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Termites can be major agricultural pests, especially in East Africa and North Asia, where crop losses can be severe (3100% in harvest loss in Africa).216 Counterbalancing this is the greatly improved water infiltration where termite tunnels in the dirt allow rainwater to soak in deeply, which will help decrease runoff and consequent soil erosion during bioturbation.217 In South America, cultivated plants like eucalyptus, upland rice and sugarcane can be seriously damaged by termite infestations, with attacks on leaves, roots and woody tissue.
The termite gut has inspired many research efforts targeted at replacing fossil fuels with cleanerrenewable energy sources.219 Termites are efficient bioreactors, effective at producing 2 litres of hydrogen by a single sheet of newspaper.220 Roughly 200 species of microbes reside inside the termite hindgut, releasing the hydrogen which was trapped inside wood and plants they digest.219221 Throughout the action of unidentified enzymes in the termite gut, lignocellulose polymers are broken down into sugars and are transformed into hydrogen.
The development of autonomous robots capable of constructing intricate structures without human assistance has been inspired by the intricate mounds that termites construct.222 These robots operate independently and can move by themselves on a monitored grid, capable of climbing and lifting up bricks. Such robots could possibly be handy for future jobs on Mars, or for building levees to prevent flooding.223.
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Termites utilize sophisticated means to control the temperatures of their mounds. As discussed above, the shape and orientation of the mounds of this Australian compass termite stabilises their internal temperatures during the day. As the towers heat up, the solar chimney effect (stack effect) generates an updraft of air within the mound.224 Wind blowing across the tops of the towers enhances the circulation of air through the mounds, which also include side pop over to this site vents in their construction.
Especially in Africa, the pile effect has become a popular means to achieve natural ventilation and passive cooling in modern buildings.224.
The Eastgate Centre is a shopping centre and office block in central Harare, Zimbabwe, whose architect, Mick Pearce, used passive cooling inspired by that used by the regional termites.226 It was the first major building exploiting termite-inspired cooling techniques to draw international attention. Other such buildings include the Learning Resource Center at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and the Council House 2 building in Melbourne, Australia.224.
Few zoos hold termites, on account of the difficulty in keeping them captive and to the reluctance of government to permit potential pests. One of the few that do, the Zoo Basel in Switzerland, has two thriving Macrotermes bellicosus populations resulting in an event quite rare in captivity: the mass migrations of young flying termites.
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African tribes in many countries have termites as totems, and for this reason tribe members are forbidden to eat the reproductive alates.228 Termites are frequently used in traditional popular medicine; they act as treatments for diseases and other conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, hoarseness, influenza, sinusitis, tonsillitis and whooping cough.208 In Nigeria, Macrotermes nigeriensis is utilized for religious protection and to treat wounds and ill pregnant women.
It is unknown if the termite was male or female. If it was a female, then the body length would be far more than 25 millimetres when old.
a b Cranshaw, W. (2013). "11". Bugs Rule! : An Introduction to the World of Insects. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-691-12495-7.
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Lobeck, A. Kohl (1939). Geomorphology; an Introduction to the Study of Landscapes (1st ed.) . University of California: McGraw Hill Book Company, Incorporated. pp. 431432. ASIN B002P5O9SC.
Cleveland, L.R.; Hall, S.K.; Sanders, E.P.; Collier, J. (1934). "The Wood-Feeding Roach Cryptocercus, its own protozoa, and the symbiosis between protozoa and roach". Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 17 (2): 185382. doi:10.1093/aesa/28.2.216.