Nobody likes the termite. They get into the wood in our homes that can lead to infuriating and expensive repairs. What's to like.
It turns out, there's a lot to like about the termite; scientists study how termites build their "mounds" for clues to solving some of the world's most pressing problems, like mitigating the effects of drought, building colonies on Mars, and the creation of biofuels.
Plus, their ability to adapt to the harshest conditions over millions of years says a lot about them. Almost 90% of the microbes found in their guts are unique to the termite. Those same gut microbes are what make them so productive and on the flip side, so destructive.
Lastly, some believe termites work with joy and have a soul. You be the judge.
- Lisa Margonelli - Author of Oil On the Brain: Petroleum’s Long Strange Trip To Your Tank and most recently, Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology (@LisaMargonelli)
- Jennifer Dacey - Entomologist; wildlife biologist and Integrated Pest Management technician in the UConn Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. She’s also the technical director for CT Pest Control Association
- Mick Pearce - has been an architect in Zimbabwe and Zambia for over 30 years. His work can be seen in Central Africa, Australia, England and China.
Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show, which aired on August 29, 2018.