We all love to wear clothes that are comfortable for us and does look great in terms of both design and fitting. One of the fabrics which are associated with being the best fabric for making clothes is silk. All the clothes that are intimate contact with your body, such as your garments are made from silk to give you the best level of comfort all day. But we use silk not only in our clothes but in other areas as well. Today we are going to discuss the method called sericulture which provides us with silk. On the other hand, we will also shed some light on the health problems that are related to sericulture method of farming.
In simple words, you can say sericulture is farming of silk, if you want to produce silk, you first need to raise silkworms. Yes, just like sheep gives us wool we get silk from silkworms. The complete step by step process of how you get silk from silk form is written down below.
First, you get to farm silk moth, preferably, female silk moth as they comfortably lay hundreds of eggs each time.
After that, once the eggs are laid, you need to carefully store them in a cloth or a paper whatever suits your requirement and put them under proper hygiene and appropriate conditions such as temperature and humidity.
Now once the larvas are big enough, you need to place them on plants such as Mulberry so that they can eat its leaves.
These larvas will now be grown into silkworms which then molts, like spider the silkworm will push out silk fibre from himself to make the net stronger
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The worm distributes its saliva by moving his head information of ‘8.’
When the saliva of silkworm comes in contact with air, it solidifies itself to form what you called a silk thread.
Within 2-3 days the silkworm encloses itself in a cocoon made from silk fibre which is approximately more than 1Km. It makes the filament by spinning around itself.
Once the formation of cocoon takes place and farmer sees no addition in fibre, he takes off the cocoon from the leaves and places them in the boiling water.
As a result, the silk fibre gets cleaned and becomes disinfected, and the worm living inside of it dies.
To take the silk out from cocoon farmers brushes out the undamaged cocoon to find the endpoint of the filament.
The silk filaments which were then extracted would be then be reeled and ready for use.
Note:- Every 2500 silkworms will produce only 1.23 kgs of silk in 2-3 days and the worms have to be replaced to extract the silk from their cocoons.
The method of producing silk in the farm is called sericulture, and it uses various natural resources to produce silk in a massive amount. Some of them are mulberry and silkworm rearing, also, once the cocoon is successfully formed, a farmer needs to do step by step post cocoon activities to extract the silk filament from the cocoon. In many countries, sericulture is the backbone to improve the economy of the country, as thousands of people are employed to its production cycle.
In rural areas people, it plays a vital role to provide people with a poverty programme. And they are making sure the individual doesn’t migrate from rural to urban regions. As a result, we see so many Asian countries like China, India, Thailand, Shri Lanka all these developing countries take sericulture seriously to provide employment opportunities to the people in a rural area.
Not only does the sericulture provides us with silk, but it does have some by-products which can be used in a lot of ways. For example, the mulberry fruit is quite rich when it comes to having natural minerals and vitamins. In addition to this, several herbal medicines are being made from the roots and the branches of this tree.
Furthermore, the mulberry trees provide rural people with timber which is an excellent resistant to termites, so it is used for making sports equipment and toys for kids. The leaves on which silkworms make their cacoon are dried up and then used as a fueling agent to light up the fire for cooking and other activities.
Likewise, the silkworm pupae have a considerable amount of oil content, and the oil is used for manufacturing cosmetic materials and goods. Even after all this, some pupae remains it can be used as a feeder in poultry farms and fisheries as it contains protein which is suitable for both men and animals.
Sericulture uses various techniques which can be harmful to farmers, one by-product which is released during the rearing process is carbon monoxide that can cause skin allergies, irritation and respiratory problems.
Most of these farms run in rural areas where no strict rules for hygienic farming are followed. On the other hand, silkworms demand cleanness to multiply in high numbers. Due to unhygienic conditions, silkworms can have Grasseire and Flacheire as a disease.
Lastly, Formalin is used to disinfect the cocoon before starting the rearing process. Being carcinogen, Formalin can cause eye and nasal irritation.
1. Is sericulture dangerous?
If all the precautionary steps are taken, and strict hygiene rules are followed, sericulture can be done efficiently, resulting in much more yield. It is not as dangerous as other farming techniques which require farmers to work with lots of chemicals to make their soil fertile for the growth of specific fruits and vegetables.
2. Top 5 sericulture industries in India?
Given below is the list of top five sericulture industries present in India.
Arvind Ltd (Lalbhai)
Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company
Bombay Rayon Fashions
Karnataka Silk Industries.