History of Human & Termite Cohabitation

At sites in South Africa, scientists have found evidence that early humans made tools of bone. The tools could date back as much as 2½ million years.

The scientists believe that the early humans used the bone tools to dig into termite mounds. During the 20th Century, scientists observed chimpanzees feeding on termites. The chimpanzees used sticks to “fish” the termites out of their mounds.

Diet experts point out that termites are very rich in protein. In fact, they say that a 100-gram serving of termites contains 75% more calories than a 100–gram serving of rump steak. By analyzing the teeth of ancient humans, scientists have concluded that their diet included vegetables, nuts, roots, and insects. It appears they did not eat much fruit. It seems their teeth could not withstand the amount of acid that the fruit contains.

But the termites did not take it lying down. Scientists also point out that most of the houses and other buildings that early humans built have disappeared. A major part of this, they say, can be blamed on the activity of termites.

Termites forage for any food that contains cellulose. They will consume wood, paper, cardboard, and even cotton fabric. Over the centuries, termites have eaten many human homes. In the United States termites attack thousands of homes every year. Modern homeowners do not eat termites. However, thy spend millions of dollars every year to treat termites and repair the damage they cause.

Homeowners can protect their homes by having annual termite inspections. Termite control professionals can
recognize the signs of termite activity. They can also point out maintenance and structural issues that need to be corrected so termites cannot get access to the home.