Photo and briefing credit: John Chiseba Mwamba (Zambia) Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal (Founder of the website)
Historic use of termites: The long winged reproductive termite is edible and highly sought after as a delicacy. Moreover, wild-caught termites have been used as a bait to attract fish and insectivorous birds. Natives of South East Africa consume queens of termites as a delicious dish.
Nutritional merit of termites: The composite analysis of termites showed a relatively high content of crude protein of about 43 to 45% with an adequate profile of amino acids especially in its high lysine content which is an advantageous bearing in mind that lysine is limited in most plant protein sources. The significant high lipid content of termites (~30%) is also advantageous whenever in energy supply and/or in providing specific fatty acids. The overall nutritional merit of termites supports its use in fish feed in a partial replacement of fish meal that is usually the most expensive component of fish feed.
Present and potential use of termites in fish feed: During swarming, significant termite populations are wasted and could be utilized for fish feed production especially fish were observed to consume live termites when they fall into fish pond.
Termite is used regularly as feed ingredient in fish farms in several Asian countries including Cambodia, Thailand and Nepal.On experimental scale, the use of termite has been tested upon partial replacement of fish meal in the feed of “rambur – Macrotermes subhyalinus”, “mud catfish – Heterobranchus longifilis”, “Freshwater prawn – Macrobrachium rosenbergii), and maybe others. The outcomes of most studies recommended replacement ratios in the feed of tested species without affecting its productive performance. The main objectives of the mentioned studies were to explore practical means to reduce the feed cost through a partial replacement of fish meal with a cheaper source of protein; termites.