If you’ve driven around Australia, you’ve no doubt stumbled across crazy, often impressive formations in the ground. These reddish-brown, stony-looking castles are the homes of our enemy: the termite. The uncanny structures you see are known as termite mounds.
Staring in wonder at these constructions, one starts to consider how they are created. How many termites live in a termite mound? Can the mound be destroyed?
Today, let’s take a scientific glance at the way termite mounds form in Australia, and understand our enemy just a bit better.
A Home Beneath the Ground
Termite mounds are formed by subterranean termites, those that live beneath the surface. Because these termites live underground, the size and scope of their nests is truly unfathomable. The part of the termite mound that you see above ground does not represent the size of the nest. Rather, these mounds act as ventilators of sorts, keeping the temperatures stable within the nests far below. Found only in Australia, Africa, and South America, mound-building termites enable the species to live in a dry, arid climate which would not typically support their growth. Thus, they head underground to live and thrive.
Termite mounds have been known to grow as tall as 9 metres, but most stand roughly 2 metres tall. Still, this height is nothing to sneeze at! These mounds are built by the termites themselves, using sand, saliva, fecal matter, and other substances, and forming this paste into the familiar hard structure of the termite mound.
What Else are the Mounds For?
Different termite species use the mounds for different purposes, with some living directly inside the mound, using it for an emergency location, and more. The size, shape, and orientation of termite mounds will vary depending on species and the purpose of the mound. Some mounds have a peaked top, which functions to keep rainfall at bay and keep the colony dry. Often, in a given area, all termite mounds will be oriented in the same direction, and take on a remarkably similar shape. This has to do with the positions of the sun, as termites build their mounds carefully to coincide with the earth’s natural patterns. This keeps their temperature stable and perhaps serves other functions yet to be studied.
Termites and You
Fortunately, the majority of residents of Australia do not live in areas where termite mounds form. Building in this area could present an enormous problem for your property. However, termite mounds do make it clear where the termites are present, unlike coastal termites, which are much harder to spot. For such species, you’ll want to keep a lookout for signs of their presence.
If you fear you have termites wreaking havoc on your home or commercial property, please don’t delay to contact us at Termite Solutions. We’ll sort out your termite issue quickly and effectively.