The 20 year old queen with a bad rap.
Wandering through the jungle in search of exciting things like brightly colored birds, monkeys, gato solo's, ant eaters, or huge butterflies, your eyes will always stop to wonder at that big blob that is commonly mistaken for a resting monkey in the tree. It doesn't move, buzz, and you don't see anything on the outside of it so what's the deal?
You can likely identify it as a termite nest - the cryptic ecosystem engineer which usually solicits one of two reactions: curiosity or cringe. << Test First Name >>, which one are you?
There are a lot of crazy stories and myths about these industrious insects of the jungle which have given them a bad social rap especially when it comes to choosing certain types of building materials. Although termites may be notorious for eating wood, their main food source is actually the decayed plant and leaf matter off the forest floor - not the frames for our beautiful doors and beds.
Obviously, these proficient and prolific feasters have a purpose in nature but my initial search for information turned up everything that had to do with eradication, poison, pest, and destruction but you know that Mother Nature has a plan for everything and it turns out, the termite is one of the mightiest of them all.
Living in a complex social structure of soldiers, workers, and the almighty queen, they work together to gather food from the forest floor that they digest, process, and use to build their complex nests that we see on top of branches as well as underground. Their meticulously engineered underground colonies work magic to support the ecosystem above.
If you thought navigating the subway system of New York was hard, you would never make it in a termite nest. Not to worry though, just imagine that all those tunnels full of slimy digested wood and leaves are playing an important role in soil health, aeration, and moisture control which is what the forest survives on in dry times of the year and especially during a drought.
To protect themselves from the elements of the jungle as well as predators, they use the same material to build a tunnel system up to their nests which is why we rarely ever see termites but if you open the tunnel (like the photo above), you will see them moving about working hard.
In reality, they are like the brewers of the jungle providing tasty beverages for all their friends. Sound familiar? If this makes you think of col-col beers imagine how tasty one would be sitting on our outdoor terrace looking for termite nests in the jungle.
Your Friends in Morrillo,
Cari and Ryan Mackey
Owners and Hosts
Morrillo Beach Eco Resort
Soldier Update for those of you who haven't followed along on social media.