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Termites can be major agricultural pests, particularly in East Africa and North Asia, where harvest losses can be acute (3100 percent 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 helps reduce runoff and consequent soil erosion during bioturbation.217 In South America, cultivated plants like lavender, 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 aimed at replacing fossil fuels with cleaner, renewable energy sources.219 Termites are efficient bioreactors, effective at producing 2 litres of hydrogen from a single sheet of paper.220 Roughly 200 species of germs live inside the termite hindgut, releasing the hydrogen which has been trapped inside wood and plants that 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 build.222 These robots work independently and can proceed by themselves on a tracked grid, capable of climbing and lifting up bricks. Such robots could possibly be handy for future projects on Mars, or even for building levees to prevent flooding.223.
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Termites use complex means to control the temperatures of the mounds. As discussed above, the shape and orientation of the mounds of this Australian compass termite stabilises their internal temperatures during the day. Since the towers heat up, the solar chimney effect (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 regional termites.226 This 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, due to the problem in keeping them captive and into the reluctance of government to allow 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 widely 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 male or female. When it was a female, then the entire body length would be much more than 25 millimetres when old.
a b Cranshaw, W. (2013). "11". Bugs Rule! : An Introduction to the World of Insects. Princeton, New Jersey: Full Report 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.