Towering Termites

Are your next building contractors. . . TERMITES?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

These pesky bugs are a nightmare for homeowners. But – surprise! Turns out some termites are quite the little architects!

African termites build towering skyscrapers out of dirt and termite spit. They even have built in air-conditioning! How can dirt and termite spit build something so, ahem, COOL? Kamaljit Singh and a team of researchers from Imperial College London investigated further.

The researchers found that termite architecture is surprisingly complex! Its walls are riddled with different sized microscopic holes! Using computer models, the team determined that larger holes act as “air conditioning” units. And by injecting water into nests, they found that smaller holes acted like drains.

This combination maximizes airflow WITHOUT letting in rain water. Termites stay cool and dry all year round! Borrowing termite tricks could improve the energy efficiency of our own buildings!.

We can assume termites don’t fight over the office thermostat. That’s still a purely human trait!