My letter to the creator of the Termite Farm concept

I wrote to the Director of the Urban Entomology Program at the University of Toronto, and I reproduce the message because expresses most of my current concerns about this idea.
Dear Dr. Myles:

I have read your website on Termiculture with great attention. I am surprised that nobody tried to commercially grow termites. It is a project that needs negligible investment, but can transform the world.

I have been researching the Web for a month, and I wrote to several experts. None of them said it was impossible. Some of them said growing termites is difficult, and some said it is easy… One said is very dangerous to raise termites here, since there we are a termite-free region (so far). One invited me to collect termites in his area, 500 km North of my city. I am not sure if the termites that build huge nests are appropriate for this. Some people adviced me to use underground termites.

I started a blog to record my data and to invite other people to join in the effort: www.netic.com.ar/termites . I mention your website, and a few others.

My focus is obtaining termites for chicken feed, because it can be done at a very small scale. However, I am also aware of the possibilities of using the termite residues to grow worms (lumbriculture) or to generate methane.

I am located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and there is a group in a local University that specializes in ants, and were sympathetic to the project. With minimal funding I could probably convince them to carry out a Termite Farming project, analysing the feasibility and profitability issues.

I am a former biomedical scientist, now running a small technology company. Having a company gives me freedom to start the projects that I like. I should also mention that I am good at writing grant applications.

I believe that your idea of growing termites is GREAT: Feasible, Profitable, Ecologic, Easy, Cheap, Fast. However, nobody started it yet. Why? Please give me a clue !!…

Thanks a lot for your attention to my question….

Yours, sincerely,

Sergio R. Samoilovich, PhD.

This letter received a very supportive response. I will describe it in another post.

Termite Housing

The termite housing is one patentable part of this project.

It will take into account:

– the needs of termites in terms of moisture, temperature, microenvironment
– the need of the farmer in terms of collection of grown termites
– the safe containment of the plage

There are two cages being designed, the Experimental Cage, in small size, with glass walls and security double lid, and the Production Cage, larger and in hard plastic.

Both cages will have a carefully regulated gradient of humidity, from dry in the top to wet in the bottom.