What Kind of Wood do Termites Like?

What is a termite's favourite wood?

Termites absolutely relish timber!

They’ve mastered the technique of breaking down wood into sugars. It’s awe-inspiring how these tiny creatures coordinate their entire colony to forage and transport wood to their nest via their hidden tunnels.

If your home is constructed from softwood (pine radiate) or hardwood (eucalyptus - gum tree), it doesn’t matter. Termite WILL eat both. The soft pine trim timbers like the skirting boards, door and window frames are exposed and normally easier to detect termite activity.

Your house is a 'Yummy Buffet' for Termites

There is a bonanza of timber in your home for the Termites to eat

Indeed, your home is like a treasure trove of timber for termites. With the average Australian home containing about 14.58 cubic meters of wood, it presents a vast resource for these wood-eating insects.

How much wood do Termites eat?

Termite workers eat about 5% of their body weight in wood daily. While this might seem small, it adds up quickly in a large colony with around a million workers. In such cases, a nest targeting your home can devour around 100 grams+ of wood each day.

Why Wood is Termites' Favourite Dish

But how do termites manage to devour wood? Their unique digestive system hosts certain microorganisms and protozoa that break down cellulose from the wood, turning it into glucose. This digestion process is vital for their survival. In fact, without the symbiotic relationship with these protozoa, termites wouldn’t even exist.

For a quick biology refresher: Protozoa are single-celled organisms, prevalent worldwide. They can live freely or can be parasitic, feeding on organic matter.

Understanding the Termite Diet:

Think of it this way: Just as cows graze on grass, termites feast on wood. This gives termites access to cellulose, an essential component in plants, which many organisms can’t digest. Cellulose is everywhere - from wood to paper, cardboard, and even books.

Termites love to eat Hardwood 

Termites will eat all types of timber, but they are super clever in sourcing the wood with the most desirable nutrients and cellulose. It’s all about efficient foraging and a balanced diet for the colony.

A big mistake Australian homeowners make is thinking their home is constructed with hardwood, when in fact, it is just plantation eucalyptus (gum trees). Yes, it is considerably harder than radiata pine, but it is highly desirable timber for termites to eat.

Eucalyptus timbers are the most effective wood to use in bait stations to attract termites. Not saying your home is a big bait station, but it is the ultimate feeding Buffett for termites.

Busting the Hardwood Myth

Contrary to popular belief, termites don’t shy away from hardwood. They’re smart about selecting the most nutritious timber, aiming for efficient foraging and ensuring a balanced diet for the colony. Many Australians mistakenly believe their homes are made of hardwood, but it’s often just eucalyptus. Although tougher than pine, eucalyptus is a termite delight.

Eucalyptus timber is highly attractive to termites and is used effectively in bait stations. While we’re not implying that your home is a massive bait, to termites, it’s a sumptuous buffet.

Don't Panic - Get the Right Advice

Don’t wait until you see evidence of termites - Act now and get your home inspected

Termites don’t appear out of nowhere; they’ve usually been around for longer than you realize.

Regular home inspections and being aware of the subtle signs of their presence can help in early detection, preventing extensive damage to your home.

Remember, it’s always easier to tackle a termite problem in its early stages than after they’ve firmly established themselves.

Your Action Plan:

  1. Schedule annual termite inspections.
  2. Ensure you have an active termite management system.
  3. Regularly inspect large eucalyptus trees around your property.
  4. Address any moisture-related issues that might affect timber structures.
  5. Stay alert - if you suspect anything, don’t hesitate.

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