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Termite threats on the big screen at Insect Fear Film Festival

This soldier termite and related species are called nasutes. Their mouthparts are fused to form a projection that squirts defensive chemicals to repel marauders attacking the colony, in contrast to other types of termites that have long, swordlike mandibles. Termites are the theme of the annual Insect Fear Film Festival on Feb. 23.

Termites are vilified as destroyers of all things wooden, but they are also misunderstood.

“The one thing that everyone knows about these insects and seems to care about is they cause billions of dollars of damage by eating wood,” said May Berenbaum, a professor and head of the entomology department at the University of Illinois. “In reality, not all termites eat wood, and they do an enormous amount of ecosystem good. They provide ecosystem services people don’t recognize or appreciate.”

Termites will take center stage at the 36th Insect Fear Film Festival on Feb. 23 at the University of Illinois.

Read the full article at the Illinois News Bureau


Publication Date: 02/22/2019
Photo credits: Nathan Schiff
Editor: Jodi Heckel