Drumming is rainfall for termites

When the bugs you want to catch are smaller than a fingernail’s length and live underground, how on earth do you get to them? Harvesting termites looks at first like one of the trickier challenges in entomophagy.

A traditional method in Kenya involves literally drumming the insects out.

Elaborate traps are built on top of the termite mound with clay mud; little gutters and pipes divert the termites into a trap. To persuade them out from safety, smoke is blown into the mound, but only after hours of rhythmic drumming on the ground. Apparently the termites mistake the drumming for rainfall, and are tempted to the surface in search of water.

You can watch the whole process in some of the footage shot for BUGS the film, including how to eat the raw termites when they emerge. As Scottish chef Ben Reade discovers, they key is not to eat the wings...

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