Termites Nests Are Always Comfortable


Termites living in savanna zones spend decades building dirt nests that are 6–7m high. A savanna is characterized by drastic temperature swings: daytime temperature can reach 50°C, while nighttime temperatures drop to 0°C. Despite this temperature fluctuation, termite nests are always exactly 30°C inside. How do termites maintain this steady temperature? Various mechanisms contribute to this temperature control, but one key factor is air channels within the dirt that composes the nests. Nests have something called an aggregate structure, which is a system of billions of microscopic air channels (sized smaller than bacteria) that automatically regulate humidity levels. When humidity is high, the channels suck in moisture and store it as water. When humidity is low, they respond by releasing moist air. This regulation helps insulate the nest from temperature changes.

Functional Classification

Resouce/Energy/Information Collection & Storage:
Heat insulation
Heat resistanceTemperature controlHumidificationInsulation

Environmental Solution Classification

Related Literature

Ishida, H. 2009. Shizen ni manabu iki na technology naze katatsumuri no kara wa yogorenai no ka. Dojin Sensho. 19-27p.

Technical Application

Powerless air conditioners are already being used in people’s homes. These air conditioners have been proven to effectively regulate room humidity and temperature and are a feasible way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Small holes in the air conditioner materials also filter gases and smells to keep room air clean.

Products and Services

  • Powerless air conditioners.

Type of Business

Proposals of Applied Technology

Household energy consumption has continued to rise in recent years, largely on account of air conditions, which poses a large problem. The example of termite nests that regulate humidity and temperature could be used to develop more powerless air conditioners that keep homes comfortable while reducing energy consumption.

Proposals of Applied Industry

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