From the March 23, 2006 New York Review of Books:
“The greatest of Earth’s architects and builders are the termites. These distant relatives of the cockroach build cities whose spires tower far higher above their inahbitants’ heads, relative to their size, than do our tallest skyscrapers. Some species in northern Australia build razor-backed structures that point north, maximizing the thermal comfort of those within. And in many species of termites the water provisioning, highway construction, and air conditioning of their great edifices rival in sophistication anything built by humanity.”
The stuff about scorpions and ants is even better, but unrelated to residential real estate.