What Do Termites Eat?

In order to successfully defeat a termite problem, two essential questions to ask are, “What do termites eat?” followed closely by, “How do I prevent them from eating it?” Termite control is one of the many pest control services provided by Action Pest Exterminating, and our experienced exterminators serving Charlotte will help you answer these questions. 

 

A Termite’s Diet

In no particular order, a termite’s diet consists of paper products, plants, wood, plant byproducts, and cotton fibers. What’s most important is the common ingredient all of these materials share: cellulose. It’s a word that doesn’t come up in everyday conversation, which is ironic considering it’s the most abundant organic compound found in nature. The more cellulose a material has, the more likely it is for a termite to include it on the menu. 

Termites are best known as eaters of wood, and there are two reasons for this. One is that wood is a terrific source of cellulose and other termite-beneficial nutrients. Unlike many of God’s creatures, termites are “blessed” with a stomach that allows them to not only eat wood, but to also break down the cellulose fibers within. The second reason why termites love wood is related to the first reason – the fact that most species don’t consider wood as a food source gives termites carte blanche to turn as much wood as they want into a nutritious meal. 

 

What Type Of Wood Suits a Termite Best?

There are three types of wood preferred by the termite species. One of these, springwood, is consumed by subterranean termites who enjoy eating this wood’s soft fibers. Evidence of a subterranean termite’s presence center on honeycomb-like designs whose galleries are filled with dirt and fecal matter. A second type of wood is generally referred to as “dampwood”, which applies to any moist wood. Most often this takes the form of decaying logs and tree stumps, a popular milieu for dampwood termites. On the upside, these particular termites rarely infest homes. 

Drywood – a home’s framing and structural timbers, along with furniture and hardwood floors – is the wood that our clients should be most concerned with when it comes to termites. Drywood termites make no contact with the soil – instead, they’re able to extract the water they need from the wood itself and keep right on eating. By and large, the damage done by drywood termites has a smooth appearance. 

 

Eliminating Potential Food Sources

Eliminating a termite colony’s food source – in this case, your home – involves multiple steps, as opposed to one specific cure-all. For example, keep the soil around your home’s foundation as dry as possible. Proper grading and drainage are essential, as are the installation and maintenance of gutters and downspouts. Also, avoid piling/storing firewood next to your home. Immediately seal structural cracks as they appear, and do the same for leaks. 

It’s also important to keep trees and shrubs from growing too close to your home, especially exposed wood. Keep your air vents free from blockage, especially if the plant is causing the obstruction, and you’ll have taken yet another step towards denying termites easy access to your house.  

 

Call In The Experts

Of course, effective termite control in North Carolina also requires having a trusted, professional exterminator like Action Pest Exterminating on your side. Contact us today, make an appointment for a termite inspection, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your pest-control needs are in good hands.