Traditional knowledge, beliefs and practices on collection of lake flies (chaoborus and chironomus sp.) and their implications on food security

Mathews L. Kambani, Christopher O. Gor, Monica A. Ayieko


Lake Flies are edible insects with the potential of contributing to food security in that they are an alternative protein and micronutrient food source in freshwater lake regions. The main challenge in exploiting the lake flies is the difficulty in the collection. This study was conducted to identify sustainable traditional collection practices and forecasting techniques of lake flies and was implemented in Rusinga and Mfangano Island in Kenya. The ethnographic study employed multiple methods of data collection: focus group discussion (FGD), observations, and interview schedules. 5 (3 female and 2 male) key informants were selected for interview schedules aged above 60 years. 48 (19 female and 29 male) participants took part in FGDs they were divided into 8 sets each containing 6 participants and an age range between 18 to 40 years. Open data kit (ODK) software was used for data collection while analysis was conducted via thematic analysis framework using Nvivo version 10 software. Questions were administered on traditional lake-flies emergence forecasting, collection techniques, and devices. The emergence of lake flies is determined by moon sightings, the presence of strong winds, and the rainy season. Lake flies can be collected: in mid-air flight mode, in bushes along the shore, and during night operations using a light source (bulb, touch). Lake flies are collected using traditional tools: a woven basket with a stick handle, pots, a plastic basin, and a woven basket with a stick attached. Cultural myths associated with lake flies included: marriage partner/business customers’ attraction. Uses include libido enhancement, remedy for sickness, and good fish harvest indicator. In conclusion, lake flies have the potential to contribute to food and nutrition security as affordable and locally available alternative protein and micronutrient sources.



Traditional knowledge; lake-flies; food security; Practices; Beliefs


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DOI: 10.33687/ijae.010.03.4190


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