Termites: A homeowner’s nightmare. A teacher’s dream come true (and FREE lab!)

On a lovely day in early June, as I sat down with my two year old son to eat lunch, he pointed out the window and said “WOW!”
I looked out my kitchen window and I knew immediately what I was seeing.  A termite mating swarm.  Thousands of tiny insects flying straight up in the air and then falling to the ground, awkwardly and slowly, like those little “helicopter” seeds.
My first thought was OH NO!!!!!!! I do not want termites at my house.
My second thought was, hey this is pretty cool.  I wish I had filmed it.  If my son hadn’t been looking out the window in that 2 minute period, we would have never even noticed.  The termites flew up and only stayed in the air for a minute or two.  They then ran around on my backyard concrete slab, frantically looking for mating partners.  Within a minute of the flight, my yard was full of robins, eating a feast that must have been equivalent to Robin Thanksgiving.
(I did call an exterminator and had the back area of my house re-treated, just in case some of these termites decided to settle down after their honeymoon flight.)
Termites are pretty interesting creatures.  There is a unique characteristic that makes worker termites perfect subjects for a first lab that allows students to design their own experiment.  Termites like to follow pen lines drawn on paper, which is so fun to watch!  My students try to figure out why by designing their own experiments with simple paper products and normal school supplies.  Check out my FREE lab resource and try it this year!  You will love termites too…. As long as they aren’t at your house.


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