Can Termites Live in Trees?

Cellulose is a common organic compound found in plants and trees. It also happens to be the termite’s main source of food. Termites build their colonies in moist soil, as well as damp and dry wood that contains very little moisture, and may be found in decaying, damp and dead trees, which provide them with suitable shelter, moisture and consistent food.

Signs of Termites in Trees

In order to check trees for infestations, individuals can dig around their bases to look for termite nests. Mud tubes also indicate termite activity. The pests construct these tunnels to travel between nests and food sources without being exposed to dry air. The tubes will appear in crevices of bark and be easily apparent against the texture of the tree.

Damage to Trees & Homes

Termites typically attack dead wood. Therefore, their presence indicates that host trees are unhealthy. Unfortunately, infestations only exacerbate existing problems, as the pests eat the softwood component of trees and thus hasten the decaying and rotting process. This can make the tree unstable and may result in it falling, causing property damage or personal injury.

Formosan Termites

Some species, such as Formosan termites, will also attack living trees. These pests build aboveground nests in types of trees such as oak, ash, and cypress. Their colonies of 10 million or more individuals consume wood at rapid rates, causing costly damage.


Since having infestations of termites in trees is so dangerous, property owners should keep an eye out for activity. If individuals encounter the pests, it is best to contact professionals. Experts know the most effective ways to remove infestations.