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Can termites eat through concrete?


After termites have got into your home and start eating cellulose in wood, it can seem like they are getting into holes everywhere, including through the concrete foundation, walls, tiny cracks, between wires and expansion joints of your home.

This has led many homeowners to believe that as well as eating wood termites eat concrete foundation and digest concrete a building material that is meant to be insect-proof.

Do termites eat through concrete?

The truth is termites do not eat concrete or your house’s foundation.

Termites do not eat concrete foundation; It is used as entry points

Termites eat and thrive on cellulose, a naturally occurring fibrous material found in wood and plants. In a termite’s natural habitat, they take their cellulose from fallen trees, and dead and decaying tree stumps. However, in urban areas, a termite presence can be found in our homes and offices, eating wood.

A lot of buildings are built using concrete and bricks. Termites will not gain any nutrition from concrete or bricks. Besides, their digestive systems are not able to break it down. The problem for termites with concrete is that it gets in the way of termites foraging for wood.

Termites invade through tiny cracks

Concrete is tough and stable, but it is not flexible; it has a tendency to crack, and even as a newly poured cement foundation starts to set and dry, it can crack. For termites to get inside the building termites, they need to fit into the tiny cracks. If the foundation is weak, termites will excavate into the sandy materials or use the expansion joints between concrete to access a timber framework.

The best foundations

Poured concrete foundations offer the most resistance to termites, but only if the walls do not have any visible cracks.

Hollow block foundations can be a risk because a crack can result as the foundation ages allowing termites inside and it allows termites to travel vertically inside the house without being detected.

Slab foundations have the highest risk of a termite infestation because they are close to the ground enabling termites entry into the structure of the house.

With this type of construction, the lumber is often nailed to the slab, which can lead to weakness and cracks developing that allow termites access to wood structures.

Brick homes on concrete

Brick homes are especially vulnerable on a concrete foundation, something a lot of homeowners are unaware of.

The structure of a brick home is made of wood, for example, baseboards, furring strips behind drywall, and interior stud walls. Termites will damage the framing timbers and can do so undetected when traveling behind the brick veneer and up to the inside of the structure.

Commercial buildings and termite damage

Termite activity can affect expansion joints and hollow spaces between the bricks of a building. This can happen to commercial buildings like warehouses or residential buildings with multi apartments.

They have joints at regular intervals allowing termites in even if they have felt or other construction materials.

Concrete slabs wrapped in Styrofoam hide a termite infestation, and once termites enter, they are insulated, which can protect termites from termiticides that are applied.

Leave termite control to the professionals

The biggest problem with these small insects is finding out the exact extent of the termite problem. They are not called silent destroyers for nothing!

Subterranean termites can cause more damage than any other pests in the world. Subterranean termites cause more destruction than windstorms and fires combined.

These termites build mud tunnels to travel through; if your concrete foundation has cracks or hollow spaces where the ground meets the walls, they can get into the building through a network of mud tunnels.

Eliminating termites requires several pest control skills. Building construction knowledge is needed to locate possible entry points for termites; some access points can be hidden and difficult to get to.

For effective termite control, specialized tools are required, like drills, soil treatment rods, pumps, and other equipment.

For severe termite infestations, treatment may require hundreds of gallons of termiticide to be injected along the foundation and inside walls and other essential areas.

A termite control company will conduct an inspection of the house to determine signs of termites and the extent of the termite damage caused to the structure.

When evidence is found, like termite swarmers’, discarded wings, paint damage, soft spots in the wood, cracks in the paint that look like water damage, or termites themselves, drill holes may have to be put into the foundation wall.

This is required to reach all the entry points. The experts will place monitoring stations to give warnings of termites infesting your house.

And finally,

While termites do not eat concrete foundations, they will cause expensive damage. Having a specialist beside you will help prevent termites and new colonies.  

We presented Can termites eat through concrete? We hope you have found the article on these pests helpful and informative.

Good luck!


Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each control method, product and process to prevent infestations effectively. 

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