Most people don’t have a fond view of termites, but there are a few benefits of termites you might not know.
Termites are widely know to cause significant damage around the world however they have been used as food by some…
Termites cause an average of about 5 billion dollars in damage each year in the US alone, and if a home owner has termite issues it costs an average of about 3000 dollars to repair the damage. The destructive power is quite large with termites, but there are some benefits as well.
Not so much in the US, but in other countries, some species of termites are actually a food source for people. According to globalfoodbook.com,
“Ntukuyoh, et al., (2012) examined the proximate composition, mineral, vitamin and anti-nutrient contents of termite queen, workers and soldiers of Macrotermes bellicosus. The proximate composition revealed that the crude protein content of the soldiers was higher unlike that of queen and workers.
The highest mineral content was sodium found in queen, while the least mineral was manganese found in the termite soldiers. Termites are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, fat while anti-nutrient components were low. Their study showed that termite is a good source of protein and other micro- and macronutrients and as such its consumption should be promoted.”
Termite dishes probably won’t be coming to a food chain near you anytime soon, but it’s interesting to note that one country’s pest is another one’s food.
Other benefits of termites come in the form of using their destructive nature as waste removal
Termites have a great importance for forest ecology as decomposers and more. Termites help to decompose dead trees and turn them back into fertile soil, which can help forests regrow faster. In addition to that, they also help aerate the soil which can help water and nutrients reach the plants and trees better, therefore increasing soil quality even more.
There aren’t many insects, or anything for that matter, that can decompose trees and almost any plant like termites can. Not only that, they also put the nutrients that were taken from that plant and put them back into the soil when they are decomposed. If there weren’t insects like termites places like rain forests might not survive.
It’s almost like the idea of using crop rotation so all of the same nutrients aren’t continually drained from the soil each year. In places like the rain forest, the unique variety of plants drain the soil of its nutrients. Termites help put them back from plants that don’t need them anymore.
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