Termites are one of the most feared pests among homeowners. They may be small, but they wreak $5 billion in damage to American houses each year. The thought that these invading insects are stealthily eroding the investment you've made in your home can be unsettling. But why do termites consume wood? Is their diet limited to wood, or may foraging termites do damage in and outside your home? Continue reading to discover more about termites that eat wood.
Termites consume wood, but what they want is the cellulose that wood is made of. Cellulose is the primary component of wood, plant, and grass cell walls. It's also the most common organic compound on the planet. Cellulose is also found in paper and cardboard.
One distinctive feature of termite behavior is that they never stop feeding, even after establishing themselves in your home. To feed their ever-expanding colonies, they will consume anything containing cellulose. Termites eat wood, books, magazines, sheetrock (or drywall), wallpaper, and fabrics. In short, if you have a termite infestation, more than just the structure of your home is at stake. Your furnishings and personal belongings are also at risk.
TERMITES' DIGESTION OF WOOD
Termite digesting is a difficult process. Termites are unable to break down cellulose and extract vital nutrients from it on their own. They must rely on the one-celled protozoa and bacteria that dwell in their digestive tracts for assistance. These microbes degrade cellulose into simple sugars, which keep the termites alive.
WHAT KIND OF WOOD DO TERMITES PREFER?
Different termite species specialize in various types of wood.
The most frequent termite species in the United States are subterranean termites. These termites love moist, underground environments and prefer soft pine (they don't go much into hardwood). Subterranean termites, as a result, frequently leave a specific pattern of damage behind, one that follows the grain of the wood itself. They also build mud tubes and utilize these to go from their colony to your house.
Drywood termites typically infest dry wood, such as the framework, structural timbers, hardwood flooring, and even furnishings in your home. Drywood termites, unlike their subterranean counterparts, do not need to keep in contact with the soil. Instead, they obtain the moisture they require from the wood they have infiltrated (and the atmosphere itself). Because dry wood termites bore wood from the inside out, the outside surface of any infested material may appear smooth and undamaged to the naked sight.
Dampwood termites favor wood from decomposing logs, stumps, and wood piles. Most people don't have to worry about these termites because they usually infest damaged wood. Dampwood termites are typically found in homes with high moisture levels and decomposing wood.
If you find termites chewing wood in or around your home, contact the A-1 Pestmasters who are termite control experts. For nearly eight decades, we have led the industry in termite treatment and management. Contact A-1 Pestmasters immediately and put our expertise and training to work for you.
Even if you don't have termite activity at the moment, it's a good idea to contact a termite control professional. A-1 Pestmasters has plans that can help protect you from the cost of future termite infestations because termites feed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact A-1 Pestmasters for termite inspection near me.
How Do Termites Eat Wood
Even if they've never had an infestation, most of Chicago has heard of termites. These flying, ant-like pests can cause severe damage by feasting on wood. Termites chew wood. Such small insects don't appear dangerous. However: Termites ruin American homes for $5 billion annually.
A single termite may not eat much wood. Their colonies grow swiftly and large. Subterranean termites can have tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of members. One colony may have a million termites munching on wood. Once you comprehend the statistics, you can grasp their annihilation.
Termites don't eat all wood for nourishment. They eat the wood's structural cellulose. It feeds termites. They use it to build nests and tunnels for food and water.
A termite colony can lie undiscovered for years. This is because most of the activity is buried beneath or within a building, fence, or deck. Since termites are quiet, they can wreak harm for a long time. Except during swarming, termites avoid strong light. They reside in the dark, deep within a house or other structure.
As they eat the wood, they create tunnels and open regions. These are passageways. They're also used to store eggs. Open spots degrade the timber over time. Termites can destroy wood over time.
Termite damage can be exceedingly costly to repair. To make the structure safe again, it must be fixed quickly. Termites eat a home's wooden framing and any other wood they can discover. Baseboards, floors, and wood furniture are examples. Termites may even be in your yard, in wooden decking, or associated fencing. Termites gnaw through more than just wood. Termites' jaws can chew through anything softer than wood. They eat drywall, carpet, and insulation. These bugs will eat through any of these to get to their food.
If you suspect termites, call a pest control provider. When your home is at risk of structural deterioration, avoid do-it-yourself solutions. Non-professionals can't assess a termite colony's damage. You may not know where to find the colony or what signs to look for.
Pest control personnel are trained and experienced in termite treatment. Special devices and approaches help find pest nests. Professionals can tailor a treatment plan for your house based on infestation signs.
Termite Mud Tubes
Subterranean termite mud tubes may be seen on your home's exterior. These tubes are many inches long and the width of a pencil but maybe a half-inch in diameter. Termites form tubes against housing foundations. They use them to travel between their colony and food and water sources. Mud tubes may also be found in a crawlspace, foundation fracture, or inside a wall. Termites construct tubes from dirt, chewed wood cellulose, and saliva. Mud tubes everywhere indicate pest activity. Recently used tubes?
HOW TO TELL OLD OR NEW TUBES
Old tubes may be from a treated termite infestation. If they're newer, it suggests you have active termites. Termites must be treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your house. How can you tell whether mud tubes are new? Breaking off a piece of the tube's muck can help. Wait a few days, then check the broken tube. If fixed, termites are still using the tube.
A professional termite inspection is the best approach to determine if your house has active termites. A pro knows where and how to look for termites. They can treat termites if they detect active mud tubes. They can also offer a follow-up examination and treatment plan to prevent further damage.
Other active infection signs
Other indicators of a termite infestation:
· Narrow mud tubes near the ground on concrete walls or building foundations. Termites create these to find food and water.
· Tiny holes in wood furniture, baseboards, decking, flooring, etc. Termites eat wood from the inside out, thus you may never see them but in their tunnels.
· Drywood termite frass. These look like sawdust pellets. Frass resembles sawdust.
· Swarmers- winged termites. Termites can become workers, soldiers, or swarmers.
Swarmers have wings. In spring, following the first large rain, termites leave their nests to find a partner and start a new colony.
Shrink- Winged reproductive termites shed their wings after mating in spring. The wings may be on a windowsill, light fixture, door, or another light source.
These indications could suggest a termite infestation on your property. A pest control specialist can evaluate the infestation to decide the best remedy. Learn What are the termite signs in the home?
A-1 Pest masters are very reasonable and provide reasonable termite inspection costs. You can contact them at (312) 647-2630.