Termites are known to be silent destroyers as they can damage houses or properties without the homeowners even knowing about it until most of the time, it is too late, and a termite infestation is already happening. The infestation of these pests is common to occur in a property as well as inside a home because they have everything that they need to survive and thrive, such as moisture, conducive temperature, shelter, and, of course, food, which is any part of the home whose material contains cellulose.
The damage that termites cause to a home can be very costly, like around $5 Billion per year in the United States alone. It is not easily detected because you will not see it right away until the termite damage has already gone so big. Though sometimes it is not totally avoidable, there are ways on how you can try to prevent these termites from invading your home, and pest control companies may be able to help you with your problems with termites and can do a home inspection to check if colonies are starting or already building around your home. Also, knowing something about them can help, such as finding out what termites eat, the different types of termites and what attracts them, what food source would make them thrive, what wooden structures should you avoid, what types of wood they prefer, etc.
Some Types of Termites and What These Termites Like to Eat
Did you know that there are more than 2,000 different types of species of these pests, and only 40 of those species are found in the United States? Their colors vary from white to light brown, and some of the most known types of termites are drywood termites, subterranean termites, dampwood termites, and Formosan termites, among several others. Each type of termite prefers certain kinds of wood, so you may want to learn more about what they like so you can avoid having them in your home.
A subterranean termite like feeding on soft fibers such as a springwood and would often avoid a more challenging kind of wood such as a summerwood, while a drywood termite would like a type of wood that is dry like the one found in the framing of your home, hardwood floors, handrails, furniture, baseboards, structural lumber, etc. These kinds of termites are not the type that makes contact on the ground, and the damage they create seems smooth. Dampwood termites, on the other hand, feed on wood that is moist, so they would be found feasting on decaying or dead trees, particularly the log and the stump. This kind of termites does not usually build colonies inside a property or the home.
What is a Termites’ Food Source and What Do Termites Eat?
A termite colony is always active 24/7, so termite infestation may be happening around a home or a property without the homeowners being aware of it. Termites eat cellulose-based food materials that can usually be found in wood, cotton fibers, plants, its byproducts, paper products, etc. They search for cellulose as it is a rich organic compound found in many materials that people use daily, which is why termites infesting a home is common.
Termites eat the wood to obtain cellulose because they can break down the cellulose fibers through the bacteria and protozoa found in their guts and turn it into nutrients, thus making it a healthy food for them. If you are building your home, learn about the kind of materials, especially the type of wood you would use to avoid termites. Try not to use sheetrock because it is made up of cellulose. Though termites do not really eat the sheetrock itself, termites eat the outer part and then also look further inside for cellulose. Termites eat particle boards because it is composed of several kinds of wood such as sawdust, waste materials, and chips, and it also swells with moisture. Poplar wood may also be preferred by termites, but this depends on the combination of the wood used. If cedar, cypress, or redwood are used, then it will be resistant to termites.
Termites eat wood, and they mostly eat one that swells with moisture. If you have a wood that is decaying combined with cellulose, it then becomes a perfect environment for a termite to live in, and a termite colony will begin.
What Termites Do Not Eat
While termites only eat those with cellulose compounds, termites may sometimes use their serrated jaws to gnaw on plastic to remove the barrier. They will definitely do whatever takes to get through a wood, but they never eat plastics or concrete. They are not fond of kinds of wood, which includes cedar, which is a naturally termite resistant wood, and redwood. Termites do not also prefer to feast on bamboo and the cypress, which also keeps termites out. Though these trees are resistant to termites, once they die and break down and the moisture starts to come out, termites will be attracted.
If you are building a property, you may want to consider using pressure-treated lumber because termites may not even try to have it for food. It has chemicals and contains some preserving agents that will prevent it from rotting. This type of wood is usually used to be in direct contact with the ground. Plywood may also work for as long as it is pressure treated, and another good material is the OSB or the Oriented Strand Board because it is cement- bonded. Another kind of wood that a termite hates is painted, so be sure not to leave any spot unpainted.
How to Deal with a Termite Infestation?
Call a pest control company to search for termites and do some inspection so they can tell you what kind of treatment and service needs to be done. The treatment plan is different for every situation and varies according to the degree of the infestation, species of the termite, and property layout. For your family’s safety and yours, homeowners should let a professional do the termite control as chemicals can be dangerous when not used properly.
Pest control professionals can find mud tubes, worker termites, and wood termites easily, and they know what to do with them. They can offer free quotations for the needed treatment and service for your pest concerns, and all you need to do is to give them a call. You must get this kind of concern treated to avoid causing severe damage to your property.
It may also help keep some things in mind, such as knowing how to protect your wood. This can be done through sealant coats, pressure treatment, and concrete reinforcement. Call a pest control service that you can trust and one that can offer solutions to your insects and pest problems. Though it is common to have concerns with pests, know that you can prevent it through pest control.