What do Termites Eat?

January 27, 2020

What do Termites Eat?

January 27, 2020

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Termites are known for destroying wood support beams in homes. Floor joists and siding are particularly susceptible as they are located closer to the ground. However, the termite’s diet is more complex than just anything wood. Understanding what and how termites eat can help home and other property owners to lessen the risk of damage that termites pose to a property.

Food Sources

Termites can eat other materials but their primary food source is cellulose from wood. Cellulose is largely found in the trunk of a tree. The core of the tree and the bark have low amount of cellulose. However, the areas of a tree that are high in cellulose are the areas that are generally used for building materials. Termites prefer to eat wood that is beginning to decay as the cellulose is easier to digest. Wood chips and saw dust are all potential sources of food for termites. As Arizona’s mild winters allow building year around, there are always sources of food for termites. Cellulose can be found in many plants and termites can live on it regardless of its source. Termites can even obtain cellulose from paper and other wood products.

Preferred Woods

Termites have a definite preference for some woods over others. Unfortunately, one of the favorites of termites is southern yellow pine, perhaps the most common wood used in the construction industry. Teak and redwood are two woods that termites attempt to avoid. Though teak is not a good replacement for southern yellow pine, there are some applications where woods that are more resistant to termites can be used.

Wood Products

Products made from wood such as oriented strand board (OSB), woods treated with chemicals to prevent rot and wood replacements such as composite deck boards are very resistant to termites. As OSB and pressure treated lumber have a lot of non-wood material, they are not good sources of food for termites. Wood that is painted and treated is less likely to suffer damage from termites.

While there are many things that can be done to kill termites and re-mediate termite damage, there is nothing better than preventing termite damage before it occurs. Contact us for an immediate termite inspection for termites and an evaluation for the best methods to prevent future infestations in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

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