Sericulture and silk-weaving can be traced back to 4600 - China. The Chinese had for a long time preserved the secrets of raising silkworms and producing silk fabrics.
Sericulture was introduced to, and became widespread in Anatolia during the Byzantine period under the reign of Justinianos, and through the two priests sent to Turkistan. These priests learnt about sericulture, and introduced it to Anatolia by hiding the cocoons in their walking staffs. Sericulture then became so significant in that period that it started to be regarded as a state secret, an art for the sake of which agency activities were performed.
In our country, on the other hand, sericulture has a history of 1500 years. Raising silkworms could be made everywhere mulberry trees grow. Silk worms can feed in April in Mediterranean Regions, and in May in others.
Silkworms experience four phases in their life cycles: egg, larva (worm), chrysalis, and the moth.
The phase that is particularly important for feeding is the period during which the eggs hatch into larvae. This normally takes 27- 28 days. Silk worms sleep for four times in this phase, and molt during each hibernation. Each hibernation phase (molting) takes around 24 to 48 hours depending on the instars. During this time, silk worms do not eat leaves, and remain still. The intervals between two hibernation periods during which silkworms eat leaves are called instars; that is, the period between the incubation and the first hibernation is called the first instar, the period between the first and second hibernations is the second instar, the period from the second to the third hibernation is called the 3rd instar; the period from the third to the fourth hibernations is called the third instar, and lastly, the period between the fourth hibernation and spinning the cocoon is called the fifth instar. When silkworms enter the pupal phase, they become 6-7 cm tall, their bodies become slightly yellower; they produce a tiny fiber in their mouth and enclose themselves in the cocoon, then they spin the cocoon nonstop, which takes about 3-4 days.
After the silkworm spins the cocoon, it enters the chrysalis phase, which takes around 14 days. Following these days, the silkworm turns into a moth by making a hole into the cocoon using a saliva it secretes. The male and female meet; after which each female lays around 300 eggs. The lifespan of a moth is about one week.