Science

Termitat brings termites to your house – in a good way

Termitat brings termites to yo...
Termitat is an educational sealed termite habitat
Termitat is an educational sealed termite habitat
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Termitat is an educational sealed termite habitat
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Termitat is an educational sealed termite habitat
One of the included soldier termites
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One of the included soldier termites
Owners just need to add a bit of water through a tiny hole in the top of the Termitat twice a month, and keep the display out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating
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Owners just need to add a bit of water through a tiny hole in the top of the Termitat twice a month, and keep the display out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating
The Termitat is available in two models, that feature different types of stands
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The Termitat is available in two models, that feature different types of stands
Higher pledge levels will get backers a kit that includes a magnifier ...
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Higher pledge levels will get backers a kit that includes a magnifier ...
... or a USB electronic microscope
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... or a USB electronic microscope

Do you have termites in your home? If not, would you like to? Not ones that are living in the wooden structure of the building itself, of course – that'd be no fun. Instead, the Termitat securely houses a colony of Pacific Dampwood Termites within a clear acrylic housing, where you can watch them going about their business on a daily basis. It's like an ant farm, except instead of dirt it has a disc of Douglas Fir wood, and instead of ants it has ... well, termites.

San Francisco-based designer Chris Poehlmann started out creating larger but similar termite habitats for zoos and museums – the same sort of places that display the shrimp-containing EcoSpheres. The Termitat is simply the "home version."

Each unit contains approximately 25 worker and soldier termites, which should be able to live out their natural lifespan (a few years) subsisting on the included wood. Owners just need to add a bit of water through a tiny hole in the top of the Termitat twice a month, and keep the display out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating.

One of the included soldier termites
One of the included soldier termites

Of course, the big question is "What if they get out and eat my house?". For starters, the display itself is claimed to be escape-proof. If the quarter-inch acrylic housing were to get smashed, however, there likely still wouldn't be a problem. That's because Dampwood Termites typically live in wet logs in forests, and aren't among the species known to inhabit the dry wood of homes.

Poehlmann is currently raising production funds for the Termitat, on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$125 will get you a basic kit, when and if they're ready to go. Higher pledge levels include a magnifier or a USB electronic microscope.

You can see the wood-eating critters in action, in the pitch video below.

Sources: Termitat, Kickstarter

The Termitat: Live Termites for the Home, Office, or Classroom

3 comments
Milton
very cool.
Mark A
Sorry... once they started on my teak furniture I have no need for these creatures. They can have all the space they need outside of my house.
RodneyW123
I've never heard of or seen a termite farm before. Just like an ant farm you get to watch them go about their daily duties, as well as eat through the wood. I definitely want to get one of these for my new apartment because I think they are so cool. http://www.frontlinetpc.com.au/Termite-Bait-Systems.html