You live in a crowded underground city with everyone you know. A relative comes home, and you can tell that they’ve been exposed to something that could get you all sick. Unchecked, a disease could wipe out your whole civilization. So you do what needs to be done.
You lick them. A lot.
At least, that’s what you do if you’re a termite, says Rebeca Rosengaus, an associate professor and behavioral ecologist at Northeastern.
Rosengaus has been studying how social insects, such as ants and termites, keep diseases from wiping out their colonies for the past 30 years. It’s the kind of scientific obsession that comes from watching an experiment go to pieces, and being determined to figure out why.