Sericulture, or silk farming, is the cultivation of silkworms to produce silk.

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Sericulture Although there are several commercial species of silkworms, Bombyx mori (the caterpillar of the domestic silkmoth) is the most widely used and intensively studied silkworm. Production of the silk produced by a good sericulture farm is an enormous and complex undertaking, involving rearing and harvesting the cocoons in many rearing phases, the care and feeding of cocoons in storage, the cutting of a small part of the silk in a laboratory for eventual analysis and textile treatments, and the opening of rearing cocoons (when completed and of sufficient quality).

In modern times, more than one million tons of silkworms are reared and farmed in China alone.

[1] In recent years, considerable efforts have been made to produce silkworm rearing equipment with the aim of further reducing production costs and simplifying rearing processes. In particular, silkworm rearing will be a concern in more remote regions of the world.

In modern times, sericulture is primarily of economic significance. Silkworm rearing on a large scale has been practiced for centuries, and sericulture has been greatly developed in China. However, it is still an expensive and laborious process, and silkworm rearing is an important industry in some remote areas of the world.

Sericulture is of interest to natural and artificial life sciences, particularly to the study of silkworms and their natural enemies, the silkworms’ predators.


Silkworm rearing has been an important rural industry throughout China since ancient times.

[2] Silk farming was brought to Western China by the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. In northern China, sericulture was often supported by sericulture merchants, who provided farms and resources for the rearing of silkworms and silkworms themselves. Silk farming has since declined considerably in modern times.

This decline can be partly attributed to the increase of industrial methods in the silk industry, including the use of robots and artificial silk production.

[3] These industrial practices, combined with market over-speculation, have put considerable pressure on the price of silk.

[4] In rural areas, many silk farms have stopped rearing silkworms altogether. But in urban areas, the main area of sericulture rearing is in the city of Hangzhou.

[5]History Until the mid-20th century, the manufacture of silk was mainly a family activity in China. Silkworm rearing was normally the domain of families. The annual income of silk farmers was only about two or three hundred Chinese yuan, which was enough to sustain a family with basic food requirements.

[6]In the 1920s, rural sericulture was considered one of the more lucrative economic activities in China. Although the income from silk farming has declined in recent decades, sericulture is still considered a viable industry, with incomes that are more than adequate to sustain a family. Many farmers are trying to raise silkworms again, with limited success.

[7] Some farmers have begun to re-establish traditional silk farms, but they are difficult to maintain and in poor condition.

[8] The Chinese government has encouraged sericulture and there are efforts to introduce new methods and to reduce costs. This is primarily a re-raising effort. The number of sericulture producers has greatly increased over the years. By the mid-2000s, there were around 4,000 silk farmers and sericulture producers in China.

[9] By 2005, the Chinese government had funded a rearing program in which two types of silkworm rearing systems were tested.

[10] One method is an artificial rearing system, where silkworms are raised in the factory by artificial rearing. The second method is a rearing system that rears silkworms in their natural habitat.[11]

Rearing systems Chinese sericulture

Chinese sericulture uses a number of rearing systems to raise silkworms.

Most of these are not natural rearing systems, but rather artificial rearing systems, which are basically factory farms that raise silkworms, either as a laboratory project, to study silkworm biology, or as a commercial venture.

Many of these rearing systems are tested and developed in the laboratory.

This testing is necessary to develop and implement methods that are efficient and reliable. In addition to trying new rearing systems and testing existing ones, the Chinese government also pursues new uses for silkworms. It is promoting silkworms that produce silkworm silk silk from silkworm gut feeders.


Pascoe, Robert. (1971). Methods of silkworm rearing: Experiments in natural rearing in nature, practices and theories. Carroll College Studies of Social Studies. 56(2): 380–383.


Pascoe, Robert. (1971). Methods of silkworm rearing: Experiments in natural rearing in nature,

Silk rearing in China

Production of silk is a demanding process. Although most of the silk produced today is of a coarse type, the cocoons must be of an extremely high quality. The silkworm is reared by feeding it milk until it is approximately 30 days old. Later, it is fed silken thread. While the male silkworm produces a rich, golden-yellow silk, the female silkworm produces a fine silk that is relatively fragile and ill-quality.

The cocoon undergoes an in-feed cycle lasting for approximately 14 days before being dried and completely stripped of silk. The cocoon is spun by hand and the spinning process is a very labor-intensive process.

[8] Free-swimming larvae, which rearing silkworms requires, are fed an emulsion of silkworm feeder fluid, consisting mainly of purified water, food supplement and silkworm fiber, together with cottonseed meal, protein and glucose. The free-swimming silkworms are often fed with the silkworm feeder liquid in the early part of the rearing process to facilitate the rearing of rearing cocoons.

[9] The cocoons are produced either by rearing males or females, and are produced by rearing only females. If the cocoons are reared only by males, each cocoon is cut and reared once for silk production, but this may involve rearing many cocoons.

If the cocoons are reared by females, each cocoon is cut and reared multiple times to produce silk.

[10] Once the cocoons are fully formed, they are either grafted onto silkworm rearing rearing rearing rearing rearing rearing rearing rearing cocoons or opened for inspection by researchers in a laboratory.

Vitale, Marco, 1996, Industry and Communication in Silk Rearing China .


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