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Termites for Lunch?

No one wants termites anywhere near their homes. They are destructive pests and need to be exterminated as soon as they are detected. But just because you don’t want them around doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know a little about them. They have been here for millions of years, are social creatures and, in some parts of the world, are a great culinary delicacy.

Termites Knew the Dinosaurs

Termite fossils have been found that can be dated back to the Cretaceous period, which occurred, around 145 to 66 million years ago. That was the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth. So they have a pedigree that goes a very long way back in time. Some early termite species are thought to have had a more varied diet than those we see today. Traces of termites have been found in dinosaur bones of the mid-Jurassic period, which indicates that they also ate flesh and bone. Termites are not unique in their long history – grasshoppers, ants and aphids are thought to also go back to the Cretaceous period.

They Have Friends and Relatives

Termites are social creatures that live in organized colonies. In many ways, they are like ants and bees in that they have a social structure and produce offspring who are born to carry out specific duties in the colonies, in which they live. As for their relatives, they are thought to be related to cockroaches. Their biology is similar. For example, both cockroaches and termites have specialized cases that enclose their eggs and the structure of their heads is also similar.

You Will Find Them Everywhere

Over the millions of years of their existence, termites have spread across the globe. In fact, they are to be found on every continent, except Antarctica. They are in every state of the U.S.A, with the exception of Alaska. There are 50 different species of termites in North America, but only 10 are to be found in Europe. Africa has nearly 1,000 species of termites and in South Africa’s Kruger National Park there are an estimated 1 million-plus termite mounds.

They are Delicious

Many cultures consume termites. This is not always out of necessity because other forms of food are in short supply. In Africa, a winged form of termite forms a major part of the diet of some tribes. The ways of preparing the termites varies from region to region, but those who eat them usually consider them to be a delicacy. Many species do have a high nutritional value and some have a pleasing nutty flavor. Queen termites are considered to be a special delicacy.

Since You Don’t Eat Them

Since you don’t eat them, you don’t want termites near you. The best way to keep your home safe from termite infestation is to use a professional termite control company to do regular inspections and if colonies are found, then have them removed. Amateur efforts are rarely as successful, in comparison to the professional expertise, as with amateur DIY, these pests usually soon return.