Subterranean termites eat only wooden products as their diet consists of cellulose containing materials. Subterranean termite worker caste has a unique symbiotic digestive system, which can process only lignocellulose. Only they can stomach the basic cellulose structure of a tree trunk by the use of symbiotic protozoa in their gut. Workers gather cellulose content for supply the colony for food. Other termite castes do not have a dual-cellulolytic digestion. Subterranean termite queen and king, soldiers can consume semi-liquid food, which was partially digested by workers. This process is known as trophallaxis.
Where do termites get cellulose from?
Termites feed on the soft carbohydrate subtance from structural lumbers, boards, frames, fences, firewood, slabs, wall studs, weathered shutters, wood chips, furniture, wall paper and even books. In contrast with other pest types, subterranean termites eat drywood, sound and moist decaying timbers. Grass, flowers, marijuanna, straw are not on their menu.
How does subterranean termite infested lumber look like?
According to their food preferences, subterranean termites eat softwood (spring wood) and leave hardwood (summer wood) untouched and uneaten. If you inspect termite infested lumber left, you will find a thin shell with a honeycomb of layered hollow, void sections filled with moist soil. As a rule, subterraneans feed “with the grain”, but not across the grain. Insects fill the galleries with the soil and their frass in order to protect the colony from intruders and to maintain living conditions. They do not leave frass droppings outside. You are not likely to see their feces near the exit holes. They do not kick out the soil as well.
Can subterranean termites eat a pressure-treated wood?
All types of termites cannot feed on modern pressure-treated wood. As a rule, it is coated with chemicals to resist rot and woodpests. You can perform treatment yourself. Buy termite insecticides in a home depot and coat structural lumber with paint brush. Chemically treated wood can be used outside and left unpainted. In this case protective capability will last about 8-10 years. Wooden structures are likely to become infested then. Repeated chemical treatment will be necessary.
Are subterraneans able to feed on concrete?
Some homeowners are mistaken to suppose that subterranean termites can eat concrete to enter the building. Actually, they are not able to digest it. They usually find small cracks and crevices in concrete and crawl through them to get into a house. It seems that termites have eaten out their entrance way into your house through. Only Formosans can enlarge cracks in a chunk of concrete by repeated squeezing.
Can subterranean termites eat drywall?
Termites actually do not consume gypsum, which is the main component of a sheetrock and stucco walls. Though some homeowners are likely to see small, pin holes and some faint lines of a tunnel map on drywood. Subterraneans leave its plaster panels undisturbed and feed on cellulose containing paperboard and wallpaper. They make tunnels through the sheets of paperboard on both sides on sheetrock.