According to a study published in Science, the Earth gets warmer, termites will rapidly spread across the world. This could, in turn, lead to a further rise in global temperatures.
What is the effect of rising temperatures?
- It has found that termites decompose wood at a much higher rate in warmer conditions.
- For every 10 degrees Celsius increase in temperature, their decomposition activity goes up by almost seven times.
- According to the study, termites release carbon from dead wood in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, two of the most important greenhouse gases. So, an increase in termite population and their faster decomposing activity can cause more greenhouse emissions, resulting in a hotter planet.
- There are around 3,000 species of termites across the world, including the ones that consume plant material and even soil. However, the most famous are the wood-eating termites.
- Another research by scientists at the University of Florida found that two Floridian varieties of termites were able to interbreed during warmer winters and hybridise into new “highly destructive super-termites”.