Monday, 17 August, 2015
So we don’t need to list the one way that termites make your life worse, we all know that a termite infestation in a building can be a death sentence, turning an asset into a financial liability. But what can we mean about termites making life better, how on earth can a creature that costs our country more than all the storms, fires and floods each and every year have one thing that makes our life better let alone three! Well, you are in for a surprise. Here goes.
Let us start with the most important and obvious (at least once we have told you). Termites are one of the most important decomposers on the planet. They are responsible for breaking down all the dead plant matter, which can unfortunately include your family home. While other animals do this job as well, none do it to the extent that the termite does. Termites are one of the most successful species on the planet and this can be seen in their numbers, for every human on the planet they believe that there are 3-5 times your body weight in termites! They spend all their lives breaking down old plant matter and without them the entire planet’s ecosystem would virtually grind to a halt, with dead plants just piling up all over the place. Even without the others on this list, this alone makes termites a net gain to our lives.
Another amazing thing that termites do is improve the soil. With so many termites living underground they actually have been found to improve soil around the world. One thing they do is that they are able to ‘fix’ nitrogen into the soil, which is essential for plants to be able to grow. Without termites, and their enemies the ants, scientists believe we would lose two to three times as much nitrogen from the soil, which would make it very difficult for many plants to grow. They also move all the nutrients around in the soil, making it as rich as possible for plants to grow in. Scientists have spent many years studying soil to see if they can replicate it and they have realised that termites are a critical component in the manufacture of soil.
A third way termites make our lives better is that they are an amazing source of future potential inventions. Possibly the most important is harnessing the microbes that live in their guts to make biofuel efficiently but there are also loads of other potential gains including new antibiotics, passive energy systems and swarm intelligence. In fact, the termite is one of the richest sources of possible future innovations. As they have been around for almost 300 million years they have developed a number of incredible abilities that if we can learn to mimic will truly enrich our society.
While you may curse termites they do actually have a lot of good points so protect your home but thank them over all.
Posted in termites