Silk || Silkworm Life-cycle || Extraction process

Extraction process of Silk and Life cycle of Silkworm by Textile Sphere

Life cycle of Silkworm: 
The Life Cycle of Silkworm begins when the female silk moth lays eggs. As soon as the eggs hatched, the larvae or the caterpillar comes into picture. The silkworms feed on the mulberry leaves which then rise to pupa. In pupa stage, a weave is netted around by the silkworm to hold itself. Many caterpillars form a protective layer around the pupa and this covering is termed as cocoon. And the silk yarn is obtained from the silk moth’s cocoon. In this article, the life cycle is explained in detail, to understand the process it can be broken down into following stages:

The life cycle of silk worm begins when the female moth lays eggs; it is the very first stage of the process.
A female moth lays approximately 350 eggs at a time. During the time of spring time the eggs are hatched due to the presence of warmth in the air. This process happens once a year.

STAGE 2: Silkworm
When the egg cracks, a hairy silkworm arises. In this stage the growth of silkworm takes place.
The silkworms feed on the mulberry leaves and they consume very large amount of leaves for about a month before they form into a cocoon.

STAGE 3: Cocoon
The caterpillar spins a protective layer around it which s termed as ‘Cocoon’.
The cocoon formed is similar in size of a cotton ball and is made of single thread of silk.

STAGE 4: Pupa
This stage is called as the motionless stage as there is no motion of the silkworms.
During this stage, the pupa is killed by adding the pupa in the boiling water and then the unwinding of silk thread takes place.

STAGE 5: Adult moth
This is the final stage and in this stage the pupa changes into an adult moth.
Then the female moth lays eggs after mating and thus the cycle of the silkworm begins again.

Extraction of Silk: 
Extracting of silk from the cocoon is called a processing of silk. The silk is separated from the cocoon by the means of exposing it to the sunlight.
As soon as the silk is extracted, it is reeled, which is the process of unwinding of silk from the cocoon.
After the Reeling process,the silk thread is then bleached and finally silk fiber is
Spun into silk thread. The following flowchart describes the processing of silk.
Silk Extraction Process- Textile Sphere
Fig- Processing Flow

The chief Silk producing countries are China, India, Thailand, Korea, Brazil, France, Italy and Japan. About 1 million workers are employed in the Silk sector in China. In India, about 7.9 billion are employed in the Silk sector. Chine is the largest producer of Silk in the World and India stands second in the race producing up to 2000 metric tons in a year. 

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