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The Wonder Of Termites (Yep, That's What I Said)

David Siu
Creative Commons

Nobody likes termites. They get into the wood in our homes and can lead to infuriating and expensive repairs. What's to like?

It turns out, there's a lot to like termites. Scientists study how they 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 creating 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.


  • Jennifer Dacey - An entomologist and a wildlife biologist and integrated pest management technician in the UConn Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture
  • Lisa Margonelli - Author of Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology
  • Mick Pearce - An architect

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show.

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.
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