What Can Termites Chew Through? Let’s Find Out

Termites are, without a doubt, one of the worst pests to have around. They can’t harm us, but they can cause so much property damage if left alone. They come in their thousands, and they have the power to destroy entire homes. We all know termites love eating wood, but you might be wondering, “What else can termites chew through?”

Termites have powerful jaws that can chew through a variety of materials. However, they only look for materials with cellulose, such as wood or paper, because this is their food. They can chew through things like plastic, but they don’t because there’s nothing in it for them.

Can Termites Eat Through Anything? 

You may have heard some extreme claims about the power of termites. Maybe you’ve even heard that termites can chew through steel. You should never underestimate the destructive power of termites. But a lot of times, people exaggerate this power. That’s why today, we’re going to have a closer look at this.

We’ll have a look at some of the common materials termites can and can’t chew through.

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Can Termites Chew Through Wood?

Of course! Not only can termites chew through wood, but they also spend their entire day doing this. Termites spend their lives looking for wood to chew. That’s why they are so destructive for homes. They will never stop eating until they devour all the wood available. That’s why getting rid of these pests is so important.

Termites have the fastest bite in the world and come in their thousands. That’s why they can make wood vanish before you know it. Most of our homes are made from wood. That’s why you want to keep termites away from your home. If you don’t, you will lose a lot.

Curious about what other bugs can bite and chew through? We’ve got articles for that! What Can Ants Bite and Chew Through

Can Termites Chew Through Plastic?

Yes, termites can chew through plastic. Plastic is a soft material and is no match for the powerful jaws of termites. But will termites chew through plastic?

Plastic is dead material. It isn’t alive and never was. It has absolutely no nutritional value. What termites look for is the cellulose, the compounds in plants that makes them stiff and fibrous. This is what termites need to live and grow. Always remember that termites don’t eat things for the sake of eating it, they do this for their nutrition. That’s why if there’s plastic lying around, termites aren’t going to bother with it since it has nothing to offer them.

However, when there is wood beyond the plastic, termites will do anything they can to get to it. That’s why on some occasions, termites will chew through plastic. They don’t do this for the plastic itself, but for the wood behind it.

Want to know if spiders can chew through plastic? Read our article What Can Spiders Chew and Bite Through?

Can Termites Chew Through Concrete?

Another crazy story you may have heard is that termites can chew through concrete. It sounds crazy, but is it true?

No. Termites can’t chew through concrete. Even if they wanted to, their jaws just aren’t strong enough. Even if there’s a stack of tasty wood behind the concrete, there are nothing termites can do about it.

What termites can do though, is fit in the cracks of concrete. Termites are tiny animals, all they need is a small crack to get in. Even the smallest hole is big enough for termites to tunnel through. This is where the myth that termites eat concrete came from.

Can Termites Chew Through Metal?

Like concrete, there are some legends saying that termites can chew through metal. And just like concrete, these stories aren’t true.

Termites are often described as having jaws of the steel. It’s true that their jaws are very powerful, but not powerful enough to cut through metal. Metals are way too hard for their bite.

The myth that they can chew through metals also comes from the fact that they can fit through tiny gaps. People sometimes see termites emerge from small holes in metal. They automatically assume the termites chewed through it. But that isn’t the case, because there’s no way termites can bore a hole through solid metal.

So if you have termites around, you don’t have to worry about them eating the metal structures of your house.

Can Termites Chew Through Glass?

If you have a lot of glass in your home, you might be wondering if termites can destroy it. Termites are so destructive to homes, but can they damage your glass?

No. Once again, glass is too hard for termites to chew through. Also, they aren’t attracted to glass either. There’s no nutritional value in glass for termites, so they leave it alone.

Just like concrete and metal, if there’s a gap in the glass, termites can go through it. And they will if there is wood or cellulose on the other side. That’s why termite tunnels can sometimes be found in glass. They aren’t there to eat the glass.

Can Termites Chew Through Drywall?

We all know termites can chew through wood, but what about other types of walls? If you have a home with drywalls, this will no doubt be a question on your mind.

Yes, termites can and will chew through the drywall. Drywall isn’t wood, but it still contains the cellulose termites are looking for. Unlike wood though, termites won’t eat the whole thing. They’re only interested in the outer layer.

This is because the main body of drywall is made of plaster, which termites don’t like. However, a layer of paper covers this plaster, and that’s what termites are after. Paper comes from trees and trees contain cellulose. That’s why termites will eat the outer layer of your drywall. The entire wall won’t come down, but termites will leave holes everywhere. And this is very ugly to look at.

Can Termites Chew Through Aluminum?

We already saw that termites can’t chew through metal, but what about aluminum? This all depends on how thick the aluminum is.

For thick aluminum, there’s no way termites can get past it. But a lot of the aluminum we use today comes in thin sheets and foil. Because this is so thin, termites can chew right through it if they wanted to.

But why would they? Again, anything without cellulose doesn’t interest termites. Aluminum is not wood, so termites aren’t attracted to it. Termites look at all things in two ways: cellulose or cellulose. Everything that falls into the latter category is of no interest to them.

Can Termites Chew Through Painted Wood?

You’ve probably heard that if you paint your walls, termites won’t eat them up. Given that termites are so hungry for wood, you might wonder if this is true. Can paint stop these pests from eating up your house?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. If you cover your wood with paint, termites won’t chew through it to get to the delicious cellulose inside.

But there’s more to it than that. Just because you paint your walls doesn’t mean termites will never bother you. You need to make sure your walls are well painted. If not, termites can easily get into your wood. Once termites are past the layer of paint, they can eat up the entire wall from the inside. So make sure your paint job is very well done to avoid termite attacks.

Can Termites Chew Through Pressure-Treated Wood?

Another question you may have is whether termites can chew through pressure-treated wood. One of the selling points of this type of wood is that it keeps the wood-eating insects away. How does it do this and does it work?

Pressure-treated wood is infused with insect-resistant chemicals. This is why even though it’s wood, termites stay well away from it. It is very effective at keeping the termites away.

But this doesn’t last forever. You should make sure you maintain it properly. Otherwise, after a few years, the termites may start to feed on it. With proper care though, you’ll never have to worry about this.

Can Termites Chew Through Bamboo?

Bamboos are plants, which means that they contain cellulose. And what does that mean? That’s right, termites will eat bamboo to get this cellulose.

Yet for some reason, termites don’t hunt down bamboo. They will eat bamboo if it’s convenient, but this isn’t their favorite food. This is because bamboo is hollow inside. Termites prefer wood that is solid all the way through. That’s why you don’t have to worry about termites so much if you have bamboo floors.

That said, it’s still good to be cautious. If termites can’t find a better source of food, they will eat your bamboo.

Final Findings:

By now, you should have a good idea of what termites eat and don’t eat. But no matter what material you use in your house, you should get rid of these pests. Never get complacent and think that termites won’t bother your house, or can’t get to the wood you use. You can save yourself tons of dollars by making sure your home is termite-free. So don’t wait, because termites eat fast!

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Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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