Bagine RK, Makila NJ and Nyandiala A
The termite alates of Allodontermes tenax are eaten as a substitute dietary element in Kenya. Artificial inducement of the alates was evaluated based on a traditional method that has been used for decades. The idea is to imitate the natural weather conditions required by swarming alates. In natural situations, the most conducive weather is when rain is accompanied by thunderstorms and then stops for at least 2hours with intervals of clear and sunny skies. Such weather conditions stimulate the emergence of alates during day time or in the evening at dusk. In artificial situation, producing the sound of rain and by pouring water down the emergence holes to strengthen the impression of rain was found to work with Allodontermes species. Through field manipulation of weather conditions, the alates of Allodontermes tenax responded to external changes and were harvested for consumption by local community. The following weather conditions were found necessary in stimulating nest activities and emergence of alates: a) hot and dry weather for a month prior to artificial inducement; b) sunny and dry weather with calm evening at the time of inducement. The time taken from the onset of the experiment to the end of swarming was approximately two hours . The artificial inducement of alates was found to be effective, seasonal and limited only to the genus Allodontermes.
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