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Why do termites eat wood?

Termites cause nearly $40 billion dollars in damage worldwide each year


ATLANTA – Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has us spending more time at home, we may not realize that an uninvited guest is there to destroy.

Termites don’t care about a pandemic. Their unusual appetite draws us to our homes to dine on any wood it can find.


In Georgia, it’s the hunger of the Eastern Subterranean termite that is the biggest threat.

“They’re very interesting insects for sure,” says Toby Miller of Arrow Exterminators

According to the Department of Agriculture, termites cause nearly $40 billion dollars’ worth of damage worldwide each year.

It’s not really the wood they’re after. They want the cellulose that’s within the wood. Protozoa living inside a termite’s digestive system break down the wood and the cellulose.

They eat to survive, but termites are also a food delivery system. Termites carry some of the cellulose back to their queen.

“The protein from the cellulose is what the queen uses to make the eggs that produce termites in the colony,” says Miller.

Termites are attracted to water. If there’s moisture around your home, then you’re a target.

Make sure downspouts divert water away from your house. Block moisture from getting into your crawlspace.

By the way, termites will target anything made with wood.

“You’ll see bubbles on sheetrock,” says Miller. “That’s where termites have eaten paper on the back of the sheetrock.”

No one who owns a home has the appetite for the damage a hungry termite can do.

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