Indigenous Knowledge on Production and Utilisation of Termite (Isoptera) in Western Kenya

Vugutsa J. E.(Vihiga County Government, Maragoli, Kenya)
Mosi R. O.(Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Department of Plant Animal and Food Science, Bondo, Kenya)
Wambui C. C.(Maseno University, Department of Animal Science, Maseno, Kenya)


The study sought to assess the level of knowledge on the utilization of termites, harvesting methods and characterise local edible termite species. Focus group discussion with key informants was used to collect data that was analysed using SPSS Version 21.0 to generate descriptive statistics. Results indicated different levels of termites’ utilisation where 45% of farmers use alates as food, 35% as feed for chicks and quails, while 20% use the queen to fatten young bulls. Majority of farmers (40%) prefer the use of termites as feed because it is readily available, followed with 20% that use it because of nutritive value,10% relate its use with better taste of poultry products, 5 % associate termite use in enhancing early maturity weight while 5% said it improves growth and strength of bulls. On harvesting, three methods are commonly used with most farmers (45%) using underground trapping method, (35%) use above ground trapping method but 20% use mound excavation. Varied plant materials are used as attractants and the effect is more when combined with dry cow dung. Farmers further characterised species based on time of emergence of alates and habitat’s physical features. Most respondents (45%) associated: big mounds with Macrotermes bellicosus (Mafendete); small mount to Macrotermes subhyalinus (Kitunda); presence of open big tunnels with Coptotermes millitaris (Riamke) while seasonal gallaries and small tunnels was a confirmatory feature of either Pseudocanthotermes militaris (Chiisiisi) and Pseudocanthotermes spiniger (Maburi). The study demonstrates the richness in indigenous knowledge on techniques of termite production and utilization.


Knowledge; Characteristics; Harvesting; Utilisation; Termites

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