Do Termites Eat Wood

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Termites, those tiny, seemingly innocuous insects, have a voracious appetite for wood. But just how much wood do they consume? And are there certain types of wood that they prefer over others? These questions linger in the minds of homeowners, builders, and anyone who wants to protect their property from termite damage.

In this discussion, we will explore the types of wood termites feast upon, their peculiar preference for cedar, the impact of pressure-treated wood on their appetite, and even shed light on the types of wood that termites surprisingly do not eat.

So, brace yourselves as we uncover the fascinating world of these wood-consuming creatures and their dining habits.

Types of Wood Termites Eat

wood termites and their diet

Termites have a propensity for consuming various types of wood, including untreated softwoods like pine, cedar, cypress, and fir, as well as untreated hardwoods such as oak, hickory, sweet gum, and maple. These insects are attracted to wood because it serves as a source of nutrition for them. Termites eat wood primarily for the cellulose it contains.

Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate that makes up the structural components of wood. It provides termites with the energy they need to survive and reproduce. It is important to note that termites can also target other materials that contain cellulose, such as drywall, sheetrock, and paper-covered plaster.

To protect homes and structures from termite infestations, it is crucial to have proper termite control measures in place. Professional pest control services can help identify and treat termite problems effectively.

Termites' Preference for Cedar

Cedar, due to its natural repellent properties, is less attractive to termites compared to other types of wood commonly consumed by these insects. While termites do eat wood, their preference for cedar is relatively low. Here are some key points to understand about termites' preference for cedar:

  • Cedar contains allelochemicals that act as repellents against some insects, including termites.
  • The core of cedar may have some resistance to termites, but the outer white wood is still susceptible to termite damage.
  • Termites have a preference for consuming softwoods like pine, cedar, cypress, and fir, making cedar a particularly vulnerable target for termite colonies.

Despite cedar's repellent properties, it is important to note that regular maintenance and professional termite control are necessary to ensure the effectiveness of cedar's natural repellent properties.

Look out for signs such as termite mud tubes or visible termite damage to identify the presence of termites in your house.

Impact of Pressure-Treated Wood on Termites

termite susceptibility to pressure treated wood

Pressure-treated wood, infused with chemical preservatives to resist rotting and insects, including termites, is commonly used for various outdoor structures such as decks, exterior basement walls, and fence posts. The impact of pressure-treated wood on termites is significant, as it provides a level of protection against termite infestations. However, it is important to note that termites can still damage pressure-treated wood if it becomes damp and starts to decay. Therefore, regular maintenance is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of pressure-treated wood against termites.

Additionally, while pressure-treated wood is termite-resistant, it is not foolproof. Cedar, on the other hand, contains allelochemicals that act as repellents against some insects, making it less attractive to termites compared to other types of wood. However, regular maintenance is still required to maintain its termite-resistant properties.

Types of Wood Termites Do Not Eat

Certain types of wood are resistant to termite infestations, making them a preferred choice for structures that are at risk of termite damage. While termites are known for their ability to consume wood, there are several types of wood that they do not eat.

These include heartwood, pressure-treated plywood and lumber, teak, redwood, bamboo, and cypress. Heartwood, which is the central layer of cedar wood, is typically resistant to termite attacks, although the outer layers may still be susceptible. Pressure-treated plywood and lumber have been chemically treated to repel termites, making them an effective choice for termite prevention.

Teak, redwood, bamboo, and cypress are naturally resistant to termite infestations due to their high levels of natural oils and resins. Incorporating these types of wood into building materials can help minimize the risk of termite damage and the need for frequent inspections.

Termite Preferences by Type

termite diet preferences analyzed

Wood is the primary food source for termites, but their preferences extend beyond just wood. Termites are known to consume a variety of materials, including plants, plant byproducts, cotton fibers, and paper products.

When it comes to wood, termites show a preference for untreated softwoods, hardwoods, drywall, sheetrock, particle board, and plywood that has not been pressure-treated. While cedar is less attractive to termites due to its repellent properties, they may still consume the outer layers of cedar wood. It is important to note that termites can still damage pressure-treated wood if it decays, highlighting the need for regular maintenance.

There are also certain types of wood that termites typically avoid, such as heartwood, pressure-treated plywood, teak, redwood, bamboo, and cypress. Understanding termite preferences by type can be valuable for inspection and prevention efforts to minimize termite damage.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.