Our World (Answers for Kids)
Weird and Wonderful TERMITES
Termites are tiny insects as little as 3–5 millimetres long, yet they perform some wonderful feats. In tropical countries, termites build huge ‘castles’ up to nine metres (30 feet) high. These nests are made of mud which the tiny insects stick together with their saliva. There is a network of tunnels inside, which provides ‘air-conditioning’ for the colony, which may contain several million insects. Australian termites build mud towers that are thin and wide, with the narrow edge facing the midday sun. This means that during the midday heat, less sunshine falls on the nest, but in the morning and evening sunlight falls on the wide side, providing warmth when it is needed.
Deep inside the nest is the queen termite — a huge creature which at 35 millimetres long dwarfs the worker termites. She is little more than an egg-laying machine, served by all the other termites. The other insects are either workers, or soldiers which guard the entrances to the nest. All the termites work together by instinct as though they are a single organism. The workers (which are blind) repair the nest and provide food. African termites even have underground gardens where they grow fungus in a special compost made of dead wood mixed with droppings.
Once a year (at mating time) some male and female termites grow wings and fly from the nest. After one flight, they cast off their wings, which they will never need again. The male and female couples then burrow into the ground, and start another nest.
Evolution cannot explain the way termites live. They don’t think about what they do — the whole colony is ‘programmed’ to work as a unit. Termites could not learn to build their towers at the right angle to the sun, or how to grow fungus in special compost.
And how do the flying termites know they need to cast off their wings after that single flight? Everything about termites points to these tiny wonders having been created by God to live the way they do.