15 Surprising Things Termites Eat

If you are reading this you must be curious about what termites eat. There are some surprising things termites eat.

In this article, we are going to let you in on what termites like to eat and what they do not like to eat. We have also added some interesting facts about these pests.

Please read on!

Unbelievable Facts About Termites

Not all of these pests are going to eat your house, 28 species will, but the majority of these little creatures help the ecosystem by clearing up dead wood, and their tunnelling helps to aerate the soil which helps plant growth.

Termites are good to eat! They contain calcium, iron, protein and amino acids, people eat termites for good health and nutrition. In Singapore, people will eat termites dipped in rice wine.

In the Amazon, natives breathe the smoke from burning termite nests to help with flu symptoms.

Termites do not sleep; they work 24-7.

Termite colonies are big, the largest termite colony ever recorded had over three million termites! Wow!

Termites and ants do not get along, they will fight over territory and food. If you have ants in the yard a colony of termites will move on away from the ants and find somewhere else to live.

Termites outnumber people on this planet.

Termites hold the record for fastest movement, Panamanian termites can clap their mandibles shut at 157 miles per hour.

Some species of termites build their colonies upwards. An African termite colony will build their colonies that appear as above-ground mounds, the termite mounds can be up to 30 feet high.

Termites cause up to 5 million dollars of property damage each year. Termites build tunnels in wood to travel through. One tunnel found in someone’s home was 12 feet and moved when the air conditioning was on.

Termites And Their Dietary Habits

Termites are known by most to feed on wood, why is that?

Do they eat anything else other than wood?

Why Do Termites Eat Wood?

Having looked at the termites’ gut microscopically during studies it has been found that termites have Bacterial Protozoa in their stomachs, which digest the termites’ food for them.

Protozoa in the termite’s stomach break down the cellulose in wood, which the termite can then use as fuel.

As cellulose is found in wood termites feed on wood to live.

Do Termites Eat Concrete?

Concrete is not one of the things termites eat, people probably think they do as it appears so when termites are spotted in the cracks and crevices of damaged concrete, they are in fact looking for wood to feed on.

Do Termites Eat Plastic?

It might appear like termites are eating through the plastic but in reality, they are gnawing through it to get to the stuff they really like, and that is wood.

So, they do not eat plastic but will chew through it to get to their goal.

What Wood Will Termites Eat?

Termites feed on the cellulose found in wood as you already know, but does all wood offer sustenance?

Please read on to find out more.

Do Termites Eat Cedar?

This beautiful wood will keep termites at bay for a while but eventually, the resilient Cedar will break down and decay attracting termites aplenty.

Do Termites Eat Bamboo?

Bamboo is eaten by many different pests but not by termites.

Do Termites Eat Redwood?

Redwood is a natural deterrent to termites,  the great Redwood acts like treated wood.

After a while, the Redwood will seep resin into the ground and this will attract many worker termites.

Will Termites Eat Building Supplies?

When building your own house, garage, shed etc you should pay particular attention to the building materials you are going to use if you are using wood materials they should be pressure-treated wood.

Timber pressure treated with chemicals will combat termites. The wood is preserved to prevent damage and decay and is used for building on ground level, the termites will avoid the wood.

Do Termites Eat Plywood?

Plywood is made up of layers that contain cellulose, so they would eat it. However, if it is pressure treated they will not be able to sense the cellulose it contains and will therefore deter termites.

Do Termites Eat Oriented Strand Boards?

Although made of wood it contains cement to make it strong and long-lasting, the cement also prevents decay, making it very unlikely that termites will eat it.

Do Termites Eat Sheetrock?

The paper on the sheetrock contains cellulose, most termites will be attracted to it but will only eat the paper part and not the actual sheetrock.

They will continue to go through the sheetrock to find some wood and more cellulose on the other side.

Do Termites Eat Particle Boards?

Particleboard is made of various wood materials like wood chips, waste materials and sawdust making particle board a favorite food of termites.

Particleboard swells when wet making it even more appealing to moisture-loving termites.

What Do Termites Commonly Eat Outside?

Have you ever wondered if you are growing plants in your backyard that are attracting termites?

Do you wonder what termites eat outside in your yard?

Please read on, we have the answers for you.

Do Termites Eat Live Trees?

The majority of termites like to feed on dead and decaying trees and tree roots, so they will not want a live tree.

However, this is not true of the Formason Subterranean termites; they will work their way into the center of a live tree, create a colony and call it home.

Do Termites Eat Cypress Trees?

They come under the same trees as Cedar and Redwood and are naturally decay-resistant, it is a different story once the Cypress tree dies though. The pest will go to work.

Do Termites Eat Dry Wood?

There is a species of termite that will eat dry wood, for example, baseboards, hardwood floors, and furniture.

The tunnels in the wood are smooth as they do not have jagged chewing jaws like the damp wood loving termites.

Do Termites Eat Painted Wood?

Here is the good news, termites will not eat through paint.

They will eat inside the wood if they can find their way in through an unpainted spot.

Do Termites Eat Poplar Wood?

Poplar wood is made from all sorts of wood, all varying in their ability to repel termites.

If the poplar wood is Cedar, Redwood or Cypress it will be resistant to termites.

Pest Control Services

If you have a termite problem you feel you cannot deal with yourself, call in pest control, they will recommend a program to get rid of termites and you can also call for a termite pest control prevention inspection.

Termite damage can be costly, so termite prevention will help to stop termite damage.

Look for a company with positive feedback that is affordable, and one that can offer a reliable service and an effective service for your pest problem.

More Interesting Facts About Termites

Facts about termites show that these pests have huge appetites and can eat over 1,000 pounds of wood a year. And guess what? Termites release as much as 150 million tons of methane gas when digesting wood.

The only state not to have a termite problem is Alaska.

Termites provide food sources for animals like lizards, ants and birds.

Some termite species build mud tubes, this helps them get from their nests to their food source.

Some termite species have been around for millions of years, the earliest termites lived about 250 million years. Can you imagine the earliest dinosaurs that lived 230 million years ago?

Termite Queens And Termite Colonies

The queens are the largest in the caste and have wings until they fly off to create a new colony, after that the wings are snapped off.

Termite queens are capable of laying thousands of eggs every day.

Worker Termites

Termites live in a caste system, every termite has a set role, the workers feed soldier termites and females. They are also responsible for foraging and building tunnels.

Soldier Termites

When soldier termites sense a threat they will tap their heads on the colony’s tunnel walls, this creates vibrations to warn the other termites of danger.

And Finally,

Termites are a pest that like cellulose and decaying wood, pressure-treated, seal coatings and concrete covering will deter termites.

Now that you know what 15 surprising things termites eat and what attracts termites you are able to prevent an infestation with the knowledge you have gained.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop us an email. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible.

Why not take a look at the rest of our website, where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice on many pest problems.

Good luck!

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

Read more here.

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