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.

Resources

Dig Deeper on Termites

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