Will Termites Eat Cedar

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Cedar, known for its beauty and durability, has long been favored in construction and furniture for its resistance to termites. But is it truly impervious to these wood-devouring pests? While many homeowners and builders rely on cedar's reputation as a natural termite repellent, it is essential to examine the scientific evidence behind this claim.

In this discussion, we will explore the types of termites and their consumption patterns, the factors that contribute to cedar's resistance, and the measures one can take to further protect cedar from termite infestation.

So, let us unravel the mystery and determine if cedar truly stands as a reliable defense against termites.

Types of Termites and Cedar Consumption

termite species and wood consumption

Cedar consumption by termites varies depending on the type of termite and the condition of the cedar over time. Different types of termites have different preferences when it comes to wood consumption.

Subterranean termites, for example, are known to feed on softer woods and are attracted to moist conditions. They may initially avoid cedar due to its natural resistance, but over time, as the cedar breaks down and becomes more susceptible to termite infestations, they may start feeding on it.

Drywood termites, on the other hand, are known to infest and consume drier wood, including cedar. It is important to note that while cedar is naturally resistant to termites, it is not completely immune.

Regular termite inspection and monitoring are crucial to detect any signs of termite activity and prevent potential damage to cedar or any other kind of wood.

Factors That Make Cedar Resistant to Termites

What are the key factors that contribute to cedar's resistance against termites?

Cedar wood possesses several characteristics that make it resistant to termites. Here are the main factors:

  • Natural oils and resins: Cedar contains oils and resins that act as a deterrent to termites, making it less appealing as a food source for them.
  • Aromatic properties: The distinctive aroma of cedar wood is unattractive to termites, reducing the chances of infestation.
  • Dense and sturdy nature: Cedar's dense and sturdy composition makes it challenging for termites to penetrate and consume, enhancing its resistance against termite damage.

These factors work together to make cedar an unfavorable choice for termites. Additionally, the presence of thujaplicins and thujaplic acids in cedar wood, along with the high concentration of natural preservatives in the heartwood, further contribute to its termite-resistant properties.

How to Protect Cedar From Termite Infestation

cedar protection against termites

To effectively protect cedar from termite infestation, homeowners can employ a range of preventative measures and maintenance practices.

Cedar is naturally resistant to termites due to its natural oils and compounds, making it less appealing to these pests. However, applying a protective sealant or finish to cedar can further deter termites from infesting the wood.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining cedar structures for any signs of termite activity is crucial for early detection and prevention. Additionally, keeping the area around cedar structures free of moisture and debris can help reduce the risk of termite infestation.

Using termite-resistant mulch options, such as cedar, cypress, or synthetic materials, around cedar structures can also provide added protection.

Comparing Cedar to Other Types of Wood for Termite Resistance

After discussing the ways to protect cedar from termite infestation, it is important to compare its resistance to termites with other types of wood. While cedar is somewhat naturally resistant to termites, it can still become attractive to them over time as it breaks down. Here is a comparison of cedar with other types of wood for termite resistance:

  • Yellow cedar: This type of cedar is known for its high natural resistance to termites due to its high oil content.
  • Redwood: Initially, redwood acts as a natural deterrent for termites, but as it wears out, it becomes attractive to them.
  • Pressure-treated wood: This type of wood is highly resistant to termites due to the chemicals used in the treatment process.
  • Composite wood: Some manmade composite lumber products are termite-resistant, as they are made with materials that termites cannot digest, like plastic.
  • Hardwood: Hardwoods generally deter termites due to their density and natural oils.

Although different types of wood have varying levels of resistance to termites, it is important to note that all wood contains cellulose, which termites seek. To enhance termite resistance, proper maintenance and regular inspections are crucial.

Final Thoughts: Is Cedar a Safe Choice Against Termites?

cedar and termites safety

Considering the varying levels of resistance to termites among different types of wood, it is important to evaluate whether cedar is a safe choice in terms of termite protection. Cedar is somewhat naturally resistant to termites, making it a popular choice for homeowners. However, it is crucial to understand that over time, cedar can become attractive to termites as it breaks down. This means that while cedar may provide some initial protection against termites, it is not completely immune to their attacks. To provide a contextually relevant comparison, let's examine the termite resistance of cedar, redwood, pressure-treated lumber, and composite wood in the table below:

Wood Type Initial Termite Resistance Long-term Termite Resistance
Cedar Medium Low
Redwood High Medium
Pressure-treated High High
Composite Wood High High

From this table, it is evident that cedar has a medium level of initial termite resistance, but its long-term resistance is relatively low compared to pressure-treated lumber and composite wood. Therefore, while cedar may be a safe choice against termites initially, it is not the most optimal choice for long-term termite protection.

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.