Do Termites Prefer Some Types Of Wood Over Others?
Termites do not seem like particularly picky eaters, right? When it comes to wood, termites will just eat. After all, the cellulose in wood is what termites love, and all wood contains cellulose. Then again, you must remember that there are many different types of trees in the world. It would make sense for termites to prefer some types of trees, and the wood that comes from them, over other types. Also, there exists over one thousand different termite species in the world, and they cannot all have the same taste in wood, right?
We all know that termites are damaging. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, termites cause over forty billion dollars in damage globally every year. Termites infest over six hundred thousand homes in America annually. And some types of termites can bring your house down quick, while others may allow you some time to prepare for pest control methods. However, the amount of damage that termites cause, does not just depend on the type of termite; the type of wood must also be considered. The wood in your home has usually undergone treatments in order to make it more suitable for construction, and this could also have an effect on termite activity. All of these concerns can be factors that will determine how quickly termites can eat through certain types of wood, and pest control professionals take these factors into account for a living.
Trees also produce natural chemicals referred to as allelochemicals. These chemicals are released by trees into the environment, and they can act as repellents and intoxicants to insects and termites. As you would expect, researchers have turned their attention to the allelochemicals that are released by the types lumber most often used during construction.
Eventually, researchers allowed Formosan termites to taste-test different types of wood. For example, redwood, birch, spruce, southern yellow pine, Brazilian jatoba and teak were just a few of the trees that scientists fed to the Formosan termites. The results showed that groups of termites consuming teak were killed more quickly than other groups that were fed nothing at; so these termites starved to death.
Although more research is needed, this is the first study to show that termites will eat peruvian walnut trees if they have to, and it will help them live just a little longer if they are starving, but consuming this tree seemed to contribute to the termite deaths.
Which types of wood is your home made of? Do you believe the region that you live in, and the materials used to build your home, put your home at risk of termite infestations?