What is sericulture?
The cultivation and production of silk is known as sericulture.
Production of silk:
During its life cycle, the adult female silk moth lays about 500 eggs. After the laying of eggs, these eggs are placed in a cold storage for six weeks.
Then the eggs are placed in an incubator. The eggs hatch out into larvae after ten days, and the larvae spend the next 35 days by eating the mulberry leaves.
These silkworms spend about five days producing silk and spinning its cocoon of a single long thread. Then these cocoons are boiled so that it is easy to unwind the silk and kill the pupae inside.
If the silk moths hatch, the long silk fibres will get turned by the hatching of the moth. The cocoons are unwound, and then the individual silk filament is reeled together so that a thread that is large enough for weaving is obtained.
Then the silk thread is then cleaned, dyed, and finally woven into fabric.
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Characteristic features of silk:
  • Silk is a fibre that is very soft, comfortable and versatile.
  • It can be dyed easily.
  • It is the strongest natural fibre.
  • It has very poor resistance to the exposure of sunlight.
  • It is an elastic fibre.
  • It can retain its shape and have moderate resistance to wrinkling.
  • Silk is a protein fibre that is a non-conductor of heat which is similar to that of wool.
  • Compared to the other fabrics as silk is a protein fibre, it has a good absorbency.
Uses of silk:
Silk has a natural fibre that is known for its natural beauty and elegance. During warm weather, it gives comfort, and during colder climates it provides warmth.
It is used to manufacture classical and high fashion clothes, modern dresses, particularly silk sarees. It is also used in the production of wall hangings, curtains, rugs and carpets. It is also used in the production of surgical threads for sutures.
The world's second largest silk producing country is India. In Tamil Nadu Kancheepuram,
Thirubhuvanam and Arani are famous places for silk production.