What Do Termites Eat?


What Do Termites Eat?

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Termites are not ants at all, despite the fact that many people mistakenly think they are and frequently refer to them as “white ants.” These insects are linked to cockroaches in a close way. There are presently roughly 3106 different species of termites, and scientists think there may be a few hundred more that haven’t been identified or categorized yet.

These insects are part of the Isoptera order and have separate workers and soldiers that are often sterile, as well as a few kings and one or two queens each colony. They operate much like bee colonies.

Among all insects, termites are one that property owners fear the most. Despite being tiny, the peculiar diet of these insects allows them to do a lot of harm.

What Do Termites Eat?

What Do Termites Eat?

Detritivores are termites. This indicates that they eat mostly decaying plant material in any stage of decomposition or detritus. They are incredibly important animals since they are an integral part of the ecosystem because they help recycle plant waste, despite the fact that they can do a lot of damage to homes and gardens. Here is a brief overview of some of the foods they gather to eat.

Termite culture

Termites lack the intestinal bacteria necessary to aid in the digestion of food particles and the absorption of nutrients when they emerge from their eggs. These animals’ digestive systems are extremely distinctive. When they consume termite culture, other termites transfer a microbial ecology to them, which then develops in their guts. The term “trophallaxis” refers to a procedure where termites feed other termites secreted fluids (termite cultivation). They will groom one another while they feed these fluids to other termites.


Termites enjoy munching on wood, and they have no problem eating hardwood varieties. Due to the ease with which softwood can be disassembled for ingestion, these insects typically favor softer wood. Termites often eat on the side of wood that faces downward because this shielding keeps them safe from predators and enables them to weaken the wood so they can feast on the fibers.

Termites typically stay away from hardwoods if softwood is nearby. But during difficult times, they will also target dead hardwood by erecting clay huts next to the wood, which they can use as shelter and to soften the wood’s hardened areas.

Researchers have discovered that termites favor maple wood over other types of wood, but other elements including the wood’s hardness and moisture level can also influence their preferences.


Softwood varieties with a lot of fungus growth are particularly appealing to termites. Some termite species also engage in fungi culture, a behavior in which the termites feed the fungi growths in order to absorb the spores that the fungi generate.

Dead plant matter

Termites consume any kind of dead or decomposing plant debris, regardless of how old or decomposing it may be. Any component of dead plant materials, including seeds, leaves, twigs, branches, bark, wood, roots, and more, can be consumed by them.

Paper and cardboard

Any substance that includes a lot of cellulose is suitable for these insects to eat. An essential component of plant cell walls is cellulose. This unpalatable carbohydrate is present in many foods, including corn, Brussels sprouts, and a number of others. Despite being made from wood, paper and cardboard still contain cellulose particles, making them a suitable food source for these insects.


Along with other materials, wood products are used to make drywall. Termites, who are fully capable of digesting these tough materials, find the cellulose on drywall to be a suitable source of food.


A cellulose substance is used to make a lot of fabric. One excellent example is cotton. These fabrics are also a fantastic food source for termites because cotton’s biological structure doesn’t change when it is turned into garments.


Termites also consume water, and they can move it to their feeding grounds by passing it through other termites’ mouthparts. In a single journey to a water source, a single termite can consume half of its body weight in liquid. These termites then use this water to hydrate themselves, soften wood, create clay buildings, feed other termites, and more.

Diet Variations

Some individuals think that termites can eat and digest plastic. This can’t be. Although these insects cannot digest plastic, on occasion they will chew through plastic barriers like PVC pipes to get to their prey.

How to Feed Termites?

How to Feed Termites?

You can easily feed your pet termites by putting the necessary amount of food in their container and leaving it there until the termites eat it. As an alternative, you may place a piece of cardboard on the floor. Wait a day or two, then gradually lift the side to check for termite infestations or to watch them munch on the cardboard.

What Do Termites Eat In the Wild?

Termites will eat just about any kind of decomposed plant materials they can discover in the wild. Since termites do drink water or use water to soften wood for simpler ingestion, they are more prevalent adjacent to water sources. They will eat any dead plant material they can find, including wood, dead leaves, twigs, branches, plant roots, and bark.

What Do Termites Eat in Captivity?

Any kind of dead plant materials can be provided to termites kept in a farm or in a captivity. They need water to help them break down tough or dry foods, so you may also give them plenty of fresh water every day.

What do Baby Termites Eat?

Larvae are the word for young termites. Larvae of termites do not consume plant material. The larvae are fed on culture, a type of fluid that these worker termites secrete, by the worker bees. While some termite larvae will switch to eating on plant materials once they metamorphose into adults, others may continue to consume this culture for the remainder of their lives.

How Much Do Termites Eat?

It’s amazing how much termites can consume. When a termite approaches a water source, it will drink half of its body weight in water. Every day, some of the largest termite colonies consume nearly one pound of wood.

How Often Do Termites Eat?

The fact that worker termites don’t sleep allows them to aggressively eat food at any time of day or night. These insects eat or gather wood every day of the year. However, they are more active at night and prefer to eat after sunset.

Do Termites Bite?

The most of the time, these insects don’t disturb people, but if they sense a threat, they may bite. Their bites rarely cause lasting damage and are generally not overly painful. Since termites lack venomous teeth, their bites are also safe.

Do Humans Eat Termites?

Termites are prized in some cultures as a delicacy. Traditional medicines have also employed these insects. Although termites can be eaten uncooked, many people choose to fried them first.

Are Termites Dangerous?

Large termite colonies can seriously harm crops and possibly have an economic impact if they decimate too many farms that grow agricultural products. Physically, they are not harmful, but those who depend on crop farms for their survival may be in risk as a result of their damaging diet.

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Are termites harmful to humans?

Although termites can sting and bite, these wounds are not toxic. Termites are not known to transmit any diseases that are dangerous to people. People who reside in termite-infested homes, however, may experience allergic reactions or even asthma attacks.

Can termites enter human body?

Humans are rarely bitten by termites. You can have an infestation, which is the condition of having bugs or parasites infiltrate or take over your home. The actual organisms that are present on or within a host can also be referred to. Infestation. Specialty. a contagious illness. Wiki: Infestation (https://en.wikipedia.org) Unlike parasites, which feed on blood, termites do not seek out humans or other living things when they infest your home. Wood and other plant materials are consumed by termites.

Can I treat drywood termites myself?

If you prefer to do it yourself, borate, commonly known as boric acid, is one of the best drywood termite treatments. You will need to mix it with water before applying it to the affected regions because it often comes in powder form.

What is the best way to treat termites?

The method used most frequently to treat termite infestationsinfestationsBeing overrun or infested by parasites or bugs is the state of infestation. The actual organisms that are present on or within a host can also be referred to. Infestation. Specialty. a contagious illness. Wiki: Infestation (https://en.wikipedia.org) Wikipedia describes soil-applied barrier treatment as infestation. Termiticides must be appropriately labeled for barrier therapies if they are to be utilized.

Can I treat termites myself?

As colonies can be found anywhere in or close to your home, frequently in places you can’t access, treating termites is not a DIY project. The knowledge, experience, and expertise of a professional who can efficiently locate and control any termites in your property are necessary for termite treatment.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author