Revealed: 9 Types Of Wood Termites Do NOT Eat (And Eat)

Do termites eat all types of wood? Thankfully, the short answer is no.

There are types of wood that are termite-resistant.

In this post, you’ll find out what wood termites do not eat. 

Plus, you’ll also know what types of wood are most vulnerable to termite attack.

Keep reading.

What Types Of Wood Termites Do Not Eat? Here’s The List

  1. Redwood
  2. Brazilian Jatoba wood
  3. Walnut wood
  4. Mahogany wood
  5. Teak wood
  6. Cypressheartwood
  7. OSB
  8. Processed bamboo
  9. Pressure-treated wood, including plywood.

Let’s find out more about why termites avoid these types of wood.

Do Termites Eat Cedar Wood?

wood termites do not eat

Yes, termites eat cedarwood, but only on the surface.

Many people believe that cedarwood has a natural resistance to termites. But it’s partially true.

The core of the cedar wood is termite resistant, but the outer layers of the wood are edible for termites.

The core, or the heartwood, of the cedar wood, secretes allelochemicals like glucosinolates, terpenoids, and hydroxamic acids, which are naturally resistant to termites. 

In general, termites will avoid cedarwood. But when the food sources are scarce and termites don’t have many options, then they’ll attack cedar wood too.

Do Termites Eat Plywood?

Termites don’t eat pressure-treated plywood. But they feast on normal plywood.

So, what is pressure-treated plywood?

Pressure-treated plywood is the result of a chemical process that normal plywood goes through.

Plywood makers use Chemicals like Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA), and Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) to make the plywood resistant to termites, water, and fungus.

You can use pressure-treated plywood or lumber in your garden, patio, or outdoor structures without worrying about termite infestation.

Do Termites Eat Bamboo?

Termites don’t eat processed bamboo. But termites, especially drywood termites, love unprocessed or natural bamboo.

Many people think that bamboo, being grass rather than wood, is naturally resistant to termites. But it isn’t.

The main source of nutrition for termites is cellulose. And bamboo is 73.8% cellulose.

Termites break down the cellulose into sugar from which they derive their energy.

But processed bamboos don’t have any cellulose in them. 

Manufacturers treat bamboo with borate, which gets rid of the cellulose in the bamboo.

Borate kills the protozoa, which helps them to convert cellulose into sugar in the termites.

And the termites can detect borate in processed bamboo.

The borate repels the termites and makes the bamboo termite resistant.

Do Termites Eat Redwood?

No, termites don’t eat redwood.

Redwood is strong and also naturally resistant to termites. That makes redwood a go-to choice for many builders to use for building projects.

It’s also resistant to decay because of dampness and moisture.

Redwood is darker, denser, and less porous for termites. Also, the natural chemicals present in redwood, and other hardwood species, makes them termite resistant.

Do Termites Eat Cypress Heartwood?

Termites don’t eat cypress heartwood. But they’re known to eat cypress softwood.

You can use cypress heartwood for making furniture without pressure treating or chemically processing the wood. It means that you can use cypress heartwood in its natural form.

Cypress heartwood is very dense. The termites cannot drill through the wood.

It’s also known that termites can’t tolerate the smell of the cypress heartwood, making the wood fit for making homes, wooden floors, and furniture.

Cypress heartwood is made of a concentrate known as Cypressene.

Cypressene is used as a coating on other types of termite-prone woods to make them termite resistant.

Studies have proved that mulch made of cypress heartwood repels termites three times more than mulch made from other woods.

Do Termites Eat MDF (Medium Density Fireboard)?

Termites don’t eat MDF. But that doesn’t mean MDF is resistant to termite attacks.

Studies showed that MDFs are very prone to termite attacks.

So, what’s the difference between termite attacks and termites eating the MDF?

It means that the termites can drill through the MDF to go on to other pieces of wood in your home.

They won’t eat the MDF.

MDF is artificial wood that is made by attaching layers of pulpwood with glue.

MDF is used to make trims around your doors or windows inside your home.

The glue used in making the MDF can also act as a repellant for termites.

But not for long.

Termites can easily drill through the trims and go into your wall and other pieces of furniture.

Do Termites Eat Painted Wood?

That’s a tricky one to answer because the answer is both yes or no.

Paint on wood, without a doubt, stops termites from attacking the wood on the surface.

But coatings of paint can’t stop termites from attacking the painted wood from underground.

That’s the reason why subterranean termites destroy painted wooden fences and beams.

Termites attack these fences and beams planted in the ground from underground.

They eat the bars and beams from inside, making it hollow, but they leave the painted wood’s exterior.

But painting furniture with wood preservative paints like Rust-Oleum certainly makes them termite resistant.

Do Termites Eat Pine Wood?

Yes, termites eat pine wood. Pinewood is termites’ delicacy.

A study conducted by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2015 concluded that pine wood, and spruce, are the most favored woods by termites.

So, if you like pine wood furniture or lumber, make sure to buy processed or pressure-treated pine wood rather than natural ones.

All types of softwoods are susceptible to termite attacks. And pine wood is one of them.

Do Termites Eat OSB (Oriented Standard Board)?

No, termites don’t eat OSB.

Cement is used in OSB to bond them together, which deters the termites from eating OSB.

Cement saps the moisture and cellulose out of the OSB that makes OSB inedible for the termites.

Do Termites Eat Plastic?

No, termites don’t eat plastic. But plastic is not termite resistant. They can easily drill through the plastic to access wooden stuff in your home.

Do Termites Eat Concrete?

No, termites don’t eat concrete.

But termites can enter your home from the cracks in your home’s foundation or on the walls.

That’s why it’s always advisable to cement the cracks and fissures on the walls and the floor to keep away termites from your home.

Do termites Eat Pressure-Treated Wood?

Termites also don’t eat pressure-treated wood and chemically processed wood.

Woods that are pressure-treated with chemical preservatives reduce the wood’s cellulose and moisture content.

The chemical preservatives create a chemical barrier on the surface of the wood that repels termites.

Also, as the pressure-treated wood lacks both cellulose and moisture, their food sources, termites don’t waste their time on these types of wood.

Many mulch chips made of pressure-treated wood are available.

As mulch beds attract termites, wood chips made of pressure-treated or termite-repelling woods are good choices to keep termites off your yard.

Do Termites Eat Dead Wood?

Yes, termites love to eat dead or decaying wood.

In fact, there’s a species of termites that only feast on decaying wood. Those species of termites are known as dampwood termites.

Dampwood termites are common in yards where there are many rotting pieces of wood. 

These termites will eat and even establish their colonies in the decaying and damp pieces of wood, including in the dead tree stumps.

Their chances of infesting homes are pretty low as compared to subterranean termites and drywood termites. 

​But if you bring in pieces of wood with dampwood termites inside your home, then these termites will find damp pieces of wood in your home too.

Places like bathrooms, basements, and laundry rooms, that are wet have damp wood, making them vulnerable to dampwood termites.

So, many savvy homeowners use wood that doesn’t rot or decay despite getting exposed to moisture.

Do Termites Eat Particle Board?

Yes, termites eat particle boards. Particleboards are made of different types of wood shavings and chips.

Particleboards also inflate when exposed to moisture, which makes them more attractive to termites.

Woods That Termites Won’t Attack At All.

Termites don’t eat Redwood, Brazilian Jatoba, Walnut, Mahogany, Teak, and Cypress.

These woods are naturally resistant to termites.

Research has shown that these woods repel the termites and kill 75 % of the termites that attack them.

The wood that is most resistant to termites, naturally, is teak wood, followed by redwood.

Both teak and redwood are hardwood species, but that doesn’t mean all hardwood species are resistant to termites.

Oakwood, a kind of hardwood, is not resistant to termites.

Signs of Termite Damage On Wood

There are five signs of termite damage on wood that show up when there’s a termite infestation –

  1. Sawdust underneath the infested wooden piece or structure
  2. Tiny holes on the wood. It’s a sign of drywood termite or carpenter ant infestation.
  3. Swellings on the wood’s surface 
  4. A hollow sound while you tap on the wood
  5. Mud tubes on the wood. These mud tubes are tunnels that subterranean termites make on wood and walls to go from one place to another.


Below are the nine types of wood that termites won’t eat –

  1. Redwood
  2. Brazilian Jatoba
  3. Walnut
  4. Mahogany
  5. Teak
  6. Cypress
  7. OSB
  8. Processed Bamboo
  9. Pressure-treated wood and plywood

In this guide, you’ve also found out what types of wood are vulnerable to termite attacks. 

These woods are softwoods of any type, including pinewood, cypress wood, and even unprocessed natural bamboos.

There are certain things that you can’t expect termites to eat. Clothing, drywall, wallpapers, and even books are a few of them.