Termite Mound Resembles Buddha?

Termites in Africa make underground nests. They cover their nests with mounds that can reach up to 30’ tall. Although each mound is unique, they all seem to have a similar design.

The termites build a base first. This base can be as wide as 15’. The base is conical and often reaches 5’ in height.

The termites build the top of the mound on the base. Scientists call this top section the "spire" because it is usually slender. The average spire is about 10’ tall, but spires sometimes reach almost 30′.

Inside the mound the termites make a system of tunnels. The tunnels extend into the underground nest. The tunnels reach every part of the mound and extend all the way to the top.

Scientists believe that the tunnels in the mound are an elaborate ventilation system. The termites can control the environment inside their nest by opening and closing the tunnels.

Some termite colonies make chimney–like openings at the top of the spire. Others make small openings on the sides of the mound. Reports suggest that the termites can maintain the temperature and humidity inside the nest with this ventilation system.

The environment inside the nest is important to the termites. They raise fungus in special "fungus gardens" in the nest. The termites use the fungus to convert cellulose into sugar. The termites eat the sugar that remains after the fungus has digested the cellulose.

The termites often build their mound near a tree. Scientists suspect that when winged termites are establishing the colony, they find the area near a tree to be more suitable than an exposed location.

The scientists think that the termite’s mound and nest are actually beneficial to the tree. The underground nest aerates the soil and allows water to penetrate more efficiently.

The termites seem to build the spires so they tilt toward the north. Since the mounds are located in the Southern Hemisphere, this seems to suggest that the termites prefer to work on the warm, sunny side of the mound when they are building the spire.

In the United States, termites do not build aboveground mounds. They attack homes and buildings from underground tunnels. Experts encourage homeowners to protect their homes by having annual termite inspections.