Why Do Termites Build Tall Mounds?
The tall mounds built by certain kinds of termites that live in tropical climates are called termitaries. These mounds protect the insects from the heat of the sun and most predators.
They are made from bits of soil cemented together with saliva. Some mounds are 20 feet high. The inside is divided into numerous chambers and galleries.
At the center is the royal chamber of a fat queen that lays thousands of termite eggs a day. The mounds are so hard that only a few predators, such as the aardvark can tear through the walls, with their strong claws.
Inside the mound is an extensive system of tunnels and conduits that serves as a ventilation system for the underground nest.
In order to get good ventilation, the termites will construct several shafts leading down to the cellar located beneath the nest. The mound is built above the subterranean nest. The nest itself is a spheroidal structure consisting of numerous gallery chambers.
They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some, like Odontotermes termites build open chimneys or vent holes into their mounds, while others build completely enclosed mounds like Macrotermes. The Amitermes (Magnetic termites) mounds are created tall, thin, wedge-shaped, usually oriented north-south.