Olegbe: Sericulture and Silk Textiles Industry
Sericulture - Interesting facts about Silk
  1. Silk culture has been practiced for at least 5000 years in China
  2. The Silkworm is, technically, not a worm. It is the larva or caterpillar of a moth in the family Bombicidae
  3. A silkworm's diet consists solely of leaves
  4. The silkworm is entirely dependent on humans for its reproduction and no longer occurs in the wild. It is native to northern China.
  5. The silkworm female deposits around 400 - 500 eggs at a time. In an area the size of your monitor screen,
    about 100 moths would deposit more than 40,000 eggs, each about the size of a pinhead
  6. The female dies almost immediately after depositing the eggs; the male lives only a short time after.
    The adult does not eat during the short period of its mature existence
  7. After growing to its maximum size at around 6 weeks, the larva is about 10,000 times heavier than when it hatched
  8. The cocoon is made of a single continuous thread of raw silk around 1 kilometer (2/3 of a mile) long
  9. About 2,000 to 3,000 cocoons are required to make a pound of silk. One pound of silk represents about 1,000 miles of filament
  10. It takes silk from over 2,000 cocoons to produce a single kimono (Japanese traditional ware)
  11. The annual world production represents 70 billion miles of silk filament, a distance well over 300 round trips to the sun
  12. Based on 1 kilometer (2/3 of mile) per cocoon, ten unraveled cocoons could theoretically extend vertically to the height of Mount Everest
  13. The shimmering appearance for which silk is prized comes from the fiber’s triangular prism-like structure which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles
  14. Silk fibers are very fine, about 10 nanometers (1/2500th of an inch) in diameter
  15. Strong as steel in tensile strength, silk is the strongest natural fiber known to man
  16. Silk is much lower in density compared to cotton, wool or nylon. It is, therefore, highly moisture absorbent, able to absorb as much as a third of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp
  17. A highly versatile fabric, silk has proven to be ideal for a variety of uses – from formal wear to sleepwear, from parachutes to rugs, from medical sutures to prosthetic arteries
  18. Silk has a miniscule percentage of the global textile fiber market – less than 0.2%. Yet the actual trading value of silk and silk products is in many billions of dollars since the unit price for raw silk is roughly twenty times that of raw cotton
  19. Current world silk production is estimated to be around 125,000 metric tons. China produces about 80% of the world’s silk and India over 10%
  20. Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and Uzbekistan also have a significant production of raw silk and silk yarn. Brazil is the only non-Asian country that is a significant producer of raw silk or silk yarn
  21. United States is the largest silk importer in the world