The Look And Feel Of Termite Mounds

Posted by Mr. Hachis | On: Aug 25 2010

In some regions, notably arid and tropical savannas, termites will build large and elaborate mounds for the colony to live in which begs the question – what do termite mounds look like? Believe me, if you see one, you’ll know it is a termite mound because the termite mounds have very distinctive forms and are obviously not part of the natural landscape surrounding it. For example, the compass termite builds tall, wedge-shaped mounds with the long axis of the mound orienting from North to South.

Some termite mounds can be up to four feet tall, but most commonly are in the area of one to two feet. They house the termite colony and protect it from outside predators and the weather. In all actuality, termite mounds can be quite beautiful and some have even attracted tourists because of how large and elaborate they are. For the entomologist, termite mounds are complex and highly sought out to study.

The North to South orientation that many termite mounds take on actually serves a specific purpose. It has been experimentally shown to aid in thermoregulation or maintaining a specific temperature within the mound itself thus allowing the termites to regulate their body temperature as well. The column of hot air rising in the above ground mounds helps drive air circulation currents inside the subterranean network.

When considering the question what do termite mounds look like, you must realize that not all species of termites build termite mounds. As we said previously, they most often occur in dry conditions where the air is very dry and the weather tends to be hot. Some of the largest mounds are located in Australia and Africa.

Termite mounds are complex structures and are studied by entomologists as well as engineers because of their complexity. Believe it or not, there are even some engineers who are attempting to recreate one of the largest termite mounds located in Australia so that they can study the thermoregulation properties that exist naturally within the mound. They are hoping that this natural technology can help contribute to society in someway as well as conserving our energy resources that we use.

Not only is the termite mound used to house colonies of termites and store their food, it has other uses as well. The Ancient African medicine practice called Siddha utilizes some of the material that the termite mound is made of to prepare their medicines. They have found specific properties within the mounds that contribute to their homeopathic medicines that help to heal their people.

If you beg the question what do termite mounds look like and take the time to explore these complex structures, we’re pretty sure you’ll be surprised at what you can find. They are amazing to see and even more amazing to study. Not only that, when someone asks you – in everyday conversation – “What do termite mounds look like”, you’ll know exactly what to say!

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