Why Termites Eat Wood

Subterranean termites are some of the worst pests that you can have in your home. They can do a tremendous amount of damage due to their diets. Termites feed primarily on wood, and they can find a lot of wood in human settlements. But why do termites prefer to feed on wood?

The wood preference of subterranean termites

Termites do not eat wood by itself, they need help in order to digest the cellulose. For this purpose, they have protozoa and other microorganisms in their digestive system, which helps the termites break cellulose down into sugar which nourishes their body. It is a sort of symbiotic relationship.

However, not all termites prefer the same type of wood. Subterranean termites will choose soft wood, and if they come across harder wood, they will tend to avoid it. This preference has an effect on the way subterranean termites feed, creating honeycomb shapes in the wood that they infest. They will usually feed along the grain of the wood, leaving fecal matter and dirt behind.

You can identify a subterranean termite infestation by the mud tubes that lead from the ground to the wood. These tubes serve the purpose of keeping the termites moist as they leave the underground. Without these tubes, the subterranean termites would die of dehydration.

Drywood and dampwood termite wood preference

As their names suggest, drywood and dampwood termites prefer dry wood and damp wood. More specifically, dampwood termites will go for rotting, decayed and moist wood. This wood is usually found in old tree stumps, wood piles and rotting logs. These termites very rarely infest well-kept buildings, but if there is any rotting wood in your home, they may pay you a visit. Drywood termites on the other hand can find plenty of wood that is dry in the home. This wood can be found in the structural timber, floors and frame of the home. They may even attack furniture. These termites will create colonies within the wood, so you will not see any mud tubes when they infest a structure. However, wood that has drywood termites in it will have a smooth appearance.

Taking care of termite infestation

If you notice any of the signs mentioned above, or if you have any suspicion that you may have an infestation, your best bet is to call over a pest control specialist. Contact us today if you need any termite control services.

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