What role do pheromones play in animal behavior? This investigation demonstrates how soldier termites sense pheromones. Students observe and document motions of termites under 2 different conditions: pencil circles and pen circles.
Termites will follow a pen line on a piece of paper because the smell of the pen’s ink is very close to the pheromones of the termites. The students are amazed! I like to show them the phenomenon using a red pen and a few termites on a piece of paper. I draw a circle. Often students will guess the termites like the color red or like following circles. Or they think the termite is following an impression of the pen on the paper. Their job is to test whether the termites like the color red, follow circles, etc.