What happens if you take half a million termites and set them loose in a tiny, built-to-scale dream house? No, it’s not the start of a bad joke. It’s the premise behind the Tiny Termite House, the National Pest Management Association's latest research project. A team of researchers is set to release 500,000 termites, the size of an average colony, free in a custom, miniature house, while capturing all the riveting, non-stop destruction on high-definition video. Anyone wondering what’s going on between the studs in their own home, can wonder no longer, as this first-of-its-kind footage will reveal just how quickly an active termite infestation can destroy Americans’ greatest investments — our homes.
The tiny, two-story home will have many of the same features as an actual home in Anytown, USA, such as insulation, plumbing and electricity – other amenities include hardwood floors, a beautiful kitchen and a balcony overlooking an in-ground swimming pool. Like most of American homes, the house is being constructed on a cement slab. However, there is one big difference — this house will be fully equipped with cameras throughout to study its 500,000 residents’ progress from introduction to decimation.
In addition to tracking the house’s demise, the project will allow an up-close look at termites with never-before-seen access to the fascinating biology behind these insects, known for their feverish work ethic of all work and no play or rest. The footage will reveal additional insights into the various players within a termite colony and the role that each takes in making sure dinner is served.
Read the official project announcement here.
Check out this video offering a sneak peek into the Tiny Termite House project. We encourage you to check back regularly for more updates!
See below for the latest updates from our Tiny Termite House project!
We are seeing extreme intrusion of Formosan termites into the joists that hold together the flooring and the walls of the Tiny Termite House. The termites have located any available opening between the cement foundation and the house, and built multiple mud trails to find wood to eat, including a visible trail inside the garage. The plank flooring is starting to buckle up due to the moisture the termites bring at the feeding sites. What’s really interesting to point out is that the termites are behaving just as they would in a life-size home. Here's some footage of the termites forming mud tubes along the flooring.
Mud tubes — used by termites to reach a food source — have started forming around the home's foundation. Mud tubes are one of the visible signs of a termite infestation in our own homes. As spring rolls around, homeowners should keep their eyes peeled for mud tubes and other signs of a termite problem. Here's a high-definition video of termites forming some mud tubes.
Our team introduced hundreds of thousands of termites into the house setting in February. Check out this time-lapse video of the first 100,000 termites being dumped into the soil.