© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

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

david siu
flickr 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, which originally aired August 29, 2018.

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.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content