Silkworms are small insects belonging to the class bombycidae. These worms spins a cocoon that is used to produce silk fibres. Rearing of silkworms is known as sericulture.
In Kenya, commercial sericulture is mainly practised in Busia, Kakamega, Kisumu, Vihiga, Migori, Siaya and Homabay counties. Silkworms are kept for various uses. The following are some uses of silkworms.
1. Scientific studies. Scientists use silkworms in the study of hormones, pheromones, physiology and brain structure of human beings. These worms are also used in genetics and genetic engineering. For example, scientists have been able to modify silkworms to secrete human protein collagen.
2. Domestically speaking, dried silkworms are used to produce a medicine intended to relieve flatulence and bodily spasms as well as dissolve phlegm. Some people keep these worms as edible insects and domestic pets.
Sericulture is an opulent business in Kenya. The current market price of a kilogram of silkworm ranges between 54000 to 55000 shillings in Kenya. Silkworm rearing on an acre of land can garner up to 15000000 shillings in Kenya.
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