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Termites can be major agricultural pests, particularly in East Africa and North Asia, in which harvest losses can be severe (3100% in crop loss in Africa).216 Counterbalancing that is the considerably improved water infiltration where termite tunnels in the soil allow rainwater to soak in deeply, which helps decrease runoff and consequent soil erosion through bioturbation.217 In South America, cultivated plants such as lavender, upland rice and sugarcane can be seriously damaged by termite infestations, with attacks on leaves, roots and sterile tissue.
The termite gut has inspired various research efforts aimed at replacing fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable energy sources.219 Termites are efficient bioreactors, effective at producing two litres of hydrogen from a single sheet of paper.220 Roughly 200 species of microbes live inside the termite hindgut, releasing the hydrogen which has been 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 complex mounds that termites construct.222 These robots operate independently and can move independently on a monitored grid, capable of climbing and lifting up bricks. Such robots may be useful for future jobs on Mars, or for building levees to prevent flooding.223.
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Termites use sophisticated means to control the temperatures of their mounds. As mentioned above, the shape and orientation of the mounds of the Australian compass termite stabilises their internal temperatures during the day. As the towers heat up, the solar useful source chimney impact (stack effect) creates an updraft of air within the mound.224 Wind blowing across the tops of the towers enhances the circulation of air throughout the mounds, which also include side 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, utilized passive cooling inspired by that used by the local termites.226 It was the first major building exploiting termite-inspired cooling techniques to attract international attention. Other these 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 problem in keeping them captive and Get More Info to the reluctance of government to permit potential pests. One of the few who 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 consume the reproductive alates.228 Termites are frequently utilized 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 sick pregnant women.
It is unknown if the termite was female or male. If it was a female, the body length would be far greater 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 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.