Termites love to eat Hardwood

Are termites attracted to hardwood?

My house is safe from Termites if it is made from Hardwood?

“But my house is built with hardwood, I’m safe from termites” This is a common misunderstanding among many homeowners on the Gold Coast.

Do Termites eat Hardwood? YES

Sure hardwood is hard to cut and nail into, but Australian termites have been eating eucalyptus wood for millions of years. In fact, their preferred place to set up home is in a gum tree.

Eucalyptus - favourite food for Termites

Many Australian homeowners often believe their homes are built from hardwood. In reality, a lot of Australian homes are constructed with plantation eucalyptus, derived from gum trees. Though tougher than radiata pine, this wood is a termite delicacy.

Interestingly, eucalyptus is a top pick for bait stations that attract termites. This doesn’t mean your home is a termite magnet, but given the chance, they’d see it as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Which Timbers are Termites' Top Picks'

While termites aren’t fussy eaters and will dine on all kinds of timber, they do have some favourites. Their choices are all about finding the best nutritional value and ensuring a balanced diet for their colony.

Understanding Hardwood

Hardwood typically comes from slower-growing, angiosperm trees that shed their leaves annually, resulting in denser wood. In contrast, softwoods come from evergreen trees.

Some examples of Australian hardwoods include Merbau, Tassie Oak, Walnut, Ash, Beech, Mahogany, and Maple.

Distinguishing Hardwood from Softwood

  • Grain: Softwoods lack vessels, so their grain is less pronounced than the distinctive grain of hardwoods.
  • Colour: Hardwoods generally have a darker hue than softwoods.
  • Durability: Hardwoods tend to be more robust and durable.

How can Termites eat wood?

Termites, sometimes referred to as “White Ants,” have an affinity for wood because it’s their primary food source. These remarkable creatures have evolved to efficiently convert wood into sugars, mobilizing their entire colony to forage and transport wood through their underground tunnels.

The Science Behind Their Diet

Termites can digest wood due to their unique digestive system. They house specific microorganisms and protozoa that break down cellulose, turning it into glucose. This symbiotic relationship with protozoa is crucial for their survival.

Fun Fact: Protozoa are single-celled organisms that feed on organic matter. They’re widespread, and many species live freely, but some can also be parasitic.

Just as cows munch on grass, termites feast on wood, accessing cellulose, a prevalent organic compound found in various sources, from wood and grass to books and magazines.

A Timber-Loaded Home

Recent data shows that an average one or two-storey Australian house uses about 14.58 m3 of wood (2017-18 data). Once termites sense this bounty, they create hidden pathways to access it, viewing your home as a prize.

Timber loving destroyers - Stop them

  1. Schedule annual termite inspections.
  2. Ensure an up-to-date termite management system is in place.
  3. Inspect large eucalyptus trees around your property.
  4. Address potential moisture problems in the framework and roofing.
  5. Stay alert, conduct your checks, and should you have concerns, reach out to Conquer Termites at the earliest.

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