What is cocoon and how is it processed to get silk?

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A cocoon is a covering made by silk moths and other insects as a part of their life cycle to protect the pupa. Cocoon made by silk moth can be used for the production of silk fibres by killing the insect inside the cocoon using boiling water. Later, silk fibres are obtained from the cocoon and spun into silk threads which is used to make silk fabric.

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silkworms spin cocoons on them during their development.silk is obtained from silkworms by boiling the cocoons

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cocoon is the outer covering of the silkworm from which we take out the silk fibre

Rearing of silk worms:

1. The female silk moth lays eggs on mulberry leaves, which are then transferred to a piece of paper or cloth. The eggs are stored under hygienic conditions, in a specific temperature and pressure for the larvae to hatch.

2. When the larvae hatch, they are placed on clean bamboo trays and are fed on leaves of the mulberry tree. Caterpillars eat a large amount of leaves and increase in size at a very rapid pace. Since a lot of mulberry leaves are required for the rearing of silkworms, this activity is carried out in a season when new leaves sprout on mulberry trees.

3. The caterpillars stop eating after 25-30 days and move to a chamber in the bamboo tray. There, they spin a cocoon and get attached to the tray. These cocoons are then collected by farmers and processed to form silk fibres.

Hence, the process of rearing can be summarized as shown below.

After the process of rearing is completed, the processing of silk is done in the following manner.

Processing of silk:

1. Cocoons are collected and kept under the sun, or boiled, or exposed to steam. This helps in separating out the silk fibres. The process by which silk thread is separated from the cocoon is calledreeling the silk.

2. Then, the spinning of silk fibres into threads is done.

3. The silk threads obtained are woven into the desired clothes.

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