Beneficial Insects: Insects as a Source of Food
A number of insect species are beneficial to mankind in different ways. The insects and their products are being used by human being for food, medicine, cloth other commercial products, management of pests, pollination, research etc.
Insects as a Source of Food :
It is an important product of bee keeping industry. It is truly an insect product of high nutritive value. It is sweet in taste and white to black in colour with variable smell in accordance with the juices collected from different flowers. Main species which produce honey are Apis indica, Apis florea, Apis dorsata and Apis mellifera. It is estimated that 200 gm of honey provides as much nourishment as 11.5 litre of milk or 1.6 kg cream or 330 gm meat. It is sugar rich compound with 40% levulose sugar. After long duration of storage the honey may be granulated and fermented.
Royal jelly :
It is synthesised by the workers of honey bee exclusively for feeding of queen bee. This creamy white liquid contains rich nutrients including protein, amino acids, vitamins collagen, essential fatty acids, minerals etc. The product is marketed in the form of softgel, capsule and cream.
The honey bees prepare propolis by mixing the nector and enzymes in the collected plant sap, resin etc. for sealing their hives. It is highly rich in vitamins and minerals. It is very good source vitamin P (bioflavonoids). It is provided with antiviral, antifungal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties. Propolis is also useful in respiratory ailments, cancer, allergies, burns, herpes, nasal congestion, flu, ulcers etc. In the market it is available as chewing gums, creams, tincture etc.
Bee pollen :
The bee pollen is known to be the pollen collected by honey bees and stored in their hives. Bee pollen contains most of the nutrients which are required by human being in the diet. It is highly rich in protein and being used as source of energy and antioxidant.
Insects directly used as food :
Alongwith the other uses of insects man directly consume insects as food. Insects are provided with 65% protein and high caloric value of about 7750 kcal/kg along with rich vitamins and minerals. The termites, silkworms, ants, grasshoppers, migratory locusts, etc. are being eaten to fulfil the dietary requirement and delicacy of food.
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