Mulberry silk – bed bug resistant?

This crisp, white silk blanket from The Clean Bedroom in Westport features Grade A, formaldehyde and lead-free mulberry silk filling, a chemical-free cotton shell and soft satin trim. Sounds so inviting, doesn’t it?

The retailer’s website says they’ve been searching for a line of silk bedding for years because mulberry silk is an excellent body temperature regulator. However, they were unable to find one that didn’t contain formaldehyde and lead – until recently.

Mulberry silk is made from the silkworms of the Bombyx mori moth, which can lay hundreds of eggs before it dies. When the eggs hatch, the tiny silkworms are fed nothing but mulberry leaves. By the time they’re one month old, the silkworms will have “increased their weight about 10,000 times and will have built up enough energy to start spinning their cocoon. It takes anywhere from three to as long as eight days for the silkworm to weave the cocoon,” according to “The mulberry silk thread is also rounder, finer, smoother, and a lighter more uniform color than silk harvested from the wild where those silkworms have to eat whatever leaves and plants that are available to them.” Mulberry silk is both the highest quality and most expensive type of silk, according to that website.

Plus, mulberry silk may be less attractive to bed bugs than down. The Clean Bedroom posted a video on its website that shows Scott Dideon, a board certified urban entomologist from United Pest Solutions, conducting an experiment where bed bugs were released into a container housing two piles of fill – one of mulberry silk; the other, down. In the time shown on the video, the bed bugs avoided the mulberry silk and crawled beneath the down.

I’m no expert on this subject, (by any stretch of the imagination,) but in doing some minimal research on this topic, it seems mulberry silk contains a substance called “seracin,” which is a protein that helps protect the worms during metamorphosis. This protein is purported to make the silk naturally resistant to dust mites, bed bugs, molds and fungus, according to a number of sites that sell mulberry silk items and some informational sites on bed bugs.

$239 for a Queen blanket; $259 for a King. The Clean Bedroom, 1869 Post Road East, Westport, (203) 292-9275.

Melinda McGarty Webb