Article posted on January 01, 2021

Do Termites Eat Hardwood?

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Oxley resident, Michael asks

“Our house was built in the 60’s and it’s made of hardwood. We’ve never had any issues with Termites. Is it true that Termites can’t eat hardwood?”


danny kelly pest imageMichael we hear this myth all the time and it’s simply not true.

Termites feed on timber for cellulose and while some termites will eat away at softer timber because it’s easier for them to digest, the three main termites we typically treat, Schedorhinotermes, Coptotermes, and Nasutitermes all eat hardwood.

These termite species are typically found in Southeast Queensland and other parts of Australia.

Hardwood is definitely a preferred source of food for the majority of termites. Many customers assume that because their homes are constructed from hardwood they aren’t at risk. This is in direct contrast to what we see daily where termites literally gut houses made of hardwood.

In all honesty, this is nothing more than an old myth that has lasted for years and people just think, “Oh, you can’t even drive a nail into that timber, I don’t know how termites are going to eat it.”

The truth is they do.

They’ll eat it until it’s paper-thin or gone completely.

Don’t assume you’re safe based upon misinformation

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There is a type of termite called Heterotermes, that are easily identifiable by the mud mounds they make on trees. Heterotermes don’t eat hardwood, they can only digest softwood.

We recently received a call from a customer who had a termites nest on a tree near their backyard. Unfortunately, another pest control company (who were obviously inexperienced) incorrectly identified the Termites as Heterotermes and told her that she wasn’t at risk. The termites were infact a species known as Nasutitermes, which do eat hardwood.

Needless to say, not long after, we were called out only to discover significant structural damage had been done to her home.

In this particular case, the Termites had traveled 100 meters through the park, across the customers’ backyard slab and 3 metres up a brick pier, into a hardwood beam in her roof.

What hardwoods are safe from termites?

When it comes to hardwood specifically, there really isn’t any particular type of hardwood that termites wont eat, Infact when it comes to termite bait stations, they’re typically filled with Tasmanian Oak, which is a hardwood. At the end of the day, Termites will consume hardwood or softwood regardless, therefor its always best to ensure you have your home inspected for termites on a regular basis.

We’ve found most homeowners of hardwood homes are often more complacent about having annual termite inspections performed, simply because they believe they’re at less risk. Infact we’ve seen some homeowners go as long as 5 years between inspections, which often leads to termites going undetected which then of course results in extensive structural damage to the hardwood beams floors, door and trusses.

Don’t put your home at risk – call us

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Annual inspections prevent termites from nesting undetected for prolonged periods of time, so call us today if you have any concerns. We’ve performed more than 10,000 termite inspections and installed thousands of barriers, ensuring effective, long lasting, protection.

Get in touch today for a no obligation free quote.

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