Why Do Termites Eat Wood?

Wood and Cellulose

Termites' diets are primarily made up of cellulose, an organic fiber plentiful in wood and other plants such as grass. When digested, cellulose provides termites with the nutrients they need to survive.

What Do Termites Do to Wood: How Termites Eat Wood

Since wood is difficult to consume and digest, termites are at an advantage and rarely compete with many other insect species for food. Termites are equipped with special mouthparts for chewing wood and other sources of cellulose, plus microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoans and an organism similar to bacteria called Achaea. These microorganisms enable termites to break down cellulose into digestible substances, thus enabling the insects to obtain life-sustaining energy and other necessary nutrients.

Where Termites Find Wood

Not only do termites eat wood, but many species of the insect live in it, too. This makes finding food sources easier for the pests. Generally, termites live in trees, lumber, soil, and wooden structures. Therefore, homes are vulnerable to damage caused by termite feeding.

How the Termite Diet Affects Homeowners

In a number of cases, termite invasions in homes go unnoticed for long periods of time. Once colonies are established deep inside the structure, termites can stay permanently without being noticed by the homeowner.

With the exception of certain termite species that require moisture or soil to survive, the pests only need wood. In summary, termite diets may lead to the destruction of buildings, typically resulting in the need for costly repairs.

If you need some help to determine whether or not you have activity, call Orkin today for a free termite inspection of your home.

Resources

Dig Deeper on Termites

Do Ants Kill Termites? | Termite Control Options

How to Naturally Get Rid of Termites | Termite Removal

Subterranean and Above-Ground Termite Nest Facts

Types of Termite Treatments

Can Termites Swarm After Treatment? | Termite Facts

What is a Termite Queen? | Role of Termite Queen

What is a Reproductive Termite? | Termite Colony Structure

Termite Risk and Damage | Can Termite Damage Be Fixed? Termite Control

Orkin Pro crouching by outer house wall

Alternative Termite Control and Treatment Methods

Are Termites Attracted to Lights? | Termite Facts

Connect with Us

Our customer care team is available for you 24 hours a day.

877-819-5061

Find a Branch

Our local Pros are the pest experts in your area.

Get a Personalized Quote

We will help you find the right treatment plan for your home.

THE BEST IN PESTS.™

SERVICES

Pest ControlTermite ControlPrevent and Protect

PEST LIBRARY

Browse All Pests

© 2022 Orkin LLC

Terms of UsePrivacyAccessibility StatementCareers