• Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
  • Students dyeing silk.
Published: Dec. 8, 2015

Students from Insect Biology (EBIO 4660/5660, taught by Deane Bowers and Tim Szewczyk) lab dyeing silk (produced by caterpillars of the silk moth, Bombyxmori) with a dye made from cochineal insects (a small white scale insect that feeds on prickly pear cactus).  The dark pink is from the insects alone, and the orange is from the insect extract plus lime juice; changing the pH with acidic lime juice changes the color.  After a short time in the dye bath, the scarves turn these gorgeous colors!  The students used tie-dyeing techniques to decorate their scarves and then got to take them home.  The cochineal insect also occurs here in Colorado on our local prickly pear cactus.