Why are termites eating the wood on my house?

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Why are termites eating the wood on my house?

Termites have a history of over 130 million years on our planet and are commonly known as the “Silent Destroyers”. They are one of the most fascinating species of wood-destroying organisms and one that has been given a very important job: decomposing dead cellulose also explained as breaking down dead wood. However, it is very unfortunate that in the United States, especially in California, that structures like homes and commercial buildings are built with timber as their main building material. While we as humans understand the need for that (flexibility during earthquakes), termites on the other hand do not and they keep doing as they were told by mother nature. Termites, for this reason, attack homes, and other wood structures and objects.

How do they eat wood?

Termites bite a small piece at a time away from your home. They consume it and then store it in their gut for processing, they use enzymes in their digestive system to break down the wood cellulose and to produce simple sugars and proteins. After this, they dispose of the remaining material, by either discarding it or using it as a building block for their tunnels and colonies.

It is important to know that termites are not born with these enzymes, but it is passed along by adult termites via the digestive system. Much like human moms pass antibodies to babies via breast milk.

What is their preferred type of wood?

Termites select wood that is usually soft like Douglas Fir but depending on the type of termite they might be looking for some other things.

  • Drywood Termites
    • Prefer wood with a low-moisture content, normally exposed to the elements
  • Subterranean & Formosan Termites
    • Prefer a moist environment and wood that is in close proximity to their colony, normally with a medium-moisture content
  • Dampwood Termites
    • Prefer moist wood with a high-moisture content, normally on enclosed areas like wall voids and close to a moisture source (like a plumbing leak)

What else will termites eat?

As previously mentioned, termites will eat any object that has cellulose on it. Cellulose is found normally in plants as it is an important structural component of their primary cell wall. For this reason, they attack objects like:

  • Furniture
  • Books
  • Boxes
  • Notepads
  • Drywall
  • Firewood
  • Trim Boards
  • And any other object made with cellulose

What will it cost to repair what they ate?

The cost for termite remediation services will vary greatly and will depend on the extent of the infestation and the areas it has damaged. If added up, termites cost millions of dollars per year to homeowners in the United States. For the average owner, this means an average of thousands of dollars in remediation services like Wood Replacement, Fumigation or Treatments, and Exclusion Services.

What should I do if I notice termites eating my wood?

The first step is to take note of the area where you saw the termite evidence. If possible, follow up by taking pictures of the areas that you are concerned with. After this, contact us by phone at (619) 421 – 2101 or via our online contact form so that we can complete a thorough inspection of those areas. Our professional and licensed inspector will then explain to you what the best solution to your particular problem with be, along with an estimated cost.

We will take care of your problem and guarantee our solution so that you can have peace of mind.


Gilberto A. Cortez
California Licensed Operator and Contractor

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