Bugs can’t survive without the nutrition they need.
Termites being home invasive pests that cause damage to human dwellings worth billions of dollars are no different.
If termites infest your home, then you’re living, sleeping, and eating alongside termites just a few feet away from you.
And most bugs that infest, breed, and thrive in your home sustain themselves with the food waste you create.
Some pests, like pantry pests, eat your food stored in your kitchen pantry.
Other bugs like roaches and ants can crawl up to your food plate and eat.
But what about termites? Do termites eat human food?
In this guide, you’ll get to know precisely that.
You’ll also find out the reasons behind the food choices of termites.
Plus, you’ll also learn the truth behind misconceptions of termites’ eating habits.
Keep reading, to find out some surprising, yet true, answers.
Do Termites Eat Human Food? Or They don’t?
Termites don’t eat human food.
There are two reasons for it –
- The primary source of nutrition for termites is cellulose, which they find in wood and pulp.
- Termites are not scavengers like ants and roaches.
Now you may wonder that cellulose is present in many human foods like sugar.
So, despite termites invading your home, why don’t termites invade the kitchen pantry to search for the source of cellulose?
The second reason comes into play.
Termites are not scavengers.
It means that termites don’t belong to the species of bugs that will walk on the earth’s surface to get their food.
Termites live on the food source. They breed and make nests on the food.
And the digestive system of termites works in a way that it’ll break down cellulose that they get from wood products.
Another peculiar reason is termites eat nonstop, 24/7, 365 days a year.
If they’re to eat human food, and given their massive numbers, they clean up every food that you’ve in the kitchen.
They breed in such large numbers so quickly that when their numbers go unchecked, the entire home will be too small for them to consume.
And what do termites do when their numbers increase?
They invade other homes. Termites can quickly spread from house to house in a neighborhood.
Plus, they lay eggs on the food as well. And they breed very fast.
Given all these conditions, termites feed mainly on wooden structures in homes.
And finally, termites don’t eat food stains and food or bread crumbs either.
Do Termites Eat Paper?
Yes, termites do eat paper. Why? Because like wood, the paper has cellulose as well.
That’s the reason why termites will invade bookshelves with books. And in some cases, you’ll observe that termites destroyed the books even if the bookshelf is not wooden.
The papers of the book damaged by the termites turn yellowish. And you’ll also notice dust on the books.
This dust is termite frass, which is nothing but termite feces.
Termites will reach the books by digging through the walls. Or, they may also attack the books from underground.
Termites in books are a glaring signal of termite infestation that has gone beyond control.
If you see termites in books, then it’s high time that you contact a pest controller immediately to get rid of them.
Do Termites Eat Grass?
Species of termites like subterranean termites, drywood termites, Formosan termites that invade homes and destroy properties don’t eat grass.
But there’s a species of termites that eats grass. This termite is an outdoor termite.
Termites that eat grass are known as agricultural termites or desert termites.
But agricultural termites don’t pose any threat to human dwellings.
Typically, you’ll find agricultural termites in agricultural fields and pastures in rural areas.
And you’ll also find them in dry climates.
However, over the recent years, homeowners in West Texas and South Central Texas have come across these termites in their grass lawns.
For example, homeowners in urban areas in San Antonio and Austin are coming across agricultural termites in their grass lawns.
The increase in heat is pushing these termites to look for places with moisture and green vegetation.
Agricultural termites look similar to subterranean termites.
Seeing agricultural termites on the grass lawns in the yard or garden does send panic signals to many homeowners.
The truth is, apart from the fact that agricultural termites don’t invade homes, that agricultural termites don’t even eat and destroy wood.
They eat only grass and weeds.
Agricultural termites will build mud tubes on the grass blades and green vegetation.
It’s a means for them to travel from one place to another and protect themselves from predators like birds and ants.
So, if you want to be sure if the termites in your yard are agricultural termites or subterranean termites, then look out from where they’re coming out.
If they’re coming out from the soil, then it’s a subterranean termite.
Another way to spot the difference is agricultural termites will not make mud tubes on wood and walls. Subterranean termites do that.
But there’s one drawback of agricultural termites.
They breed pretty fast. If you don’t get rid of agricultural termites quickly, then they’ll damage your entire perfectly manicured lawn.
Getting rid of agricultural termites is no big deal. You won’t need a pest controller if you act at the right time.
You can prepare a boric acid termite killer recipe to kill them. Or a termite spray sprayed on them will do the work just fine.
Do Termites Eat Plastic?
No, termites don’t eat plastic. But termites can chew through plastic.
There’s a common misconception that termites eat plastic.
And there have been instances, especially in homes infested with termites, that homeowners noticed termites in plastic jars.
Well, termites can chew through plastic.
Plastic jars and equipment on a wooden shelf with termites can make termites chew through the plastic.
It’s because they’d want to reach the food source that lies beyond the plastic.
Plastic things chewed by termites will have a grainy deposit.
This deposit is nothing but the plastic that they chewed and the termite feces.
Termites don’t eat human food.
In this guide, you found out the reasons why termites don’t eat human food.
Plus, you’ve learned about termites’ feeding behavior.
This post also clears the doubt if termites eat grass and plastic.
Termites are primarily wood eaters.
But do you know that there are many types of wood that termites avoid?
Yes, there are. To know more about these woods, read our post on woods that termites don’t eat now.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!