically in early winter, insects cocoon themselves around themselves and stay cocooned throughout the season without needing food or water. This stage is often called the dormant stage of silkworms.
The pupa usually develops into a silkworm (adult) in 12-15 days and emerges by detaching the plateau from one side using an alkaline secretion.
This will break the Takano silk thread into small pieces.
Therefore, in order to obtain silk, Koya is placed in boiling water, the silkworms in it die there and separate the threads. This is how silk is made from silkworms. This silk is also used for clothing.
In this stage, the pupa changes into an adult moth. The female moth lays eggs after mating and thus the life cycle of silkworm begins again.
What is Processing of Silk?
Silk is separated from the cocoon by exposing it to sunlight. After winding the silk, the process of unwinding the silk from the cocoon takes place. Then bleach the silk thread. Finally, the silk fibers are spun into silk thread. Extracting silk from the cocoon is called silk processing.
How long is the life of a silk worm?
The life of silk lasts for 6-8 weeks.
What are the varieties of silk?
There are four types of natural silk: Mulberry silk, Tassar silk, Muga silk and Eri silk.
What type of material is silk?
Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by the larvae of certain insects, such as moth worms. It is mainly composed of fibroin.
What is the process of silk production?
The silkworm larvae are fed with mulberry leaves, and after the fourth molt, climb onto a branch placed next to them and spin a silky cocoon. Gently untie it. About 10 kg of cocoon becomes 1 kg of silk.
What is sericulture?
The process of breeding, growing, management of silkworms to get pure raw silk is sericulture.